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)


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.


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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