Are you grateful for Judas Iscariot?

Ah. I love my bible study group. I love meeting with them. They are such great people who are always ready to hear me out, to listen to my doubts, and share that they too, sometimes wonder. It’s good to know that we are all in this search together.

We are studying gratitude in our Bible study group, and this week the focus was on Jonah 3-4. I didn’t really know much of the story around Jonah; I had heard something about a whale. Jonah 3-4 shows, among other things, Jonah’s discontent at being God’s prophet, his lack of appreciation of life, and his anger at God for forgiving others.

Jonah is angry with God for being merciful and forgiving; he doesn’t want God to forgive others. He wants God to be fair.

I think the book of Jonah carries some undertones about judgement. Who is Jonah to pass judgement unto others and seek revenge? When someone hurts you, is it really you’ve they hurt or is it God, whose work you are, that they’ve hurt?

It reminded me of Judas Iscariot. As my Pastor put it, Judas is the punching bag of Christianity. It is so easy to dislike him; but it is so important to feel compassion for him. To pray for him. What a terrible burden it is to carry that your folly cost the life of the saviour! It’s saddening that we can forgive someone who denied Jesus not once, but three times; but not one who revealed his location…! It is saddening that he is forgotten as a disciple and remembered only as a betrayer.

Judas was hand-picked by Jesus himself, just as the other disciples. He was part of God’s plan. Jesus never showed him disdain, so why should we? If the death of Jesus is so important to our salvation, so is Judas’ betrayal. So the question begs, are you grateful for him? Are you grateful for his betrayal? Are you grateful that someone did the dirty work for you?