Judas in despair

The remaining hints to what really happened to Jesus in Jerusalem are largely from the Gospel of the Seventy, put together by the grandson of the Apostle Paul in Athens in the third century, when seventy witnesses to our Savior's last days happened to the city at the same time.

Jesus was hounded by agents of the Romans and the vile family of Herod all the time he was in Jerusalem. When he went to the temple, men with bows and arrows tried to shoot him, and he left, not wishing to harm the innocent moneychangers plying their trade there. When he went to the Olive Garden to pray, armored villains set the garden aflame and then blocked all the exits; but Jesus stayed in the inferno, praying, and was not harmed. When his disciples went out to buy food, no merchant dared to sell them any, for agents of Salome had said the first to do so would join the Baptist at the main gate. When Jesus heard of this, he went to the merchants and said: "Money is not more worthy than a man's life. You have chosen well to protect yourselves and your families, losing only the custom of a few uncouth fishermen and their weird hairy teacher."

The disciples were appalled by this; but the chief merchant fell to his knees, crying, and clutched Jesus's robe, and said: "Truly you are a fisher of men, as they say, and a holy man beyond all we have heard of you. Permit us to give you the food you require for free; thus we do not break the law of the wicked, and do not escape helping those most in need."

And it was done so; and the chief merchant, Atrabas, gave away his business to the other merchants, forsook his wife and daughter, gave away his clothes save two rough robes of roughly spun cloth; and became one of the followers of Jesus. He drove his people out of his house, and invited Jesus and his followers in; and he said: "My house is a small place, modest and squalid, with a hall not to be boasted of, and only a few fountains and some inexpensive local statues and bas-reliefs; but I would be honored if the teacher would stay here."

Jesus then came to the house, and said: "I am not for long for this earth, but for the time that is left for me, I shall stay in this house that a righteous man has provided for us."

Judas then spoke. "Teacher, what of the family of the chief merchant, that are crying and cursing on the street, dispossessed of home and property?"

The other disciples were swayed by this, but Jesus comforted them, saying: "Say no more he is the chief merchant; for now he is a merchant for the souls of men. Say nothing more of homes and property; for the good of their souls should concern them more than the dirty needs of their bodies. And worry no more of other people, for there is naught save the dialogue of man with his maker; if that should fail, what else is worthy?"

The disciples were comforted by this, and began preparing a feast for the Passover; but Judas Iscariot alone went away, and visited a wine-den, and a woman of ill-repute, and a man of considerably more ill repute; and in his heart abandoned Jesus and him of whom Jesus was a part and an emissary. Because he had given in to doubt, he did not see the family of the former chief merchant come to Jesus; and he did not see them embrace his teachings and cast away their jewelry and the expensive clothing they were wearing at the moment of their eviction; and not seeing this, Judas was lost.

Thus Judas went to the Sanhedrin, the Jewish council of law, and offered to lead Jesus to them, or them to Jesus; but they said they would not turn against one of their own as long as their land was occupied. He then went to the Roman garrison, but the guards of Pilate mocked him and made uncouth gestures and showed their privates at him, and were not interested about Jesus. Also they were drunk, unshaven and cursed a lot. Then he went to the palace of Herod Antipas, and threw himself at the feet of the tetrarch, and offered to lead his soldiers to Jesus if he was reimbursed for his betrayal. Herod Antipas was deaf to these pleas, and being deaf, quickly lost interest in the unkempt-looking provincial and had him driven away with blows and spears.

Thus Judas was sitting in a wine-den once again, crying and shaking his fist against god, Jesus and the whole wide world, when a visitor came to him.

"You would betray the teacher", the visitor said; and Judas flinched to hear it said so bluntly.

"I would sooner betray my teacher than my principles", he stammered.

"Your principles", the stranger said, "are those of a chicken thief, a cutpurse, an extortionist, a perjurer, a maker of false oaths and a seller of snakes' oils and false potions."

Judas cried then: "Be you god himself? Away from me, you who know all of my crimes --- I have repented, and the teacher has said I am forgiven; but can a man change his stripes, of a tiger his manners? I am lawless and untrue. You have seen me true."

"Truly I have divined your true nature well", the stranger said, and sat down, and removed her hood: and Judas Iscariot was enchanted by the evil beauty that was Salome, incestuous daughter of Herod Antipas, a harbinger of mathematicians and sorcerers, and a woman often accused of too much fondness for blood.

last updated: (Mar 14 2011)