So I was all ready to write this very interesting piece of the faith of Judas, and it all hinged on one fact:
Judas was a Zealot.
As I was typing, something was nagging at me about that, that little voice that appeared the day I got bit by misattributing a piece to Martin Luther King, Jr. when only half were his words. It regularly screams at me that I’m saying something that I believe to be true but can’t actually point to it being true.
So I Googled it. And come to find out, I can’t find an academic source that says Judas was a Zealot. I found a few pieces that say his last name (Iscariot) is possibly derived from sicarii, the Latin name for the radical Zealots who murdered their opposition. Take a look here for a discussion on it.
Monday morning, sitting at my computer, realizing that something was part of my sermon that I don’t actually know to be true, and I preached it as gospel. It wasn’t important – it was an illustration, and if I had said “he might have been a zealot,” the illustration was fine – but I almost feel sick knowing I made that mistake.
We all have those “facts” that stick with us, even if we have no idea where they came from. There are people who still believe that we swallow an average of eight spiders a year during their sleep even though it has been proven to be an intentional hoax, a hoax to point out that people will believe anything. There are people who believe vaccines cause autism and the Earth is flat.
And in this time of advertising masked as real content and fake news created to deceive*, forcing us to hear things that may or may not be true presented as gospel truth, we find ourselves with more of these “facts” that find permanent residence in our minds until we can find conclusive evidence to evict them.
We just need to be careful what we parrot as fact and use to argue our points. We need to not let pretty infographics and angry memes distract us from research. We need to be willing to learn and change what we “know” when the truth conflicts with our knowledge.
AND, if Judas was a zealot, he had the strongest faith of the 12. His understanding was very flawed, but he believed Jesus was the Messiah fully. Just because the Zealots misunderstood what end the sword salvation was coming from doesn’t mean he didn’t have faith.
Maybe, just maybe, if I can find an academic source to back up the claim, I’ll flush that out a bit more.
*Yes, I know this isn’t new, but the internet has given it new power.