[Dip. Law (First Class)–LDC; Cert. PELD–NALI-K; LLB Student–Mak]
For a long time, great injustice has been done against this really innocent man–Judas Iscariot! Christianity has deliberately portrayed him as being monstrous and a villain. For instance, the Bible in Luke 6:16 refers to him as ‘the traitor’ and in Luke 22:4 as a ‘betrayer’. For the following reasons, I submit that this is gravely wrong, unfair and definitely misleading.
It is clear and undisputable from the scriptures that Judas Iscariot was a duly chosen apostle of Jesus Christ. Like all the other eleven apostles, he was to help Jesus in fulfilling his purpose and mission on earth, chief of which was to die for our sins on the cross, so that we may be redeemed from the power of evil. In Luke 9:22, it is stated that, ‘... “The Son of Man must suffer much and be ... put to death ...”.’ Likewise, Luke 22:22, reads that, ‘‘The Son of Man will die as God has decided ...’. It is glaringly clear that Jesus’ purposive death was divinely predetermined and sanctioned.
Yet it was only natural and logical that Jesus Christ should not kill himself or be seen to have stage-managed his own death. This would be tantamount to suicide which, is an abomination and highly disgraceful. Consequently, there was need for a medium or conduit through which God’s purpose on earth could be fulfilled. It is my contention that Judas Iscariot was the avenue for the realization of Jesus’ noble duty on earth. Therefore, he was only playing his especial role in building the kingdom of our Lord Christ Jesus and for this reason alone, Judas deserves special recognition.
I know that in Luke 22:22 Jesus says that ‘... but how terrible for that man who betrays him!”’ My view is that this is the mother of the terrible injustice meted out against Judas Iscariot. Without Judas’ intervention, Jesus would not have died for us on the cross and there would be no salvation for mankind especially, for Christians who, therefore, have an obligation to accord him due respect.
I believe Judas is not different from Simon Peter who denied Jesus three times because both were acting under powers beyond their control and there is no point in assuming that one is any better than the other. This is playing double standards and of course, hypocrisy! Considering that Jesus is God himself and therefore omniscient (i.e. all knowing), he purposively chose Judas Iscariot to do exactly what he did.
Moreover, it cannot be overemphasized that Judas’ betrayal of Jesus was beneficial to the entirety of Christendom and beyond. I have already intimated that thanks to him, salvation is now possible. It should also be borne in mind that all religious leaders today would be jobless had Judas not betrayed Jesus. Plus, all other people engaged in the Ministry of Jesus in different ways and at different levels would be equally redundant and irrelevant–all of them, from Bible manufacturers and sellers to Church Ushers and so on.
So, as we celebrate the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross and his resurrection this Easter season, let us remember our duty to honour and respect Judas Iscariot, the man who made it possible. He is Christianity’s unsung hero. I humbly propose that he be canonized to become Saint Judas Iscariot.