Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Black Sheep of the Family (10/03/13)
TITLE: Forever Lost
By Marlene Bonney
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There he was—again! I should have known it by the mass of easily-duped multitudes traipsing over the countryside in his wake. I joined the throngs, for it was whispered that he would overthrow the present political powers, and I wanted to play a part in that.
I was disappointed when I first saw the man—he wasn’t even built for the role. He was even smallish, compared to the brawny, fishermen-types by his side. I recognized a couple of them, having been attracted to them along the shores of Galilee, so massive and bold and impressive in their muscular handling of overflowing, weighty nets. I had met Peter once in the marketplace and was drawn to his bellowing, rough-and-ready demeanor as he dealt with merchants trying to cheat him. Now THAT commanded my attention and respect! Perhaps that was it! Like some kings, the man was weak in physical prowess so he used stronger subjects to implement his plans. Sometimes anarchy began with the scholarly commanding the giants.
He stood on a grassy knoll while hundreds of us clamored to get closer. The cries, the shouts, the smells of the masses were overwhelming and I almost turned away, certain that there was too much chaos to hear him. Then, he raised his arms, compelling the crowd to silence. It was amazing how the very atmosphere changed in a matter of moments, people sitting themselves down as parents quieted their children, the painfully ill stifled their groaning—even a bevy of proud Pharisees standing aloof from the rest stopped their ridiculous chanting. Astounding!
He spoke then, and unbelievably, his words rang out as clear and loud as a morning dove in the quiet stillness of a waking dawn. It was only seconds before I was mesmerized by his radical ideas. This was no typical insurgent like Barabbas, a well-known rebel in political circles whom I had used in the past. The power and uncanny authority behind his words and his entire demeanor was magnetic. Later, as I observed his healing touches upon the sick, the infirm and the outcasts of society, I was convinced he must be a prophet of some kind—or the biggest trickster of all time. Either way, if such power could be unleashed in the right direction, he could become a powerful source to thwart our rulers. A kingdom to free the Jews from the likes of Pilate and Herod—such victory already tasted sweeter than honey in my mouth.
Eventually, I became one of the infamous twelve, a disciple of this Jesus. I could never quite figure him out, this would-be Messiah who could even command a storm to stop. The miracles, the parables, the dedication! But, most of all, the compassion behind it all puzzled and fascinated me at the same time.
I tried to give him advice about how we could capitalize and charge small fees for his services. After all, as manager of our meager eating and lodging expenses, I was entitled to do so. But, he would give me one of his piercing, searching looks that seemed to probe into my very soul and it would silence me. It soon became apparent that he was not interested in violence or an overthrow of our government. But I still thought we might be able to use him for such a purpose in more subtle ways.
My last meal with Jesus was the catalyst of my downfall, searing my conscience and sealing my fate as I admitted his imminent betrayal at my hands. But thirty pieces of silver would go a long way in advancing my cause, and I could not resist its allure. Alas, my grave mistake doomed any chance of that happening. I betrayed him with a kiss, this Jesus God-man giving me SUCH a penetrating look that I could never get it out of my deranging mind.
Like a coward, I took the easy way out and hung myself afterwards; but even that act will not erase my eternal damnation. During my last struggling breaths, I, Judas Iscariot, saw how I had lost my chance to really know Him.
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