A Maundy Thursday reflection on the Passion, from the perspective of Judas.
Scene: it’s very late on Thursday night and Jesus’ followers have gathered together in grief, anger, and confusion at his arrest just a few hours before. Into their midst stumbles a man dressed in a rumpled blue business suit. His eyes are read and he appears out of sorts. He makes his way to the front of the room and sits on a chair facing the audience. He waits for several moments before speaking, first staring out the window and then into the eyes of the people in front of him. Finally, he begins to speak…
Did you know Judas is a very popular name? In Hebrew, Judas means “the praised one.” Did you know that? Many people name their boys Judas…
That may change.
Why are you here? (sardonically) He’s not coming.
The Romans have him. (Judas gestures, as if to say, “finish the sentence for yourselves.”)
I gave them to him…It was me…the Centurians didn’t have a clue what he looked like…I heard some of them talking; some of them had heard of him. They’d heard he’d used mud to cure blindness. Shit…(looking away half-amused).
I had to point him out…Wanna know how I did it? I gave him a kiss…on the cheek (pointing to his own cheek).
Don’t look at me like that…you knew how this was gonna go. What did you think was gonna happen?
He rode an ass down the middle of street the same day as Pilate and his cavalry rode into town on the other side of the city. C’mon!
You play a man’s game you’re gonna pay a man’s price.
You knew how this was going to go. We all did…He did.
Tonight though……I can’t imagine he predicted what he’s getting now. (there’s a glimpse of the beginning of a change in Judas’ demeanor)
I know. You want someone to blame. You want to blame me. You want to blame the Jews, the Romans, the 12, his mother…
Look in the mirror.
Oh, that reminds me. These…(Judas pulls out the bag of silver pieces and considers them thoughtfully)…we should share these. You and me. (gesturing with his finger to himself and the audience)
I think he wanted me to do this. I really do. Prophecy (sarcastically looking up at the ceiling as if addressing the prophets).
Do you know he dipped his bread in my cup? Yeah, at dinner tonight, he was going on and on about the end of the world, blah, blah, blah (or using his hands to express the thought). And then he took a piece of bread and he dipped it in my bowl. And he looked at me…
I don’t know.
But you wanna know why I did it. You wanna know how this could happen.
Why are you here? (as if he’d already asked before)
You should have seen his disciples in the park tonight. Pathetic. Half of ‘em were asleep when we got there. They were all drunk. We were all drunk.
But him…He looked like hell. I’d seem him like that before…after he’d disappeared in the desert. He came back mumbling about…who knows what…he had some peculiar thoughts about things…That’s for sure.
Anyway, he looked at me tonight…with eyes…like he….was relieved (considering the word). He called me “friend.” He said “do what you’ve come here to do.” (shakes his head in disbelief).
We had a moment. I don’t know who it was; it was dark. It could’ve been Peter. It could have been my brother. Anyway, someone pulled out a knife. Idiot. That got some of the Romans interested but not very. I could hear some of the soldiers laughing, daring them to do something. Nothing happened. He told him to put the blade away.
And then that was it. It was over just like that. The head Centurian put two guards on him but he wasn’t going anywhere and, we….I mean they…half of them slipped off through the trees before it was over.
Judgement day….the end of things….out like a candle….
Why are you here?
They’re gonna kill him…and then they’re gonna kill you.
There’s no trumpet. There’s no chariot. Just dogs….dogs and bones…
I am guilty. And you are too (pointing at a member of the audience). You wanna find someone guilty? Throw a rock in the air and watch where it comes down. We are all set to rot.
Not him….not him…
They wouldn’t take these back (looking at the bag of silver pieces). You wanna share ‘em? (He dumps them out on the ground in front of him, making a clatter as they hit the ground).
I gotta go. To my own place…(he pauses for a moment, looks at the audience, and then then back out the same window where he looked out before. He then leaves out the side door).
Be careful what you name your sons.
Written and performed by Thomas Trimble