This was the point of no return, they both knew it. They glanced at each other across the candle smoked room, holding the gaze for moments before being forced to look away. The others were too absorbed in the discussions on the upcoming fulfilment of the prophecies, to notice these slight looks.
Jesus was babbling again. He was obviously still very troubled by his part of the bargain and almost seemed as if he was searching for a way out as he discussed it with the rest of the disciples. They of course, were all clueless, completely missing the signs that the two of them had been laying down for some time now. Really, how much do you have to spell these things out for them? How many times had he told them about suffering at the hands of the High Priests, dying, and rising after three days. Ok, so that last point was embellishment on his behalf, maybe the pressure was wearing him down, sending him crazy, but he was consistently pointing them at the obvious.
Before entering Jerusalem he had told them that the purpose of the visit was for the Son of Man to be handed over, tried, and executed. There was little doubt that Jesus had decided on his need to die to make his point, and maybe it was a little prophetic that his own disciples were unable to pick up on this simple message that he constantly tried to force home. If he could not get his own disciples to understand about his death, he stood no chance of convincing the rest of the people that he was the Son of God and that they must all return to his father for forgiveness.
For Judas it had been obvious from the beginning. At first he had been sceptical of Jesus, observing from a distance as he slowly recruited people to become his disciples. It had occurred to Judas that these people were being carefully selected and groomed for a particular purpose, although he had been unable to identify the reasons. With each new recruit, Judas was more and more surprised by Jesusí choice of follower.
After a while he had concluded that maybe these people were just being chosen for their weakness and inability to argue against, or question anything their master would do. So it had come as a great surprise that night Jesus approached him, and asked him to follow.
It was well known that Judas was an acting Zealot. His ways of fighting the system would not sit well with the one they called the Messiah, but for some reason that Judas had not understood, Jesus singled him out. For another reason, that Judas also couldnít understand, he agreed.
It was later that the reason for his inclusion among the select became clear. Jesus needed someone with a strong character to perform an important task and none of the disciples we capable of fulfilling that assignment.
Unlike the moment of his recruitment, there was no surprise when Jesus approached him, outlining his master plan. The truth as Jesus explained, was that no amount of teachings or miracles would convince his fatherís children that they must return to him. Although it appeared that he was succeeding, amassing a small following, small was all that it was and Jesus became impatient as he felt himself struggle to get the message across.
Judas wasnít quite sure where the idea had come from. He suspected that Jesus had researched the scriptures well before he started out on his task of trying to change the world. There were so many details to back up any claims he made, so many places that it had already been written. Ok, some of them were a little tenuous, but Jesus did a fantastic job of driving his point home to make people believe the prophecies. Itís just that they had an inability to make the link with him.
From the first time Judas watched Jesus talk to a large group of people, command them with so much authority, hold them as he took them through the new teachings, he knew that although people believed in him, they believed in him and not what he was trying to take them to. Judas knew that martyrdom was the only thing these people would understand, the only true way of getting his message heard. It seemed to take Jesus a while to realise that he was going to have to revert to plan b after all.
Shortly after the disciples returned from their travels and the Baptist was killed at the hand of Herod, Jesus spoke with Judas, openly discussing the plan. Judas wasnít sure which of the two events had been the trigger, but from that moment on, he was left in no doubt of where Jesusí true intentions lay.
Jesus confirmed that the reason for Judasís recruitment was to help handle the situation should he have to action the plan. He was going to need someone strong to lean on and to help execute the final part of the plan. He knew that he would have second thoughts as the time neared, so it was imperative that he had someone reliable to help make the decision for him.
The rest of the disciples were there to spread the word in the present and the future, their utter faith and love for their master would completely stop them from being able to undertake such a bold movement. There was no way they would ever understand the importance of his intentions. These characteristics were important, just not for this job.
So, the two of them had slowly put everything in place, a large amount of meticulous planning had brought them to this very room, this very meal, and these very stares. Even the speeches and little rituals that Jesus performed for his men had been carefully worked on and choreographed to have the fullest affect. The room had been chosen in advance, a secluded spot in the garden at Gethsemane had been selected for the final act of this evening, and with Jesusí full knowledge and blessing, Judas had put the final parts of the plan in motion before entering this small room above Mary and Marks house. It only required Judas to make the final trade with the priests.
It therefore seemed a mystery to Judas as Jesus slightly deviated from the script. He seemed to be making jibes at Judas, taunting him to go and do it, as if Judas alone had orchestrated it. Maybe he was caught up in the whole show, or maybe it was his way of distracting himself from the reality that he was about to hand himself over to be killed. Either way, it was starting to make it harder for Judas to explain his actions to the rest of the Disciples. Judas was already going to have to live with himself for his part in the plan, but he had already spent a long time trying to resolve these issues.
As Jesus made one more comment about being betrayed and handed over, the decision was made for the both of them. The looked at each other for the final time, and at that moment, it was the point of no return, and they both knew it. Jesus made one final nod and Judas left the room, heading off into the night.