Jesus had chosen Judas Iscariot as a disciple along with the other 11 at the beginning of his public life. For years he must have had remained faithful and loyal like the others. As the time of Jesus’ death on the cross was drawing near, he sought means to betray him. The high priests promised him money to betray him.
Judas knew very well that Christ was the Son of God. Even at the age of 12, Jesus had converted water into wine in a marriage festival. He exorcised evil spirits, cast out demons, cured the blind, the deaf, paraplegics and the epileptics. Judas had watched Christ walking over waters twice. He himself had eaten form the five loaves of bread and two fishes which Jesus, distributed among the 50000. Judas was aware of the fatal consequences of betraying Jesus too: he would be roasted in eternal fire for all times. Jesus was God himself, it does not then stand to reason he would dare to betray him. Judas would have never preferred thirty pieces of gold to eternal hell where there is ‘howling and gnashing of teeth’ all the time.
God moved Judas to betray Him; he was destined to betray Jesus. There is nothing in potency in God. Jesus Christ was destined from all eternity to die on the cross for the remission of the sin of Adam and Judas was destined to betray him. Jesus himself declares that scriptures are to be fulfilled and that certain things have to take place. When the soldiers came armed to arrest him, Peter drew his sword and struck one of the servants of the High priest. Then Jesus declared: “how are the scriptures to be fulfilled that thus it must take place.” (Matthew 26:54).
Jesus was conspicuous even in the great temple of Jerusalem and every living person of his times must have heard of him or seen him. Why Judas had to betray him? The whole story of betrayal seems a bit silly. Why did the Jewish elite need a betrayer to disclose the whereabouts of Jesus Christ? He was not hiding anywhere but was a very popular man and very much among them making an awful lot of noise, cleansing temples and arguing with them. If Jesus was an unknown person requiring to be betrayed, the gospel accounts of miracles, Immaculate Conception and popularity were mere fabrications at the hands of overzealous followers to establish he was not a man but a god.
There is no greater villain than Judas Iscariot in the Christian world. But it is through Jesus’ passion and death that Christ redeemed the whole world. Judas was one who spurred up the whole redemptory process. He paved the way for the great sacrifice on the cross. His so-called abominable act is the starting point in the process of the salvation of man. Why do the Church and Christians as a whole picture him as a symbol of treachery, sin and an incarnation of evil?
In an objective analysis, the act of Judas was one of holiest deed of any Christian ever lived. Judas was the catalyst who activated the whole plan of redemption.
God had selected him for the noble deed from all eternity. His role was pivotal in the whole redemptory process. As God seems to have spent considerable time and energy to conceive and execute his ‘grand design’ to save man, the role of Judas in it is crucial and exalted. He should be ranked with the holiest of all mortals, perhaps a little above Mary, the mother of Jesus. She had merely obeyed a command of God to conceive and bring up His son. She had nothing else to do with the ‘rescue operation’ of God. But Judas brought about the long awaited sacrifice of propitiation by delivering the victim to the executors. The traitor thus becomes holy and sanctified. The foul heap of abuses rained on him should be replaced with hymns and praises. He should adorn the altars of the Catholic Church and other denominations who thank God for redeeming mankind. The betrayal is highly positive as it was instrumental in achieving a stupendous feat for the accursed man. And Judas had a proactive role and he a saint par excellence.