Carole Crossley is the author of a daily devotional book entitled ‘Are you Listening.’ Carole has kindly agreed to share on our website; exploretoinspire.uk a number of her devotions for your encouragement (2019 Jesus Joy Publishing used by permission) and if you would like to order a copy of Carole’s book, go to ‘Are you Listening’
This devotional is about JUDAS ISCARIOT one of many Bible Characters that she has shared over the months and we hope you enjoy it.
I had been watching this man Jesus as He spoke to the crowds. He certainly had them hanging on His every word. He had a new way of holding their attention; one I had never thought to use. He didn’t fire them up with acts of defiance, revenge or promises of leadership. His whole demeanour was unusual, humble in fact. They listened to Him for hours, never seeming to be aware of hunger or thirst or even the mid-day sun. I could use Him, tap into His charisma. Yes, I would ingratiate myself with Him. I would then be able to subtly manipulate Him and the massive following of people that He had gained for His own political ends.
I had manoeuvred my way to the front, never taking my eyes of Him as He spoke. Jesus had a gentleness that obviously appealed to the crowd. I knew He would need careful handling but the challenge appealed to me and more so would the rewards appeal.
Our eyes met as I scrambled to my feet; His eyes seemed to look inside me and for a split second I felt vulnerable. I shook off these foolish notions, standing my ground. I flashed Him my most disarming smile and congratulated Him on His speech. I was again thrown off balance when He said nothing in reply. The people had started to drift away; a few close friends pushed forwards and suggested they went in search of food. Jesus, standing, held out His hand to me.
This was going to be easy!
I slowly moved forward, my own hand outstretched. Jesus and I clasped hands in a greeting and in that split second our paths were entwined. I, not too gushingly, (for something warned me that wouldn’t impress Him) commented on the way He had spoken to the crowd. Jesus still made no comment and then said “Come, join us in a meal.”
The days ran into weeks and I continued to follow Him, staying close within His immediate circle. I was ever willing, always reliably there, always offering to assist. I was given the job of looking after the money. I was more than willing to do that; I couldn’t believe my good fortune especially as no one seemed to be concerned with keeping a check. It was all slotting into place.
The more I listened to Jesus and noted the reaction of the multitudes now following Him, the more I saw what a marvellous opportunity, politically speaking, we would have of a successful uprising! Timing would be crucial. He had the most amazing effect on thousands of people; He was a born leader. If I could channel His way of thinking, into defeating the present governing authority, there would be no end of possibilities.
Jesus continued to hold the crowd’s attention. He had ridden into Jerusalem as a King; everyone was excited and whipped-up into a frenzy. His name was on everyone’s lips. People placed palm leaves and even their cloaks on the floor for Him to ride over. A King should enter a city on a stallion with a chariot but Jesus chose to arrive riding on a donkey! Things would change – they had to when we took over the government. I would ensure that He was a leader to look up to; dressed accordingly, living in a place that befitted His station, with servants and……my mind wandered off at the possibilities that power would bring.
A room was ready for us when we arrived in Jerusalem; I was disappointed that Jesus still hadn’t mentioned His victory over winning the people’s allegiance and His intention for the future. I felt the time had come to try and force issues. If I waited for Jesus, I would be waiting a long time. He seemed to be humbly content to travel without direction and it was clear to me that He needed some strategy. I was the man to assist Him in that. The time had come to force His hand!
Jesus had spoken to the people with such authority and I had no doubt He intended to challenge the governing body – He just needed a push.
I went to the chief priests and, knowing their fear at the popularity that Jesus was gaining, I was sure they would want Him gone. The Jews wanted to arrest Him so I agreed to point Him out in exchange for 30 pieces of silver. I was convinced that, if they came for Him, it would force His hand and He would call on His followers to stand and defend Him. A rebellion – yes that was what was needed. I had bided my time long enough.
I could not have been more wrong!
Jesus and the twelve in His close circle had gathered in a small upper room in the house of a friend of His.We were together for the last time.
Jesus said a strange thing. “One of you will betray Me; one who is eating with Me.” Of course we all objected when He said this, but He knew. When our eyes met, they bore into me. I didn’t see anger, just sadness. He then broke the bread and shared it with us all; He took the wine and did the same. His words struck me again as strange “Take and eat, this is My body, do this in remembrance of Me.” He passed the wine around “This is the blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many.”
Then His words rang in my ears “Do what you have to do quickly.” I left as they started to sing a hymn. The time had come.
I went straight to the chief priests. Sensibly, we had arranged a signal between us so they would easily be able to identify Jesus. I led them, together with their guards who were armed with clubs and swords, to the garden of Gethsemane.
It was a balmy night and the birds were settled in the trees; crickets could be heard as they rubbed their hind legs together. In hushed tones Jesus could be heard speaking. He seemed to be alone and, as my eyes focussed in the gloom, I became aware of the others sleeping in groups of two or three. Good! That meant there would be little opposition until He had been arrested.
The adrenalin flooded my bloodstream; I was more than excited. This moment had taken about three years in planning. Soon I would lead a rebellion; the people would get behind me when they saw what was happening to Jesus. It was all so perfect, all so clever. Jesus would be pleased!
I surprised myself as I ran with feather-light steps, purpose added wings to my feet. When I got to Jesus I reached up to place my hand on His thin shoulder and placed a kiss of greeting on His cheek.
Suddenly, the peaceful scene changed into one of utter confusion. Guards were screaming orders in uproar, weapons threateningly close to Jesus. The disciples were awake; rushing forward, they wanted to protect Him. Jesus in His usual gentle, peace-loving way, calmed the situation. Soon the others fled and He was alone, deserted. They tied His hands securely behind His back. He was pushed roughly along and taken to appear before the High Priest.
I followed the group at a short distance; the others were nowhere to be seen. Jesus had a trial behind closed doors. Many people were bribed to lie mercilessly about Him, under threat for their lives, or to appeal to their greed. Jesus was flogged in the temple courts. The Romans used cruel metal-tipped leather whips to brutally cause as much pain and damage to His flesh as possible. They beat Him with their fists, spit on Him and humiliated Him. Jesus, a gentle innocent man, uttered not a word in His defence.
My plan had all gone horrendously wrong!
The coins jangling in my pouch felt foreign and hot. I went to the temple to return them; I had got the expected outcome quite wrong. My meddling had caused this but I couldn’t put it right. Then the news that Jesus had been condemned to death reached me.
He was to be Crucified! Crucified! Crucified! The word echoed in my brain.
I threw the blood money back into the temple. With a heavy heart, full of remorse, my head hung in despair. I left taking a noose with me.