I was taking a class not too long ago, and the professor brought up an interesting point. He noted that most people look at Judas’ betrayal as the ultimate form of spite towards Jesus. No one has been able to explain why very well, but that was always the explanation. My professor brought to my attention that Judas was possibly acting out his own desires to see the Messiah retaliate and, from what I can see, bring the Messiah and the evil ones to a great and final confrontation. I find this intriguing, since it explains the story better and it gives us more to work with on an interpretive level.
To get how the disciples missed the type of Messiah Jesus was. Peter in Matthew 16:13-23 seemed to understand Jesus at the level of Messiah, but only understood him in the context of one who would overthrow the foreign oppressors. Jesus didn’t go along with this idea, which got him in trouble later.
Now Judas bring interesting controversy due to his last name, Iscariot. It has been proposed that it is related to a hebrew form of sicarri, who so happened to be in the business of violently bringing the end of foreign oppression and ushering in the new Israel. So one could see that it would make sense that Judas would want Jesus to confront those certain religious leaders that were in alliance with the Roman power, which was loosely similar to the Zealots, but with some differences I will not go into here. Granted, Judas was paid to betray him in Matt. 26:14-16, but that is the only minor thing that would move against this assumption.
From the point of betrayal in 26:47-56, to Jesus’ crucifixion, everything goes downhill for Judas. He betrays Jesus, but Jesus never fights the system. He just goes along with the armed men and all the way to the cross…
No rescuing army,
Not even a Chuck Norris.
He just goes with them and accepts. This is where someone who says Judas was out for spite or revenge has a tough time. Judas then kills himself. If Judas was trying to ultimately kill Jesus, why did he kill himself? It doesn’t make sense, unless he panicked due to the consequences, which was far from the victory he contemplated.
There is also the fact that the other disciples had at least one sword for the group, which may point to their contemplating an uprising and the possible fight that would come. Maybe there was also cooperation among all the 12, which would logically follow all the other times that the disciples didn’t get it.
And then once again,
Jesus defies his own disciples.
I see a pattern here. The disciples thought they understood what the mission of Christ was about, but they failed miserably. Maybe if they had read the prophets and the law a little more in depth, they would have seen that Christ was out to save the world and not just the nation of Israel, or what was at that time known as Judaism.
It’s scary to apply this to the current situation. I’ve seen two situations hit hard with this. One was a community of believers, one side pushing progressive worship and the other traditional styles. It would be terrible for them to have God come down and tell them what his goals are and that if a style is what is separating a person from Him, then they probably weren’t looking for him to begin with.
How many times have we tried to cut down people because we thought things should be going a different direction? Think a couple days on that proposition. It’s funny what can be avoided by focusing on the actual will of God.
So let go of entitlement,
You get the idea. Let it go. And listen to what is actually better for God’s desire for the world and the salvation that we are not going to but the salvation that is coming to us.
Grace and peace.