Interesting Speculation

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.

  • Confederate Papist

    Good points all. I do believe that Jesus knew what Judas what up to all along and was part of his plan to get the church started.

  • Heather Price

    Quite thoughtful. Another reason why justice should be tempered with mercy, and why I think we should pray more for the latter than the former.

  • Nancy D.

    Actually, John’s Gospel reads as an eyewitness account because John’s Gospel is an eyewitness account.

  • Eric

    I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the coins Judas stole from the collections were miraculously replaced. It’s a sign that only Judas would have recognized. However as the parable of the keepers suggests, there were some who knew who Jesus was and chose to serve sin regardless.

    The events of the last supper suggest that the disciples had probably not even suspected Judas until after the Resurrection. That’s part of the point of the Resurrection: to bring truth to light through recollection.

  • Observer

    If God’s mercy was extended to Adam and Eve for the fall, why would He refuse the same for Judas? God may know the heart of a man. But, a man may not know his own heart. The old Greek addage, “Know thyself” has much to do with the examination of conscience and the devout life. What, I suppose, Judas lacked was the devout life. He seemed to be more concerned about trivial matters like selling the albastar jar of ointment for the poor (which Mary Magdalene put on Christ.) Her life was served out in perpetual penance. Wherefore Judas’s life served out things that didn’t really matter. That is, he stole because the moral compass of the Church wasn’t really important and didn’t really matter. All the trivial things apart from salvation seemed to be more important to Judas. Afterall, he didn’t see that the Son of Man was wrongly accused. Rather, he saw a man wrongfully accused by his own kiss and the penalty of merely putting an innocent man to death (which devistated his own conscience because he still didn’t see God the Son. Rather, he saw his own personal fault likened to not getting enough money or not meeting the social economic matters of the poor.) In other words, Judas gave his own soul for the world – “What profits a man to gain the whole world and to lose his soul?”) Judas fell into insanity at the thought of his own well-being being put into jeopardy because he put an innocent man to death (not the Son of God.)

  • Eric

    Judas didn’t want money for the poor, he wanted money for the purse that he would rob.

    ‘May his tent be destroyed and his field be abandoned’.

    God doesn’t condemn those he has not given a chance to repent. Pride has way of inflating peoples’ opinions of themselves, and of preventing people from repenting.

    Observer said: “…he saw his own personal fault likened to not getting enough money…”

    A characteristic common to all of the chosen twelve is that they had come to believe that Jesus was the Messiah of God. It’s one thing to know who the Messiah is and where he has come from, and another to know where he is going.


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