Judas: a hand that never reached

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

Judas Iscariot (Photo credit: Missional Volunteer)

Judas

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.

No, Judas.

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.

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About Sheila

Writer of fiction and non-fiction, Christian, Methodist, and cat lover. Co founder of publishing house, Colourpoint Books, now Colourpoint Creative Ltd. Northern Ireland
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