In That Moment – Part 1

I actually wrote this a LONG time ago, so it doesn’t reflect my best quality of work, but I still wanted to share it because the content is appropriate.  It’s long, though, and broken into 3 parts anyway, so I will break it into 3 posts.

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With a dull thud the piece of silver landed in the dust at my feet. I bent, and with shaking fingers picked it up.

“Thirty,” the man in front of me stated. I glanced up and he raised one eyebrow. “Fair?” I looked back down at the round object in my hand. Wiping the dust off with my thumb, I watched it catch the light from a nearby candle. The shine seemed almost evil and I suddenly found myself wondering what I was doing there and how I had ended up in this situation. Deep down I knew why I was there, though. It had all started about a week before. It was all that woman’s fault…that Mary. She had to make that big show of pouring that expensive oil on His feet. I merely suggested that it could have been used for a better cause like selling it and giving the money to the poor. And instead of praising me for thinking of others, He looked straight at me in that way of His and told me to leave her alone. He actually thought what she was doing was good. He didn’t say it quietly either; He made sure everyone knew He was reprimanding me. And they knew. I know they knew. They all looked at me. John’s look was reproachful…of course he would stand on His side. That wasn’t the worst of it though. Reproach I could handle…almost. But that smug look on Peter’s face was what really made my blood boil. He loved catching me out and he couldn’t have been happier. Oh, he tried to hide it, but I could see. They were all against me. And it was all fine and good for John and Peter to look down their noses at me: they had always been His favorites anyway. He treated me like a tag-along. He never trusted me. He’d brought this on Himself, really.

“I said do we have a deal?” The sharp voice of the high priest brought me back. Thirty pieces of silver in exchange for Him: that was the deal. I looked once more at the coin before closing my fingers around it.

“Yes,” I replied quietly.

“Good, when can we expect you to deliver?”

“I’ll let you know,” I said, refusing to look him in the eye.

“We want to know now,” he insisted.

“It’s a…difficult…procedure,” I fumbled for the right words. “I’m not sure when. I’ll have to wait for an opportunity to present itself.”

“Alright,” the high priest consented. “But Iscariot,” he waited for me to look at him. “If we don’t get Him, we will get you.” This said he held out a pouch with my silver in it.

“You’ll get Him,” I growled, snatching the bag. “I’m an honest man.”

 

I stood in the doorway of the Upper Room where the thirteen of us where going to observe the Passover, but I couldn’t go in. I watched the activity going on in the room. He sat at the table talking to Peter and John while the rest of them got everything prepared. For some reason I was having trouble breathing. Air was entering my lungs just fine, but it seemed to be getting stuck somewhere deep down and it wasn’t coming back out. A tight pain was forming in my chest, but I tried pushing it away. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. He Himself had said He was going to die. He’d said it for as long as we had known Him. So I wasn’t changing anything. I happened to be making a little money off of an event that was going to happen anyway. Where was the harm in that? It was just a little retribution for the years I had given up for Him when He didn’t even treat me as an equal to the others.

“Judas! Come!” Andrew walked over to me, clapping me on the shoulder. He seemed to think it was his job to make everybody happy. He was almost as hard to take as Peter, his brother.

“Yes, yes. I’m coming,” I said, pushing his hand away. He gave me a curious stare and walked back in the room. Slowly I made my way to the table, but getting there was harder than I expected. Every muscle in my body was trembling uncontrollably and for a moment I didn’t think that my legs would hold me. Fortunately I made it to my seat at the table and sat down with as much composure as I could muster. My composure was a bit shaken, however, when He looked at me. Something in His look sent a shiver down my spine. It appeared that He was going to say something. Did He know? What if He said something? I didn’t want the other eleven to know about this. It wasn’t wrong. I was sure it wasn’t, but I knew they wouldn’t feel that way. I looked away from Him, down at my hands clasped together on the table. But He didn’t say anything. After praying for the food we began eating. It took a little while but eventually I started to relax. Then out of nowhere He said,

“One of you is going to betray me.” My heart skipped, my insides froze, and my hand faltered.

“Master, one of us?” John asked. They didn’t seem to see Him looking at me, but I could feel it. “Master,” John said again, then his voice dropped. “Is it I?” He said nothing.

“Master, is it I?” Peter repeated John’s question. One by one they all asked.

“The one who dips his hand in the dish with mine is the one who will betray me. And woe unto him; it would have been better for him never to have been born.” Sweat was dripping from my face, my tunic was drenched, and yet I was cold. I realized I was the only on who had not asked if it was I. What if they noticed that?

“Master,” was I the only one who heard my voice shake? “Is it I?” He looked straight at me.

“Thou hast said,” He replied, quietly for once. I don’t think they heard Him. Maybe they didn’t know. Peter whispered something to John.

“Lord, who is it?” John asked.

“The one I give the bread to after I have dipped it.” I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My head spun and my hands shook. I waited but nothing happened. He kept eating. They all kept eating, but an ominous hush had fallen over us like a heavy cloud. I couldn’t eat. I felt I would vomit if I tried. I stared at my hands. Finally I picked up a piece of bread and reached to dip it. His hand was there too. I jerked my hand away as though I had touched the flame on a burning candle, and looked up at Him. He met my gaze. He smiled…sadly. Then He set the piece of bread in front of me.

“Do what you have to do quickly,” He said. I stood as fast as I could, and fled from the room. I couldn’t stand it there any longer. I ran into the street and hid in an ally. I gasped for air. What could I do? I had to do what I said I would. Now that I was away from Him and away from the penetrating eyes of the other disciples I felt better. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. He was expecting me to do it anyway. He never had believed in me, so what did it really matter? I breathed deeply, and started off to see the high priests. I knew He was planning on going to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He went there often. All I had to do was take them to Him, and my job would be done. I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

 

I stepped into the garden, a band of men behind me. I felt nothing. I had stopped feeling. I walked in a straight line, my eyes scanning for a glimpse of Him. I said nothing, just kept walking.

“How will we know Him?” one man asked.

“The man I kiss,” I replied through clenched teeth. “That’s who you want.” It was about then that I saw Him. I stopped and just looked at Him for a minute. Then, taking a deep breath I walked over to Him.

“Hail Master,” I said. Not looking Him in the eye, I leaned forward and kissed His cheek.

“Judas,” He said quietly and it sounded as if His heart was breaking as He spoke. “You’ll betray the Son of man with a kiss?” I looked at the ground as I slowly backed away.

“That’s Him!” one man shouted and they all rushed upon Him. The other disciples gathered around Him, trying to protect Him. I glanced up in time to see Peter slice one of their ears off with a sword. Heroics again. How typical for Peter. That was the last thing I saw. I turned and walked away.

 

This morning I heard He was to be executed by crucifixion. Some wept, some rejoiced. I died inside. In that moment, I realized that I had been a part of this. In that moment, I realized that I had aided in His death. It didn’t matter that He was going to die anyway. I now had it on my conscience that I had helped. I couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t change what I had done, but neither could I keep the money. I never wanted to see it again. I took it to the high priests.

“Here, take this,” I told them.

“But Iscariot, you earned it,” they smiled, actually had the nerve to smile mockingly at me.

“I don’t want it! Don’t you understand? I sold Him!”

“What does that matter to us?” they asked. Not able to handle it I threw the money on the floor with as much strength as I could. I turned then, and ran out. I thought that would be enough. I thought that would make me feel better, but it didn’t. I couldn’t live with what I had done, and I knew it would never get better. So now I’m standing here with a rope around my neck. In a minute I’m going to jump, and then I’ll be nothing but a memory. Just a name, but even that’s too much. I committed the worst possible crime. I betrayed the Son of God: a man I once called my friend. A man who had given to me the greatest honor of all: He had called me one of His chosen followers, His disciple. And how did I repay Him? I betrayed Him. In the greatest ever episode of greed, I sold Him for thirty pieces of silver.

 

~ S.D. Bullard

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~ by sdbullard on April 19, 2014.

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