CSI Biblical Jerusalem: Judas versus Jesus

Yesterday, I talked a bit about Judas Iscariot and what might have motivated him to betray Jesus. Today I’m going to rule out one of the possibilities.

It’s my assertion that Judas didn’t intend for Jesus to die.

And we’re going to reach that conclusion by way of watching what Jesus does.

Christians agree that Jesus is sinless, that being the Son of God, he wouldn’t have sinned. Christians and Jews alike agree that Jesus was an exemplary Jew who valued the Law and would not have violated it. In fact, he said that he would not do away with even one jot of the Law (the jot being the “yod” or the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet).

The following paragraph is a paraphrase from Ivy:
In Judaism, the Law refers not only to the Torah, but also to the Talmud. The two sets of documents work in perfect conjunction with one another, the Talmud expanding on the Torah. Think of it as a pair of parents working with their children. Dad is the Torah and Mom is the Talmud. Dad says, “Clean your room,” and then Mom says, “That means, make your bed, put away your clothes, and put your toys on the shelf.” Similarly, the Torah said, “Keep holy the Lord’s day,” and the Talmud says how that should be done. The two sets of dishes? It’s from the Talmud.

The Talmud explicitly says, “If someone comes after you to kill you, kill him first.”

That’s a commandment. That’s not permission: it’s an outright command to defend yourself against death by killing the person who comes after you to kill you.

Because breaking a commandment would be a sin, and Jesus wouldn’t have sinned, we can assume the fact that Jesus didn’t try to defend himself against Judas means Judas wasn’t actually coming against him with intent that he die.

Now, in all fairness, we’ve seen earlier in the Gospels that when Jesus is attacked with intent to harm, he takes steps to get away. He slips through the crowds that want to hurl him over the cliff in Galilee. In fact, he seems to “slip away” pretty often in the Gospels: sometimes to pray, and sometimes to avoid people who want to make him king.

The difference is that Jesus had gone to those people, whereas Judas in the act of betrayal was coming to him — pursuing him. The situation after the Last Supper is set up perfectly so that if Judas actively intended it to end in death, Jesus would have been obliged to try stopping him by any means possible. Instead, Jesus allows him to go unhindered from the upper room. He goes to the place he knows Judas is going to seek him out.

[Given the above law, why doesn’t he strike back against the Romans or the Sanhedrin, both of whom did have intent to kill? Because they’re figures in authority, representing the law, and they do have the authority to kill him.]

From the Gospel accounts, it’s clear that Jesus knew what would happen. My assertion is that what happened isn’t what Judas intended.

And now you’re going to ask what Judas did intend, but that’s going to have to wait for tomorrow.