In Defense of Judas Iscariot

For years, as a Catholic school student, I was taught that the man who betrayed Jesus to the chief priests and elders in Garden of Gethsemane was a traitor. I don ‘t believe it is the churches fault that this is what I eventually learned. I think that it is what I heard and as a child it is what I took to heart.

It’s been years since I took first communion, was confirmed, or have asked a priest to hear my confession. I
know now that I can speak to Jesus directly. I can tell him my trespasses and be forgiven without having to make an act of contrition.

Please do not think that I am putting down the Catholic faith, because I am not. How a person comes to know Jesus is between that individual and Jesus. All I ask is that individual remain open-minded and open-hearted enough to receive new lessons in their walk of faith .

During my years following my first communion, I studied towards my confirmation. This is where a child passes into young adulthood within the tenants of the faith . We were asked to think quietly for about 15 minutes about a saint or an apostle that we would like to have represented us as our confirmation guide . (I must politely submit that some of this has been lost on me through the years.) I requested the apostle Judas Iscariot.

This shocked the priests, as they had never heard of such a thing.

They told me that I could not take Judas as a confirmation guide as he had hanged himself after betraying Jesus. I tried to argue the point that Jesus was a forgiving God and knew all along that Judas would betray him and selected him as one of the original disciples anyway.

I further pointed out what John 13:27 says, ‘…and after the morsel, Satan entered into him. And Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”’

Finally when I added that Jesus called Judas ‘friend’ even after the kiss in the garden, the brothers of the order lost all sense of themselves and shouted me down .

In the end they won the battle and I was forced to select another saint or apostle, though for the life of me I cannot recall who it might be as Judas Iscariot has remained on my mind all these years later. The Padres at Saint Joe ‘s Catholic Reform School failed to win the war .

The Lord that I pray too every morning and every night, whose word I read so that I can maintain it in my heart in times of weakness and trouble and in happiness and joy is a forgiving God. Therefore I believe whole-heartily that
Jesus forgave Judas Iscariot even though he was weak and hanged himself.

Not only do I have the arguments that used to attempt to persuade the priests with, but I also have a glimpse of Judas• remorse and a timeline of events leading up to his death and then Jesus’ death .

Let’s look first at the mind of Judas as the gospels show us . Once he discovered that his act of betrayal had led Jesus to be condemned to death he felt so terrible that he tried to return the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests. {Matthew 27:3)

Unfortunately the chief priests not only failed to see Jesus as the Messiah, they failed to help Judas when he admitted that he had sinned by handing over an innocent man for trial. The chief priests told Judas that it was his responsibility. (Matthew 27:4)

Judas responded by throwing the 30 silver pieces into the temple and left. (Matthew 27:5) Perhaps Judas, who had witnessed many of Jesus’ miraculous works, was trying to force Jesus to lead a revolt against the Roman Empire.

However did not work. With nowhere to go and no one to turn too and a complete lost of faith, Judas Iscariot hanged himself. And so we are left to assume that he burns in a fiery Hell forever.

Yet if one should take a look at the time line there is more to look at than the simple events. The idea that Judas Iscariot died prior to the living Christ weighs heavily into the picture from a theological point. (Matthew 27:5)

Christ died for the trespasses of the world. That means he died for Judas’ trespasses as well. Therefore, Judas is in heaven with our Lord, Jesus Christ .

Yet , there is that point about Judas Iscariot having committed suicide. My grandfather used to say that, “People think that like a coin the truth has two sides, not so because a coin has a ridged edge and you have to look there too for the truth.”

It has taken me years to understand many of the things he used to say. He was telling me to check everything before making a final conclusion .

To this day I have not stopped examining and I keep discovering biblical nuggets of truths. Between A. D. 63 and 70 , a Gentile Physician named Luke wrote a letter to Theophilus about the death of Judas Iscariot.

He writes, ‘With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out.• (Acts 1:18)

As Judas hanged himself, the branch he selected did not hold his weight , broke and he fell. So much for suicide.

Lastly, I believe that Judas Iscariot is the unsung anti­ hero of the New Testament. It is easy to over look the fact that Jesus chose this man to be one of his 12 disciples.

But we are always reminded that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus every time .we partake of communion. What has become real easy to forget is that all the Apostles abandoned Jesus .

And like Judas, they all misunderstood Jesus’ mission. They thought he was there to over thrown Rome, when he was there to save the man from sin.

If it was no t f or his courage to step away from the table and go to the chief priests and elders in the first place
we may all. still be waiting for the first coming of Christ. Jesus knew what was to happen, not only to himself but what was going. to happen to Judas.

I think Jesus; my Savior had it in his heart to save Judas Iscariot as well. The one thing we will never know until we stand before our creator is whether or not there was a request for forgiveness or not prior to Judas 1 death.

As a Christian, I do not condemn or judge him. I hate the sin but love the sinner.

Of course, I am still not certain that Judas Iscariot would not have been a suitable guide for my confirmation . Perhaps I needed more instruction that ‘pick a saint or an apostle.’

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Things of Intrinsic Value

My wife’s brother and sister-in-law were kind enough to bring up a trailer load of antiques and papers from Southern California. These are antiques that have been in my wife ‘s family for nearly a hundred years, if not more.

Needless to say we are excited to have them in our home. I am especially excited because I have my own set of dressed drawers for the first time in nearly twenty years. That means no more digging through her undies to find my missing socks.

Boy-howdy!

We also ended up with many of the family journals and diaries. These books hold no real value for anyone else in the family but me as I am the resident historian and story-teller.

I am slowly and carefully leafing my way through these books and discovering many hidden tales. I will get to these multi paged gems in a few moments.

There is really something about the smell of old furniture and old books that I really like. It reminds me of the fact that thing with true intrinsic value really do last.

Memories are also in the same group. They too have their worth.

The Liability of Stupidity

It was just after one in the morning when the Outside patrol officer radioed in that he had discovered a man, unconscious and bleeding from his head, laying in the rock embankment between parking lots one and three. It was New Years Eve Night, unwanted but not wholly unexpected.

I responded to the patrol officer, “10-4, unit 95, I’m rolling REMSA, all units standby.”

Picking up the telephone, I pushed the tone button at the same time. I repeated the information so that all other officers on duty would be aware that an emergency was in progress and that radio traffic would be limited to emergencies messages only.

Then I dialed 9-1-1, telling the dispatcher on the other end of the telephone the situation he had.

Once I knew an ambulance was on its way I returned to the main console and brought the outside unit up on camera. I zoomed in until the officer and the body lying in the rocks filled the small viewing screen.

By this time a supervisor had shown up and he was attempting to wake the unconscious man up to move him. However the injured man would not wake up.

“Command to Adam-2” I said, “REMSA is enroute. E-T-A less than five off of Mill Street.”

The supervisor responded, “10-4, be advised that guest is 10-56.”

“10-4”, I commented, making a note in the log that Adam-2 was on the scene and detected the presence of alcohol on the man’s breath.

As I glanced up I saw the supervisor turn the man’s head from one side to the other. The sight caused me to cringe.

Stepping down on the microphones remote button, I spoke as calmly and as authoritatively as I could, “Adam-2, secure the guests head and neck for possible spinal cord injury.”

The supervisor pulled his hands away from the man and moved to his feet just as the ambulance arrived on the scene. I shook his head from side to side, feeling a wave of disgust well up inside.

I continued to watch as the paramedics placed a c-collar on the man and rolled him over on his side as gently and carefully as possible to slip a hard board under him prior to moving him onto the gurney and then the ambulance.

Jus’ as the ambulance was pulling away from the scene, the first shifts watch commander walked into the dispatch room. He was a portly man with sad sack eyes, a waxy pallor and very little hair.

On his rolled up sleeve he wore the striped of a sergeant.

He shuffled as he walked up behind me as he spoke in a bellowing voice, “We don’t give medical directions here, got it?”

It as much less a question as a command.

“Yeah, I know that,” I answered. “But you’d think our boss would know enough not to move the head and neck of an unconscious man especially, one who is bleeding from the face.”

The Watch Commander stood there momentarily stunned. He was not used to subordinates getting in his face.

Then he responded, “I don’t care, we don’t give medical directions, period. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes sir, you made yourself very clear,” I replied.

The old man never said another word to me as he turned and shuffled out of the dispatch room. With that I turned around and wrote down what he had said and why I had done what I had done.