A reader writes concerning my piece last week about Betrayal and the Power of Relationship:
There is one other Gospel example of this phenomenon that I thought of in reflecting on your piece. In John 12:6, the apostle John, almost as an aside, reveals Judas to have been a thief who stole from the apostles’ funds. But, up until the very act of Judas handing Jesus over to the Temple authorities, Judas was a respected member of the apostolic band. He retained hold over the apostolic funds until the very end (John 13:29), still trusted by the apostles to buy supplies or to give alms on Christ’s behalf.
But, when you think about it, when did the thievery become known? It is hardly likely that the apostles were concerned about going over the books after Christ’s death and Resurrection. Isn’t it more likely that John, who is insistent in his Gospel that he is an eyewitness to the events he chronicles (e.g., John 19:35), caught Judas lifting money from the purse and chose to remain silent? Since John was the beloved disciple, perhaps he didn’t want to tell Christ that another disciple had betrayed him in minor way, and thus had to deal with the guilt of that same disciple later betraying Christ in a matter of life-and-death. He eventually reports the theft in his Gospel, but did anyone have any idea to that point? Who knows? (Although, as a point in the balance that he had not previously mentioned it, I think John was the only one who mentioned Judas’s thievery, and he is believed to have written his Gospel last.)
It’s true that John is the only person to mention it. He is also the one, writing after most of the participants in the drama are dead, who puts names to a lot of the actors left anonymous in the other gospels (most likely out of a desire to respect their privacy). it is from him we learn that it was Peter who lopped off Malchus’ ear, that Mary of Bethany was the woman (“a sinful woman, as she is called in other gospels) who anointed Jesus’ feet. And curiously, he is the only one who tells us that Mary was at the foot of the cross. The gospel reads, in part, like the memoirs of an old man. I think there may be something to my reader’s speculation.