This is a fictitious short story written about a moment in the life of Judas from the perspective of one of the twelve disciples, Bartholomew. It exemplifies the reality of what Judas maybe was like—just following Jesus at a distance.

Granted, it had been a long day. There hadn’t been rain for weeks and it was very dusty. We were coated with dirt. It was in our hair, under our fingernails and we needed to wash, but that wasn’t going to happen for many more days. We had been on the road for a long time and many of us were weary and restless. In particular, Judas seemed to be more defensive, short, even angry, especially toward Jesus and for some reason, toward Peter as well. Judas was usually quiet, hanging in the background and only really speaking up when it had to do with something that pertained to the money or where we would go next. This was different.

You see, Judas took care of the coin that we got and Jesus trusted him. When we would go into the towns, Judas would seek out our lodging, figure out where we would eat, and take care of the practical things that needed to be done. He would only on occasion be there when Jesus would be teaching at the synagogue or at the different times we would spend with the people teaching them or helping them. It was odd though, because now looking back in hindsight, Judas didn’t really spend very much time with us at all. He was most of the time off doing his own thing.

That day though I knew something was up. Again, we were dirty and tired and the people were just wearing on most of us. They wanted so much; they thronged around us all the time; they were always in your face. On some days that could give you strength and excitement for what was happening, but on that day, I think we were all just plain tired. We went back to the place where we were staying, which that night meant that we were sleeping outside. The last few days Jesus would go to Judas and ask him if we had enough money to sleep under a roof. Each time, early in the day when Jesus would ask him about this, Judas said that we would either stay dry or go hungry. We had to choose if we wanted to eat or sleep. At those time, we wondered where was all of the money going. Was Judas just giving it away?

On that day, it wasn’t until early evening that Jesus went to Judas again and asked him about the money and where we might stay. Like I said, it’d been a long day and we were all aching from our travels. Judas though lost his temper. Jesus didn’t have but a few words out of his mouth, and Judas threw the money pouch at him and the money struck Jesus in the face and then it all fell to the ground—just a few silver coins staring back at him. Then, this was the remarkable thing—Judas who was quite a bit smaller than Jesus, went at him as if he was going to strike him with his fist. We stood amazed. Right before his fist was about to land, he pulled back and uttered something which none of us could hear. Later that night, as we were all sitting around the fire and most everyone else had gone to sleep, those of us who were still awake asked one another if they had heard what Judas had said. None of us did. After Judas did pull back his fist and said what he had to say, he walked off mumbling down the road toward Bethlehem.

No one had spoken to Jesus like that, even those who detested him like some of the synagogue leaders just said things behind his back. They never confronted him to his face. A lot of us were confused. And what was going on? Did others have the same feelings as Judas? We didn’t believe that Judas would come back; and that he was gone for good. But the next morning, very early, he was trotting down the road as we had just finished eating. Nothing was said. Jesus didn’t bring it up and Judas acted like nothing had happened. I remember that day well, because I finally began to figure out who Judas really was. As usual, at about mid-day, there was another great throng of people eager to hear what Jesus had to say and to see what he would do. There were people everywhere—pushing and shoving to get close to him. However, as I looked through the crowd, this is what I saw—Judas was mixing among the people, collecting coins from them, and pushing the change into his pockets. For the first time, things became clear to me, and when I looked over to Jesus, he simply nodded to me—that’s when I knew he had seen what I had seen.

In: Friend to Jesus
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