‘Only By Grace’
a series of reflections for Easter in the form of monologues by Judas Iscariot
This series of reflections take a different stance on grace than you may have experienced previously – this is grace through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. Written as a dramatic presentation, these posts during holy week 2017 are adapted from the original script. If you are joining part way through the journey, do head back to the introduction before continuing with the actual monologues.
PART 5 – DISTURBED BY GRACE
It was the first day of the Passover Festival, Some of the other disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He told them to make preparations at a house in the city. We gathered in an upper room and shared the Sedar meal. We told the story of how our ancestors had escaped slavery in Egypt. I grew more impatient for our own release from bondage.
Jesus got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. He poured water into a basin and began to wash our feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
I was disturbed by this act of grace, making himself like a servant but that was only the beginning of a conversation that searched my very soul. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”
Not every one of you? Those words echoed in my mind…as if that wasn’t enough – while we were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will hand me over.” I said “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” “You have said so.” You have said so? Did he know? What did he know? I don’t even know if I had already chosen to go…
Then, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to us, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to us, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Only a man on the verge of revolt would claim such heresies but the others were blind to it… why not his kingdom on earth now? The grave can better wait than we… the air grows dark, time trembles in my heart. I besought them wearily and found my thought must be to act without their aid.
I was one of the 12 but having taken an oath they were as guilty as me and our shame is shared also. They could have done something to bring in the kingdom but they didn’t get it, they didn’t understand the gravitas of what the kingdom was going to be.
After the meal I went out, to clear my thoughts, to empty the echoes from my mind… but the darkness of the night drew close and my mind did fill with thoughts I know not the origin of.
If I were Christ! Or that the power he holds were given to me for just one short hour! I would move his work more rapidly and widely, since the time cries out for it and misery sits wringing her hands at poor men’s doors.
The people oppressed by priests and Pharisees and scribes grievouosly hate them and desert their teaching to follow Jesus, yet he slowly walks in dangerous places where he may be stoned, scourged, imprisoned or slain. Meekly he pursues his way, with martyrdom always by our side, sitting on our bed and smiling on our hunger. I look for an escape so I do not grow old on houseless journeys being jeered and scoffed at till my white beard touch close to the grave.
All the signs are of a season ripe for change, greater than man ever dreamed of! Tis time, tis time, the earth itself calls to me to overthrow and scatter the old thrones, temples, synagogues, halls of justice and schools of ignorant scribes and palaces of pharisaic pride.
His kingdom will come but perhaps he lacks the vehement kingly will to see it in? why does he wait? Would he be seized – condemned to death, set on a brink and all his plans for man endangered, then he may draw violent lightning from him.
What then, If this were brought about?