from Dan's Corner

As we once again turn our attention to the story of Easter, we are reminded of how much the Lord paid for our salvation. We also encounter one of the bible's greatest villains -- Judas Iscariot. His full name in Hebrew was Y'hudah ben-Shim'on Ish K'riot which means "Judah son of Simon a man of Kriot," a town some twenty miles south of Jerusalem.

Many of us, when reading the Gospel accounts, spit out the name Judas as if a bug had flown in our mouths. His name has become synonymous with betrayal and back-stabbing.

It has been said that Judas Iscariot was the most educated, cunning and possibly the most intelligent of the twelve. I once read an article that said that based on the selection criterion that modern corporations use for promotion to executive levels, Judas would have been the only candidate among his peers qualified to fill a high level position in today's business world. So we ask, "Why did God finger this guy to be the villain -- to be the betrayer?" Luke 22:3 says, "Then Satan entered Judas called Iscariot, one of the twelve." We as Christians are assaulted often by the devil and we (hopefully) resist him. What was going on with this Judas -- one who actually walked with Jesus, the Son of God, for years? Why was he so easily manipulated?

There was a reason, an underlying motivation that would cause him to act in the way he did. And it has been told to me this way . . . .

(Please note: The following is presented as historical conjecture. It has little basis in Scripture and is not meant to be anything more than an interesting theory. While it is possible, and even probable, it is not meant to be taken as Gospel.)

Judas was a Zionist -- a zealot for Israel. He hated the Roman occupation of his land and wanted nothing more than to see them expelled and Israel restored to its former sovereignty. While all of Israel was looking for the Deliverer, Judas believed he'd found Him. In the four Gospels Jesus refers to Himself as the "Son of Man" dozens of times. This term has important implications in the Old Testament.

"In my vision at night I looked and there before me was one like the Son of Man, coming in the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led in to His presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power. All peoples, nations, and men of every language worshipped him. His domain is an everlasting domain that will not pass away and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." -- Daniel 7:13-14

Judas was a learned man. He knew his Scripture. He knew what the "Son of Man" title meant. With signs and wonders following Jesus' ministry, Judas may have been the one who was most convinced that Jesus really was the Son of God, the promised Messiah and deliverer of his people. This was the foundation of the betrayal. As Christ told His disciples of His imminent death they realized that His time on earth was short. Judas realized that his opportunity was slipping away and with a big push from Satan he acted.

Now here's the nitty gritty.

Judas shows up at Gesthemene with the bunch that was going to arrest his master. Did he expect Jesus, the powerful "Son of Man," to go quietly to be killed? Probably not. What he did expect was to force Jesus' hand -- for Him to rise up, whack the priests and Romans, kick the evil empire out of Israel and install His glorious kingdom on the spot.

What a shock it must have been. Jesus once again colored outside the lines of what was expected of the Messiah. He went on to the cross and paid the price for us. He rose to heaven to take His place with the Father. And He is coming back to fulfill the aforementioned Scripture from the seventh chapter of Daniel. In the end we see that Judas' expectation of Jesus Christ was indeed accurate. It's just that his timing was off by a couple thousand years.

Keep your eyes on the clouds. He IS coming back soon!

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