Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sliding into Darkness


The Traitor

“Judas also… knew the place… Judas then, having received a band of men cometh thither.”

John 18:2,2

Every new line in the story of the betrayal shows new blackness in the heart of Judas. Going out from the supper-table he hastened to the priests, and was quickly under way with his band of soldiers. He probably first hurried back to the upper room, where he had left Jesus; not finding Him there, he knew well where the Master had gone, and hastened to the sacred place of prayer. Then the manner in which he let the officers know which of the company was Jesus shows the deepest blackness of all: he went up to Him as to a dear friend and kissed Him — kissed Him over and over, and with feigned warmth and affection.

Let us remember how the treason grew in the heart of Judas, beginning in greed for money, growing into theft and falseness of life, ending at last in the blackest crime the world ever saw. The lesson is, that we should watch the beginnings of evil in our hearts.

A picture in the royal gallery of Brussels represents Judas wandering about on the night after the betrayal. He comes by chance upon the workmen who have been making the cross on which Christ shall be crucified to-morrow. A fire near by throws its light full on the faces of the workmen, who are sleeping peacefully while resting from their labour. Judas’s face is somewhat in the shade; but it is wonderfully expressive of awful remorse and agony as he catches sight of the cross and the tools used in making it, — the cross which his treachery had made possible. But still, though in the very torments of hell, as it appears, he clutches his money-bag, and seems to hurry on into the night. That picture tells the story of the fruit of Judas’s victory — the money-bag with the thirty pieces of silver in it (and even that he could not long keep), carried off into the night of fiendish despair: that was all.

(Today's entry in "Come Ye Apart" by J.R. Miller)

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