What if Judas Iscariot had a change of heart and refused to betray Jesus? Who among the other 11 disciples is the most likely candidate that will end up as the traitor?
Simon The Zealot
Basing on biblical account, very little is known about Simon. The tagline of his name suggests that he is a loyal follower of Jesus and in any religion he may have affiliated with. History indicates that zealots are fierce and loyal followers. They are capable of enduring all sorts of hardships and physical torment. They are often haters of tax collectors, rule-breakers, heretics and anyone who displays unfairness or impartiality. But Like most of the other disciples, he abandoned Jesus on the night of his arrest. He got scared, which could make him a traitor… possibly.
He continued to preach even after Jesus’ ascension to heaven which suggests great loyalty. In terms of financial inclination, he shows signs of being calculative about money matters – it was him who suggested that it would take more than 8 months of wages in order to feed a multitude of 5,000 people in one of their evangelical trips He ushered another disciple, Bartholomew into apostleship, who was known to be a skeptic disciple in terms of Christ’s godly capabilities. He was a skeptic and very keen about money matters, this could indicate he could be swayed away from faith under duress, and be the ally of Jesus’ enemies.
James The Less
Like Simon the Zealot, this other James (the other one being the brother of John the Beloved) is one of the “not so popular disciples.” Some scholars believe that the “less” as a suffix does not only mean he is lesser to John’s brother but that he is actually a man of small stature. But being a little guy doesn’t really indicate a non-threatening persona, you can be small but terrible, so the saying goes. Very small details are present in the bible that could describe this James which could prove his moves are quite stealthy and unnoticeable, this makes him an ideal suspect for treachery, don’t you think?
Biblical text indicates that he is skeptical. Could that be an indication of a traitor in the making? What’s so interesting about him is that he is a figure of mystery. Many Bible researchers agree that Nathanael is the other name of Bartholomew though some disagree and that the two of them are different persons. He is believed to be a close friend of Phillip’s as they joined Christ’s group together, He has another name, which could be another identity. Was he a spy of the enemy? A double-agent tasked to aid the Messiah’s downfall?
“We have found the Messiah,” that was what he told his brother Peter after his first encounter with Jesus Christ. He brought him along with other individuals so they will become Jesus’ disciples. As the patron saint of Russia, Greece and Scotland, a symbol of two crossed fish is attributed to Andrew, because he was formerly a fisherman. As a brother to Peter, he was one of the most prominent followers. Circumstances placed him in a position where it would have been easy for him to become jealous and resentful. When placed in such a setting, anyone could turn his back on his closest friends, and change sides into the enemies domain.
He came from a place called Galilee which raised people that are often described as, “Ones who were ever fond of innovation and by nature disposed to change and delighted in sedition.” They were ever ready to follow the leader and to begin an insurrection. They were quick in temper and given to quarreling and they were very chivalrous men.” He was a member of the Inner Circle and authored the two New Testament epistles which bear his name. But the problem with him was he ended up a coward. Could he have betrayed Jesus when he was approached by the enemy with the promise of power of money?
By nature, he was truly skeptical, and a pessimist. He was a man who could not believe something until he he sees it. It is written in the Bible that unless he sees the nailprints in Jesus’ hand and the gash of the spear in His side, he will not believe the resurrection. That’s why he became known as “Doubting Thomas.” When Jesus rose, he came back and invited Thomas to put his finger in the nail prints in his hands. By this very fact, we can somehow think Thomas’ faith requires an intense form of convincing, which could make us think too, that he could be easily lured in to the enemies premises.
We know him as the ‘Beloved Disciple.’ As a member of the Inner Circle, he was the one closest to Jesus Christ. So how could he possibly end up as a traitor? We could rule out 2 reasons: jealousy and ambition. He was undoubtedly Christ’s most trusted agent, but wasn’t often the spokesperson of the band, it was Peter. Tradition speaks of John as one who came from a successful fishing business, which makes him used to being placed on authoritative positions. Upon experiencing great failure, could he turn to the dark side so he can rise again to power? His symbol as a saint is a chalice with a snake. What indication could that declare?
James The Elder
As a biological brother of John, he was also a member of the Inner Circle. As such, they were given special privileges. He was a man of courage and forgiveness, a man without jealousy. Living in the shadow of John, he was known to be a man of extraordinary faith. If that’s the case, then he is by default a true heir of God’s bloodline, denoting faithfulness and obedience. The New Testament tells us very little about James. Could he have engineered it as such so he can be a truly effective tool for the enemy?
The apostolic symbol of Matthew is three money bags which reminds us that he was a tax collector before Jesus called him. Unlike the other disciples, who were mostly fishermen, he was an “office guy.” He could use a pen, and by his pen and intellect, he can easily manipulate facts and people. In the minds of many honest, Jewish people, these tax collectors were regarded as lawbreakers. In New Testament times they were classified with harlots and sinners. And because he was a tax collector, can we rule out the possibility that he is the most financially greedy among all the disciples?
In a different way, he was interested in making Christ known to the world. Not as an underdog savior, but as a prominent ruling King. What’s so intriguing about him is that he is called “Trinomious” which means “a man with three names.” He had 2 other names matter of factly: Lebbeus, and Jude, which is actually pronounced very similarly to “Judas.” Clearly, Thaddeus is the most mysterious among all the 12 Disciples. Was he the most humble among all of them? Or was he there to simply take over the role of Judas should the latter renounce his crucial task?
Who among them should be ranked as No. 1?