The Judas Mentality
April 13, 2006
The Judas Mentality

(St. Vincent and the Grenadines District)

Leonardo De Vinci had difficulty finding models for the faces of Jesus and Judas when he was painting his renowned “Last Supper”. He finally found what he considered a right face for Christ. Years passed and he had still not painted the only face left, as he had not found a suitable face for Judas.{{more}}

One day while walking in the slums of his city he found a man with a face filled with hate, lined deeply with the struggles of life. The artist had never seen a sadder man. The man sat for the painting, and when De Vinci was finished, he asked the man his name. The man replied, “Don’t you remember me? Several years ago you used my face for the face of Christ!”

One, who a few years earlier seemed righteous, now appeared exceedingly evil. This was certainly the case of Judas. Probably Judas had been a pretty good fellow. We are told in the Gospels that he was chosen by Christ to be an Apostle (MK. 3:14-19) and elected treasurer by the other apostles (John 12:6). Judas’ treachery had come to define who he was. The beginning to his end came when as we are told, “Satan entered into him.” (Luke 22:3)

Helmut Thiekickle tells the story of a man who, living amidst the darkness of Hitler’s third Reich, took his stand against the National Socialist Government and all that it stood for, and was duly arrested. He was sent to prison, where he was kept for a long time in solitary confinement, enduring regular beatings and torture as his captors sought to extract a confession that might enable them to convict him of a crime. After several months, he was released without charge.

Tired, physically weak and under nourished, he nonetheless had an unbroken spirit, and was as ardent in his opposition to the totalitarian state as he had ever been. Two weeks after his release, he was found hanged, having committed suicide in the attic. Those who had followed his case with interest wondered how it was that his struggle and courage had eventually been destroyed. Those who knew him well were aware of the reason. He had made an awful discovery that it was his son who had informed against him and delivered him into the hands of the Nazis. The treachery of one whom he loved finally accomplished what institutional brutality had failed to do.

Betrayal entails a pain that surpasses the physical kind, no matter how intense. Pain inflicted by an enemy is one thing. Pain inflicted by a friend or loved one is something different.

It is not surprising therefore that the New Testament paints a dark picture of Judas. Judas’ story ends in the awfulness of disgrace, shame, desperation and finally suicide. Hounded by guilt and despair, he was unable to live with the consequences of his own action.

Like Judas, we are guilty of the sin of betrayal when we tend to act against our consciences. Have we betrayed our friends, spouse, children and co-workers? Have we betrayed the trust of a loved one? Have we sold our innocence, convictions, and standard for money, gifts and favours?

I conclude, not with the disciples’ question, “Lord is it I?” but with a statement of admission, “Surely Lord it is me.” During Easter we can discover the enduring and redeeming love of the One who was betrayed.

The Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies extend God’s peace to you all at this Easter Season.