The childhood years of Jesus are illuminated on only a couple of occasions, quick flashes of a torch in a dark, intriguing piece of history. I wonder about the people who would surround him in his final three years. For example, was Peter born before or after Jesus?
I’m reminded of a song by Rich Mullins Boy Like Me/Man like You, in which he wonders how alike Jesus’ boyhood was to that of any boy then and, indeed, now.
Judas Iscariot (Photo credit: Missional Volunteer)
I wonder about Judas. If he was born before Jesus, where was he, and what sort of a family did he belong to? Was his mindset formed by strong family politics imbibed at the dinner table when discussion turned to nationalism and a hatred of the foreign invader’s presence? I think he believed passionately in a coming Messiah but his mind was constrained by preconceptions and moulded by rigid aspiration.
A lesson for our times
Certainly, when Judas breaks the surface of history, we can trace where such a mindset led him. There is a lesson for our own times. Here is a poem which imagines how Jesus may have viewed him.
I am not the only man of sorrows.
You knew a cross of bitter tears;
You touched the belly of the underworld
And floundered in the thick and choking seas
Of yourself and your narrow world’s despair.
A desolate try from the soul to me;
A cry from parched lips and an arid heart;
One hand that reached and groped and yearned to me
I would have grasped and held and never loosed;
You would have seen myself upon your cross.
I loved you, Judas,
But I could not hold a hand that never reached.
Beyond all tears you died, prisoner of an eternal plan,
Incapable of breaking loose the bonds
That held you from the loving truth of me.