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Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Different Perspective on Judas Iscariot

A question was posed in a class once, "If you were able to ask Jesus one question, what would it be?" I know what I would ask him:

"Why did you choose Judas Iscariot as an Apostle?"

This and other issues concerning Judas Iscariot have troubled me for a long time.

Elder Holland remarked:
This was also a telling time among those who knew Jesus more personally. The most difficult to understand in this group is Judas Iscariot. We know the divine plan required Jesus to be crucified, but it is wrenching to think that one of His special witnesses who sat at His feet, heard Him pray, watched Him heal, and felt His touch could betray Him and all that He was for 30 pieces of silver. Never in the history of this world has so little money purchased so much infamy. We are not the ones to judge Judas’s fate, but Jesus said of His betrayer, “Good [were it] for that man if he had not been born.”
I've never thought that what we know about Judas and what he did was logical. At least the way it is taught and assumed in the Church.


We know that Judas intentionally betrayed Christ. But, Judas returned the money and regretted his action bitterly. Didn't he know what he was doing? Of course he did. If he did it for the money, why did he throw it back? Did he just all of a sudden experience a reversal in his thinking? That doesn't make sense to me. It never has. I don't think Judas experienced a sudden temptation, acted spitefully and then regretted what he had done.

Judas had to know what his betraying Jesus would mean. Maybe Judas had a particular end in mind. When something different resulted, he regretted his action.  He regretted it because it produced a different result than the one he intended.

Judas betrayed Jesus. But I think he engaged in a negative act because he wanted to bring about a positive result. This would make it a simple "ends justify the means" situation.

Being an Apostle, Judas would have witnessed Christ's miracles. He probably saw Lazarus raised from the dead, Jairus' daughter and possibly others. He undoubtedly saw Christ perform numerous miracles. So, if Judas knew Christ could restore the dead to life it would make no sense to seek Christ's death. Judas knew Christ could command miraculous power to preserve himself, others and restore life to someone thought to be dead.

So, what did Judas hope to accomplish?

Christ kept most of His work relatively confidential. He often told people not to reveal or publicize the miracles He had performed. We know his Apostles were frustrated with this. In John 14:22 we read:
Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
Perhaps Judas Iscariot was frustrated. Perhaps he wanted Christ to show his miraculous powers to the world in a very public way. Perhaps Judas Iscariot wanted to push events into being because he was frustrated with Christ's timeline for events. Perhaps he did not understand the delay. Perhaps he just took matters into his own hands to force events according to his own timeline.

Perhaps Judas betrayed Jesus because he wanted to force Jesus to demonstrate his authority, his power and his miraculous abilities to Jewish leaders and the public openly. He knew Jesus could save himself or protect himself. What he probably didn't bargain for is that Jesus would allow himself to be crucified. Perhaps Judas didn't think Jesus would take such a passive approach. Jesus told him to do it quickly so Judas must have thought Jesus approved of his action.

Being frustrated with the Lord's timeline and wanting to impose our own by forcing events is not unique.

Sometimes parents facilitate their child being arrested for something because they think a night in jail will do them good and will help reform them. A parent would bitterly regret this action if their child died as a result of this incarceration. This has happened before. I'm not conjuring up a hypothetical here. This would be taking a negative action in order to facilitate a positive result.


All this simply illustrates what Judas may have done. At any rate, I think it makes more sense than what I've always been led to assume.


It doesn't make it any more acceptable, just more understandable.

3 comments:

  1. I wonder if Judas in actuality was choosen to betray the Savior, the plan had to be fulfilled. As treasurer of the Quorum,Judas held a very high position, the Lord entrusted to him the finances. Judas is loathed, is hated, his name alone is just horrible. And yet, I wonder.....the Lord knows everything, the Lord can prevent anything, but yet He allowed to the event to enfold as it did. I feel sorry for Judas, because the task that he had to fulfill is awful~!!!!!!!!

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  2. I agree with Anonymous. It's easy at first glance to judge him but how do we know what his motives were? We do know he came to regret his decision. Did he think he had a legitimate plan and it would work out for good? I just finished a book by Tosca Lee called "Iscariot" and it led me to do a bit more research. I appreciate this article.

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    1. We should remember that Judas betrayed but not killed the Saviour. He was expecting a trial but the judges were 71 men from Jerusalem and I do not think that anybody would think that the majority of them will condem Christ to death. and If Judas had in mind to prove by a court that Christ was the Messiah becasue Judas had not faith? Yes He saw miracles but a lot of people from jesrusalem also saw them and they refused to believe and other decided to kill Him . SO i presume there is more to study to find out the truth

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