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Judas Iscariot


JUDAS ISCARIOT

Judas was from Kerioth (Josh 15:25) in Judea, whereas the other apostles were from Galilee. Judas was an admirer of Jesus, who gave him the privileged position to be an apostle. He took care of managing the little money Jesus and his disciples received for their sustenance from the well-wishers. John reports, “he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions” (Jn 12:6). Jesus was aware of what Judas was going to do. Jesus said to the Apostles: “’Did I not choose you twelve? Yet is not one of you a devil?’ He was referring to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot; it was he who would betray him, one of the Twelve” (Jn 6:70-71). Even after walking with Jesus, listening to his discourses, and witnessing the miracles he performed for over three years, Judas could not give his heart to Jesus. Unfortunately, his interest shifted from his master to money.

Some people believe Judas was also a Zealot. He believed that Jesus the Messiah would overthrow the Romans and establish his earthly kingdom. Judas eventually lost his hope in Jesus and sold his master for thirty pieces of silver to his enemies.

Joseph’s brothers had sold him to Midianite merchants who were going to Egypt for twenty shekels of silver. History repeated with Jesus when Judas sold him for thirty pieces of silver, which was the price of a slave. When Judas realized Jesus ordered to crucify Jesus, he regretted deeply on what he had done (Mt 27:3). He might have also assumed that since his master had escaped from the assassination attempts of enemies before, he might repeat the same. However, Jesus’s time had arrived. Judas’ attempt to return the money to the chief priests and elders did not help to release Jesus. The Satan that entered Judas did not allow him to turn towards his master for forgiveness.

Because of his guilt-feeling, and failure in approaching Jesus for forgiveness, he got depressed and hanged himself (Mt 27:3-5). His depression was so deep that he committed suicide. Even the temple authorities found it was unlawful to deposit the money in the temple treasury. So, they bought a potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners.

After the resurrection of the Lord, the apostles selected Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot and to maintain the number of the original apostolic college as twelve. Matthias was one of the seventy-two disciples of Jesus.

REFLECTION

Jesus died on the cross, not because of Judas or any of the enemies of Jesus, but because he himself surrendered to offer as the lamb of God, who took away the sin of all humanity. Jesus made use of them as agents in his sacrifice. While not retaliating our enemies or the persecutors of the church, let us be careful not to deviate our interest from Jesus into possessions like Judas.


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