This is a fictional account of Judas the week before he betrayed Jesus. It is based on the events recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
At the Seder, Jesus and I locked eyes across the bowl of bitter herbs. The Rabbi told me he knew I was turning him over to the authorities.1 In fact, he said it was prophesied.2 He understands that I will give him the reason he needs to revolt, armed with the swords he asked us to prepare.3
It was almost midnight by the time I reached the palace of Caiaphas.
“It’s time,” I said to the high priest. “He will go to the olive press on the Mountain of Olives with only a few. Are you ready?”
“Oh, I’m not going, boy.” Caiaphas scoffed. “Traipsing about the outskirts of town at this time of night?” He shook his head. “No, you take my guard and raise a mob from the leaders, and bring him to me.”
It took an hour to tour the Sanhedrin’s precinct for the rulers and rabble-rousers willing to join us. By the time we crossed the Kidron Valley, we had a sizable crowd. Our torchlight cut through the darkness and marked our progression for any who was awake to see. And the noise we made! Swords clinking, and the Passover-drunk crew were singing and banging their clubs against the tree trunks. The rabbi knew we were coming. Only the deaf and blind could miss us. But, I knew he would wait for me. He would not run away.
We came up on him sitting on a stone in the dark. My excitement that the moment had come made me say jubilantly,
“Good evening, Rabbi!”
I reached for him, pressed my cheek on his and kissed the air beside his ear. I began to pull back, but he embraced me in a hug and spoke into my ear.
He held me at arm’s length and questioned me with a look.
I answered him with a grin. He sighed, and dropped his arms.
“Do what you came to do.”
When I pulled away, my cheek was damp. I rubbed across the wet, and there was blood on my fingers.4
Jesus looked past me and asked the mob, “Who do you want?”
The captain of the guard said, “Are you the Rabbi Yeshua of Nazareth?”
“I am,” Jesus answered.
The breath was knocked out of me as the ground rushed to meet my chin. A couple of the men yelped in pain and a few were burned from falling torches. I peered up and saw that every man was lying prone on the ground5 except the Rabbi, who stood holding his hands in front to him, waiting for us to rise. We did, with speed. Then, the tussle began.
I was pushed aside as the high priest’s soldiers grabbed for the Rabbi. I unsheathed my knife and pointed it at the nearest neck, but Peter beat me to first blood by mutilating the ear of Caiaphas’ valet.6 I cheered the action, and was about to mimic it, when Jesus roared.
“PUT YOUR SWORDS AWAY!”
He spread his hands wide to calm everyone and gently reached for the valet who had fallen in agony. The Rabbi touched the side of his head, smoothed back his hair and helped him to his feet. The ear was restored.7
“Don’t you think I can call on my Father’s help and 50,000 angels will fight for me? But I must fulfill the prophecies that say it will happen this way. There will be no fighting. Swords will only bring more death.”
He looked at me, then at all the others.
“There will be no revolt.”
Phillip and Thaddeus were the first to back away into the darkness. Mark was being held by two men and he struggled so hard to flee, he left his tunic in his captor’s hands, and fled naked.8 I don’t know how long the others stood by his side because I ran into an empty night.