Why Your Son is NOT Named Judas

Jesus did not have an “Et tu Brute?” moment. Contrary to Julius Caesar, Jesus was not surprised when He saw Judas among his conspirators. Contrary to Brutus, who could possibly even be Julius Caesar’s son, Judas was not even close to Jesus. Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray Him. He knew that he was helping himself to the purse from time to time. Yet, Jesus not only chose him as one of the Twelve, He also entrusted him with the management of the funds which supported their ministry.

Jesus shared close quarters with a man He knew was going to turn his back on Him. He shared many meals with him. He allowed Judas to enter the circle of a select few who saw Jesus up close and personal for over three years. What could possibly be going on inside Jesus’ head whenever He locked eyes with Judas? What was He tempted to say when He saw Judas feign loyalty and supposedly abjure the comforts of life to follow Him?

It still amazes me that it wasn’t until the night of His imprisonment that Jesus finally revealed to the group that Judas was going to betray Him. Talk about the ability to discipline the tongue. I could have never done it. Most people couldn’t, under the circumstances. For while humanly speaking it is conceivable to refrain from speaking against someone who conspired to kill you and is now living away from you (like on the moon…), it would be a little more challenging to do that with someone who lives with you and you know is about to give your head up for a bunch of silver.

And especially if you had the power to vanish him from your presence. I can tell you right now that if I had that kind of power, when Judas, in response to Jesus comment that one of the Twelve would betray Him, said cynically,  “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” (Matthew 26:25), I wouldn’t simply have said, “You said it yourself.” More like, “Hasta la vista, baby!”

But Jesus’ discipline stemmed from His sense of purpose and calling to do everything according to God’s predetermined plan. So as they were finishing the Last Supper, Jesus told Judas, “Do what you have to do.”

Now, to be sure, Jesus said no one would take His life away from Him. He would give it up voluntarily. To be sure, when the mob came to get Him, He said He could call ten thousand angels. To be sure, He could reduce Judas to smithereens before he even got close enough to kiss Him. But He didn’t do any of that. Why?

Simply because He was determined to die on that cross for you and me. And in spite of the fact that Jesus kept reminding the disciples of His impending death, Jesus, along with the others never really got it. I mean, Judas had seen the miracles Jesus had performed. He knew that no power known to man could stop Him. And perhaps, moved by this conviction, he didn’t think that “little betrayal” would amount to anything. Jesus would use His superpowers, eventually.

But he didn’t count on the fact that Jesus was determined to go all the way with that scandalous plan. And thus his remorse and eventual suicide at the realization that Jesus had voluntarily surrendered and not fought back. Judas couldn’t handle the immensity of Jesus’ self-renunciation compared with his own pitiful self-seeking act.

And Jesus was willing to go along with all this charade on the part of Judas for one and only one reason — He knew His Father’s will was that He would make a way for us to be reconciled with Himself, even at the cost of His life.

Judas deserves to have an appendage to his name, i.e. “Judas, the one who would betray Him.” And other Judases in the New Testament are well deserving of clarification, i.e. “Judas, not the Iscariot.” And families are right in not picking that name for their sons.

Like Jesus said, “For the Son of Man is to go just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good  for that man if he had not been born.”

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade