Pages from the Diary of Judas, Known as the Betrayer

Why wouldn’t Jesus just take his rightful position as Savior of Judea. If he had, I would never have tried to force his decision, but someone had to make Jesus realize the high goal for which he was born and blessed by the LORD.

You know me as Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon the zealot. Nor am I ashamed of my title as zealot. If anyone could be said to love this land, this people, and the religion of our fathers, may Abraham be praised, it is I.

I was born in a land of turmoil and struggle. Long before my birth the Romans came and took over our land. Pompey, the Roman general, came down to Jerusalem from Syria in 63 BC, crushed our tired armies, and conquered Jerusalem. Part of this is the fault of our leaders.

Even then the Pharisees and Sadducees were fighting and arguing about how the land should live. The Sadducees supported progress and moving into the Mediterranean community. They were Greek lovers. The Pharisees honored our traditions as Abraham’s people and commanded strict adherence to Jewish Law. Yet, without considering the consequences, Hyrcanus II asked Pompey with his legions for help. Pompey , ever the one to conquer more people and take more wealth, agreed. Hyrcanus won and he was established as High Priest. But Rome stayed and still stays to this day.

While speaking positively about our traditions and to some degree supporting them, Rome brought with them more western, pagan, civilization and undermined our traditions, our worship, and our country. We had peace, a peace forced by Rome but we were controlled, held down, and over taxed. Worst, the Pharisees were more concerned with their power than with true honor of the LORD. (1, see end thought)

Judas the Galilean in 6 A.D. came to show us a better way. In all the preceding decades peaceful ways had been tried, but they failed. Judas the Galilean commanded that we had to violently fight Rome. And so, those who were dedicated to anything and everything possible to restore freedom to our land, became known as the zealots. (2, see end thought)

We were not trying to offer some new interpretation of the Torah. We were willing to fight so that all which the Torah said would be done. We were going to root out all paganism. We fought to end all tyranny, especially Rome’s. Anyone who paid Roman taxes was a coward and supporting the enemies of God.

We had some successes against the Romans. Yet, we could never gain any major advantage over the military superiority of Rome.

Over time, I began to realize that many of my zealot brothers had lost their focus. The Torah and the LORD were not the focus. Violence and dealing with a hated enemy were their primary goals. I wanted a better way that would free our land, and would also make the laws of Moses the laws of all.

Then came Jesus of Nazareth. Some of us recognized him as the promised Messiah who would rescue Israel and re-establish the Davidic empire. He combined both the power of a Nazarite like Samson, and the connection with the laws of the Torah, like a prophet. (3, see end thought)

He had the power to heal the sick, cast out demons, and control nature. He could confound those power hungry fools, the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He had a natural and honest connection with the suffering people of Israel. He had a distaste for the leaders who spoke well about their love of God but who only were interested in themselves.

If anyone could accomplish what many zealots, myself included, wanted, it was Jesus. He had the power to deal with Rome and he would not need a large army. He had the wisdom to teach the Torah and it’s laws, so that people could understand and then keep them. (5, see end thought)

As my second year with Jesus came to close, I came to realize that Jesus had no concept of politics and what this country really needed. He kept speaking about the kingdom of God, faith in him, and repentance and the good news of forgiveness. Those things are all well and good. But if Rome is not dealt with first, all those good things will be stopped by Rome.

Rome does not want the kingdom of God. Rome wants power and taxes for their kingdom. If we attempt to establish the kingdom of God without dealing with Rome, they will just send more armies to hold us in bondage. Rome does not want faith in God. They want faith in their pagan god, the emperor. Rome does not want freedom from oppression. They want more oppression. Rome is happy if you want to forgive them, but be aware while they are shaking your hand to thank you for forgiveness, they are holding a sword in the other hand to kill you.

I knew what Jesus could do. I knew what Jesus had to do. Someone had to compel Jesus to act. I was going to force his power to come out. By defending himself against injustice, he would be forced to defend all of us against the injustice of Rome, their cancerous paganism, and against the entrenched power mongering of our own Pharisees and Sadducees. And, if I get some money to bring out Jesus’ good, that is nice too. I can use it for some things we need or maybe even to purchase some weapons for our fight against the Romans.

Still, as hard as I have tried, my efforts for the good of Israel, all that has been useless. Jesus has allowed himself to be taken captive when he should have fought. He has allowed those fools in the Sanhedrin to have their way, when he should have acted for the good of the people. Jesus is allowing himself to be crucified, by the Romans who he should have crushed. Another prophet dies at the hands of the people who should have embraced him. Another judge dies when the people should have rallied behind him. What a waste. (5, see end thought)

So, I will end my life too. What is the use of hungering for salvation, when the one who can save acts like another Judean sheep before the Roman wolves.

We are not sure if the above account correctly portrays Judas’ thinking, but it certainly is one option. I believe it is accurate to say that Judas wanted a Messiah, but he was looking for a worldly Messiah. I believe that it is accurate that Judas only had a concept of the law and the Torah, rather than listening about forgiveness and the gospel. Everything he heard from Jesus was filtered through his sinful nature and his nationalistic desires for Israel.

Jesus would bring about the freedom from enemies – sin, death, and the devil. He would bring about the establishment of the kingdom, the kingdom of the LORD, not of man. What a pity that Judas refused to recognize the true power of Jesus and the fulfillment of salvation.

(1) The zealots, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, all had similar goals. They just had different emphases. The Sadducees wanted to strengthen Israel by progressing into the modern world with religion plus secularism. The Pharisees wanted power and action on the basis of their view of the laws of the Torah. The zealots wanted their country to Jewish and the laws to be obey, but did not have the political aspirations of the Pharisees.

(2) Like many of his age, Judas was focused upon the law with a heavy emphasis on Moses and the Old Covenant. Sadly he missed the Gospel emphasis and forgiveness that Jesus was bringing to light and the New Covenant.

(3) When Jesus asked the disciples who others said that he, Jesus, was, it was clear that people had a few good ideas about Jesus. Yet their opinions fell short of the truth that he was the Messiah. I suspect that Judas’ concept fell far short of the truth of who Jesus was.

(4) Because of Judas great focus upon the laws of the Torah, politics and political freedom, he missed the greater truth of Jesus as Savior. While we certainly empathize with him, for we too like freedom, we also need to see the truths of righteousness that Jesus won for us.

(5) Judas sinful nature would encourage him to defend his cause and methods. Sadly, he missed the truths of the LORD for the sake of his nationalism.


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