Too Long; Didn't Read
On the last day of the month Adar, as I remember, we left the young man Tobias behind us: and about three or four days afterwards, to wit on the third or fourth day of the month Nisan (which is the month of the Passover), we came down to the valley of Jordan over against Jericho. Now therefore there wanted but ten days to the fourteenth day of the month, which is the great day of the Passover. As the time drew nigh for our entering into Jerusalem, Judas began to complain very bitterly that Jesus neither strengthened nor encouraged his followers like a wise leader, but kept back some from following, and others, which followed, he made to be of a faint heart. Especially he reproached Jesus for that he did not set forth the Kingdom in clear words; “For,” said he, “two or three words would suffice, if Jesus would but tell us plainly the when and the where thereof; but now he speaketh darkly, saying at one time, that it is at hand; at another time, that it is among us; anon, that it is still distant; then, that we must strive to enter into it. Wherefore, to what is this Kingdom of God like? Even to a mist, which taketh many different shapes, because it hath no substance.”
Now Jesus seemed to me to perceive what was in the [pg 300]mind of Judas, and to be grieved thereat; but he took no note thereof in our presence, although Judas had been these many days turning his heart from our Master and inclining himself to leave him. For indeed he had by this time begun to repent that he had ever joined himself to Jesus. Notwithstanding even now, at certain seasons, while Jesus was speaking, Judas was drawn towards him as in old times; but, as it were, perforce, and in spite of himself. Hence it came to pass that he was sorely distracted in his mind, being tossed now this way, now that, like unto a troubled sea. For sometimes, upon no apparent cause, he would break out into protestations of love for Jesus; but at other times, when he thought no one was at hand (yea, and even in our hearing when the passion was on him) he would rage and fume that he had ever left Kerioth for to join such a leader as this, declaring that Jesus would ruin all them that followed him, and saying that he could well-nigh hate him as a blind leader of the blind.
Oftentimes hath it been marvelled how it should come to pass that Jesus should have chosen Judas to be one of his apostles; for he knew what was in men. Why therefore did our Master choose for an apostle one that should afterwards betray him? But the answer which Quartus giveth is this, that, at the first, perchance Jesus did not know that Judas would betray him; yea, and had not Judas hardened himself against Jesus, he might have become a chosen vessel of the Lord.
For, at the first, Judas was no traitor, nor like unto one that should be a traitor; but of a sanguine complexion and disposition, cheerful even to mirthfulness, and frank on a first acquaintance; not given to [pg 301]musing nor premeditating; but active and strenuous, and withal a lover of Israel: albeit perchance somewhat too ambitious and less ready in friendship than in counsel. From a child his mind was ever given to great purposes; and towards these ends he bent all his faculties: for he was of a deep understanding, skilled in the ways of men, and of a discerning spirit, quick to perceive what means were fit to accomplish his ends. But the mischief was that the power to understand was quicker in him than the power to love; for his understanding moved as a flame of fire, but his heart was very cold.