There are many names given to children born each day. Some are the common names that are evergreens and are popular from year to year. Others are fashionable that come and go based on popularity. And the range of Bible names are perennials that crop up year after year.
But in all my years I have never met or heard of anyone that has been given the name of Judas.
Prior to Jesus’ death it was not an uncommon name as we see in the likes of Judas Maccabeus and Judas was also the name of one of Jesus own brothers, better known as Jude the brother of James who also wrote the letter of Jude in the New Testament.
But in the days after Jesus death we see that the name Judas has been shunned. It resonates more with words like traitor, deceiver and untrustworthy. And all of this because of the event that took place in this section of scripture.
Jesus went to a garden across the Kidron valley, which He frequented often with His disciples. It was night and like many deeds of betrayal, Judas betrayed the Lord under cover of darkness.
How must it have felt to the Lord. Sure He knew that Judas was going to betray Him and Judas was selected for that role, but even so it must have been awful. Here was this man who had travelled side by side with Jesus in the preceding three years, who had heard all of the teachings of the Lord, seen the miracles and healings
And then he betrayed Him. The Author of Life and the Son of God.
What is the worst kind of betrayal that a person can suffer? When the betrayer is one who is close to them. And Judas was close to Jesus. He was one of the Twelve, which makes his betrayal so much the worse and so much the harder to understand.
We know of course that we are told elsewhere that Satan entered into Judas to do the work of the betrayer, so it could be argued that the real betrayer is Satan. But what the world saw was not Satan but Judas. And that is why that name is forever accursed among people and is not commonly given to our children.
The Arrest of Jesus
Judas came by night with the officers of the priests, soldiers, guards and a mob of people armed with lanterns, torches and weapons. Judas betrayed Jesus into the hands of these men and led them by night to a place apart from the crowds who would have mobbed them to protect the Lord.
All this took place according to the will of God. Even the betrayal and arrest of the Lord was in full accord and with the full knowledge of God the Father for He ordained it to be so. It was Hid plan for this to take place as it was to be for our salvation that Jesus be sacrificed in this way.
But as we look at the arrest we see the marks and the traits of Satan. The liar that he is was in full play as we see his modus operandi at work.
Satan works in secret. He is a creature of the night and the king of the dark places. Thus when he sent his servants to betray and arrest Jesus, he did so at night. Satan is also a coward. He cannot stand against God. So too he did not just send the local constable to arrest Jesus but he incited a mob with soldiers, officers and weapons to overpower any that stood in his way. And all that Satan did was based upon the lies that he put into play and the opposition against the Lord and the kingdom of God that he established even before Jesus was born.
Jesus Protects His People
Despite the efforts of Satan we see that his plans would not go fully his own way. When the mob came up against the Lord we see the following events unfold.
4 Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”
5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.
6 When he said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
7 Again he asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he; so, if you seek me, let these men go.”
Although there were so many arraigned against Jesus, when they were told “I am He” they withdrew and fell to the ground. They were unable to stand in His presence.
Again Jesus asked them, “Whom do you seek?” When they told him they sought Jesus, He said to them, “…if you seek me, let these men go.”
In spite of the fact that He knew He was about to be led to trial by a kangaroo court, be wrongfully sentenced based on lies, imprisoned and then put to a torturous death, Jesus’ first concern was for the welfare of His disciples. He ensured their safety first and then went with those who came to arrest Him for the events to follow.
In His death He bought us life. In His death we have salvation, and even in those first hours of the work of salvation that was to be wrought in His death we see Jesus ensuring the physical salvation of His people.
The marvel of the death and resurrection of Jesus is beyond human comprehension. It is given to those who follow Christ by the revelation of God. And it is a wondrous thing when any person first understands what the Lord has done for them.
Yes the betrayal was a terrible thing and a dark time in history. But the light of the covenant and the truth that came from it, the salvation we have in Jesus Christ dims those things to obscurity for in Jesus Christ there is only light.
(Photo sourced from the BBC at bbc.co.uk)
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