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Judas Iscariot and the Real Apostles

Judas was part of Jesus' close-knit group of Apostles, but he was not like all the others. Even though he heard the Word with his own ears and saw Jesus with his own eyes, he was a thief and a keeper of the bag. Judas' last and most cunning effort to be identified as one of the twelve was an intimate embrace, "but Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" (Luke 22:48). He betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and left him to die on the cross, never turning back to see his triumph over it. Jesus said, "Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27). Saint Paul recorded the immediate effect of Judas' awful betrayal of Christ; "now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out" (Acts 1:18). According to the book of Matthew, he "went and hanged himself." Jesus was keenly aware of the sin that Judas embraced and knew that he would ultimately betray him, for Christ has no association or connection with Belial. This begs the question, why did Jesus allow Judas to walk with him and even ceremoniously partake of the sacred Sacrament? Was Jesus demonstrating how it is that "ye have the poor always with you" (Matt 26:11)? Jesus could not get rid of this tempter until he himself had overcome all belief of ever having been conceived by a human mother. At the last supper with his disciples, Jesus said, "The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born" (Matt 26:24). Judas so identified himself with mortal mind that he must, of necessity, suffer his own destruction along with the offending error. It would indeed have been good if he had not plunged into the dark night of chaos with such a large dose of vainglorious ego - pride, envy, greed, malice, and self-justification - followed by an unquenchable guilt for what he had done.

This is not the first time Jesus called mortal mind to come out from itself and witness its own destruction. In the book titled Infancy1, it is recorded that Jesus once commanded a poisonous serpent that had bitten a young boy to go back and suck the poison out of him; and "then the Lord Jesus cursed the serpent so that it immediately burst asunder, and died." Jesus caused the evil to first be undone and then self-destroyed, which wholly relieved the child and his parents of believing that there was a serpent, a poison, or a bite. If this serpent represents the thought that would kill an innocent child, then Judas represents the mind of the great red dragon that would send to his death "the best man that ever trod this planet" (SH 364:2).

The tempter, mortal mind, can neither take up the cross nor see the risen Savior because an illusion has no power to humble itself, to be meek, or to see Spirit. Although the dragon sends itself in the guise of us to be crucified, it seems to be necessary for us to witness the final display of mortal mind's destruction before we are ready for resurrected life. Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "I saw before me the awful conflict, the Red Sea and the wilderness; but I pressed on through faith in God, trusting Truth, the strong deliverer, to guide me into the land of Christian Science, where fetters fall and the rights of man are fully known and acknowledged" (SH 226:29). This pressing "toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God" is the sign of a true disciple and one of apostolic character (Phil 3:14).

Jesus' real apostles were selected to exemplify man's craving desire for spiritual answers, as well as for his trials and victories. Doubting Thomas demanded that he have material evidence before he would come out from himself and behold "my Lord and my God" (John 20:28). Peter vacillated between sophomoric exuberance and total rejection of Christ until he saw Jesus after the resurrection, lost his fear of death, and became consecrated to Christ's divine method of purification. Paul demonstrated how "blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed"; and Saint John illustrated that living divine Love, the Holy Ghost or Comforter, ultimately wins the day, leaving "nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed" (SH 340:28).

Take heed: examine your consecration, charity, gentleness, prayer, and heavenly inspiration, and see how your love for one another compares to the breadth and magnitude of the love that our Master lived. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13: 35). Every mundane or seemingly dramatic event in our lives is really a gift, and it is also a challenge to the First Commandment; we are being called to witness the transforming power of Mind to overcome our awful companion, mortal mind's condemnation of the One "altogether lovely" (Song 5:16). To say that we love Jesus, to identify ourselves as sons and daughters of God and, at the same time, to admit that all men must eventually wear out and die is not scientific. To do so is to unwittingly side with the Pharisees' demand that God's Son must die. Great humility in admitting our own sin, patient waiting for the appearance of the living Christ, and doing the greater works destroys the illusion of the last enemy. "Never born and never dying, it were impossible for man, under the government of God in eternal Science, to fall from his high estate" (258:27).

"We must resolve to take up the cross, and go forth with honest hearts to work and watch for wisdom, Truth, and Love. We must 'pray without ceasing'" (SH 15:18). Then it will be said of us, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant . . . enter thou into the joy of thy lord" (Matt 25:21).

1 The Lost Books of the Bible, World Bible Publishers, Inc., I. Infancy 18:16

George Denninger ©

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