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November 16, 2018

Judas’ side of the story

Happy Easter Holiday
Happy Easter Holiday

I am riding my donkey to the bazaar. I have a date with Ziphathesh, daughter of Haankathimah the Gentile, who has a huge vineyard in the outskirts of the city. She's hot. And her eyebrows are not drawn. And the first woman to accept my advances after Hashireth, daughter of Um, broke up with me because of my unhealthy Sportpesa gambling addiction. Of course, it was only natural for her to get upset because I sold her camel to get money for placing a few bets, and perhaps I went a little bit too far when I stole and sold her brother's sheep for the very same purpose – but breaking up with me was a tad bit too harsh. I mean, did she even consider my feelings?

So, anyway, my donkey is prodding along under the hot Middle East sun when I hear someone shouting my name. I look back. It's Joachim the chief priest, rushing towards me.

"Judas! Judas! Iscariot!" Joachim calls, panting, sweating, heaving.

I stop my donkey.

"Hey, Joachim. What's up?" I ask.

"Nothing much," he says. "Just wondering if you have a moment. I'd like to talk to you."

He has stopped panting.

"What about?"

"Jesus."

I sigh.

"What is the rumour this time around?"

Joachim tells me he hasn't stopped me for gossip. He explains that he would like me to betray Jesus, deliver him to the Roman soldiers.

I shake my head.

"Jesus is my guy. We're bros. We come from way back. I cannot do that to him, man," I tell him.

"Come on, Judas. Please."

"I'm not that kind of guy, Jo."

"We'll pay you."

"I've told you, man, I cannot betr...how much are you talking about?"

"Thirty pieces of silver."

I become interested in the proposal. Thirty pieces of silver isn't a bad amount, considering I have Simon Peter's debt, which he won't stop asking me about. Plus, I have a new girlfriend now, and it would be nice if I buy her new robes and sandals. And maybe a small, alabaster jar of myrr. Or a power bank.

"Add a little something, Jo. Make it 50," I negotiate.

"50?! Are you crazy, Judas? That's a ridiculous amount!"

"Look, I'm betraying Jesus here. Jesus. And I'm against violence, but I'm about to stab him in the back. He's like my best friend, even though I share him with 11 other guys. So make it 50."

"This is extortion!"

"Take it or leave it."

"Okay. Fine. We'll pay you 30 as the down payment, then after we have him, we can MPESA you the balance."

"Sounds okay."

Jesus is organising a special supper for all of us that's really important to him, so we decide that I'll sell him out immediately after the supper. The soldiers will be waiting.

Joachim then tells me that since the Roman soldiers have never seen Jesus, I should kiss him, to identify him, and to prevent them from arresting the wrong person.

"Kiss him? Are you serious, Joachim?"

"Yes."

"I'm not comfortable with that, man. I mean, I am a very reserved person. I don't exactly support public displays of affection."

"But how else would the soldiers identify him, Judas?"

"I can take a selfie with him then post it on Instagram and tag him."

"I don't know, Judas. He'll suspect."

"Who?"

"Jesus. You will have to kiss him. Peck him. On the cheek."

I think about it. A quick peck on the cheek doesn't sound so bad.

So it's the evening of the crucial supper and we are all gathered at the table. I'm feeling nervous and guilty. My palms won't stop sweating. The Roman soldiers, in their leather skirts, metal breast plates and swords, are waiting outside. They are hiding somewhere.

"Where's the wine and bread, Peter? John?" Jesus asks.

Peter and John look at each other questioningly.

"Well?" Jesus asks.

"I thought John..." Peter starts.

"YOU were supposed to buy them," John cuts in.

"Wait. You didn't get them?" Jesus asks, sounding agitated.

Silence. They glare at each other accusingly.

"The bread and wine is extremely important!" Jesus says. "I was planning to do some significant things with them. You had one job, you two. ONE JOB."

Christ is livid. Peter guiltily stares ahead. John nervously twiddles with his thumb. An awkward silence befalls us.

"Lord," Thomas says. "I can go buy th..."

"It's already late, Tom!" Jesus says angrily. "Shops are closed. Everyone is at home celebrating Passover."

The lack of bread and wine has ruined the supper. Jesus suggests we cancel the whole thing and plan another next week. He says he will get the wine and bread himself. He is disappointed.

He leaves through the backdoor.

I feel a little bit relieved.

We are left at the table staring at each other awkwardly.

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