By Ajogwu Jerry Ochada
The euphoria rented the air! For Catholics all over the world, this day marks the end of a 40 days journey of fasting, abstinence, alms giving and penance. It is a tradition bequeathed on the church as practiced from the biblical times to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; son of the holy spirit, conceived by Mary.
Biblical allusions has proven that the earliest act of a traitor recorded in history indoctrinated in written form can be traced to the over ambitious deeds of Judas Iscariot displayed over 2000 years ago when he betrayed Jesus; his Master. It further revealed that Judas action was a fulfilment of the scripture.
Judas Iscariot was a disciple and one of the original Twelve Disciples of Jesus Christ. According to all four canonical gospels, Judas betrayed Jesus to the Sanhedrin in the Garden of Gethsemane by kissing him and addressing him as “Rabbi” to reveal his identity to the crowd who had come to arrest him.
Judas was a follower of Jesus and a preacher of the gospel, but he was never consistent. In the end, he abandoned the faith he once professed.
However, Judas made a commitment to Jesus, and there is no reason to think he was anything but sincere in his faith. Like the rest of the disciples, he left everything to follow our Lord. Judas was actively involved in ministry, and he was given remarkable spiritual gifts. St Luke tells us that Jesus called “the twelve” together—that included Judas—and “gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal” (Luke 9:1–2).
Judas Iscariot was a gospel preacher! He was given the gift of healing, and he exercised authority over demons. Active involvement in ministry is a good and wonderful thing; but it is not, in itself, a guarantee of spiritual life or health.
Judas walked with Jesus for three years. He saw the greatest life ever lived up close and personal. You cannot have a better model of faith than Jesus or a better environment for forming faith than Judas had in walking with the Savior.
He directly witnessed the miracles. When Jesus fed the 5,000, Judas was there. He took the bread and distributed it along with the other disciples. When Jesus calmed the storm, Judas was there. And he was there when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. You can’t have better evidence for faith than Judas had.
Judas heard all the teaching of Jesus, too. He heard the Sermon on the Mount, so he knew there is a narrow road that leads to life and a broad road that leads to destruction. He heard the warnings Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, so he knew there is a hell to shun and a heaven to gain. He heard the parable of the prodigal son, so he knew God is ready to welcome and forgive those who have wasted themselves in many sins.
The human heart is beyond understanding (Jer. 17:9), and there is something incomprehensible about a person who abandons the faith they once once professed. It is hard to understand how a young person raised by godly parents in the context of a healthy church, taught the truths of Scripture from an early age, and grounded in apologetics can give up on Jesus. Judas’s story contains an important lesson for parents, leaders, and friends who grieve over someone they love who has abandoned the faith.
In the end Judas derailed in fulfilment of the scripture. Today, Christians all over the world read and rate Judas as a traitor without a second thought; it was indoctrinated in the bible that Jesus is the son of God and he came to die for the sin of the world. To this end, even if Judas never betrayed Jesus, he was destined to die in order to save mankind from their sin. This is not an attempt to exonerate the 21st Judas who can be seen all over the globe killing the destines of other brethren due to greed, egocentric cravings and undiluted ignorance.