The garden was unusually dark and silent that night. It seemed as if the sky was brooding and all the vegetation were in expectation. We had been there before but it had never appeared this way. Our Lord had gone off to be by himself, to pray in solitude and we had fallen asleep. He reprimanded us. Told us to pray for strength so that we would not be overcome by temptation but we didn’t heed his advice.
Then the night suddenly grew more somber, more silent. A dark, claw-like cloud extended its gnarled fingers across the full moon, and the very wind that had been softly rustling leaves suddenly grew still. There was a movement of foliage in the profound darkness, then Judas appeared from amidst the shadows, accompanied by Roman guards and servants of the High Priest. The others drew back in fear, but I stood by my Lord with my hand on my sword. struck out blindly and severed the ear of the servant of the High Priest. My Lord reprimanded me and healed him.
Then Judas identified him with a kiss for thirty pieces of silver, and our Lord was arrested and taken away to the Sanhedrin to be judged in a mock trial.
The rest of the Apostles and disciples immediately fled in panic. I had struck out with my sword but they ignored me as if I had been invisible. Now I alone followed and waited outside in the courtyard, warming myself by a fire, trying to conceal who I really was, lest I be arrested as well.
The others had abandoned him, but I never would. I had assured him of it during our last celebration of Passover, after he had told us that the shepherd would be struck, and his sheep would be scattered.
I had objected profusely. Had promised never to betray him although all the others might. Yet he insisted that I would, but I had not believed him. Now more than ever I was convinced that he’d been wrong. Had I not been the only one to resist his arrest? Had I not risked death and imprisonment along with him moments before? Had I not proven that his opinion of my devotion was untrue.
His words had hurt me deeply and I needed more than all the others to prove him wrong. To prove that even though the others would abandon him, I never would, and so I went and sat outside into courtyard waiting for my Lord to appear so he could see me there and know that he had been wrong. Yet, I tried to conceal myself in the shadows not exposing my face to the direct light of the fire. Why did I not reveal myself plainly? I leaned forward to warm my hands, and a young man who seemed to appear from nowhere and who had seen me with my Lord recognized me.
“Say! I remember you! You are one of the twelve! He is one of the twelve! I have seen him with The Nazarene many times!” The others around the fire cautiously approached me with torches to get a better look. There was shouting from the Sanhedrin.
“You are right! He is one of that impostor’s disciples! Let’s hand him over to the Romans!” the man said, flashing a crooked, wicked smile.
Their growing commotion was beginning to catch the attention of two guards stationed by the Sanhedrin entrance. They had begun to glance over suspiciously and murmur to one another, gesturing with their swords in my direction. In a matter of moments they could arrest me.
Others would testify that I had been the one who wounded the servant of the High Priest. I would be handed over to the Romans as my Lord had been. Images from memories of what the Romans were capable of doing to prisoners began to assail my mind. The way they barb-whipped a person almost to bare bone. The way they mercilessly pounded the nails into human flesh so that the person agonized for hours as the bones scraped on iron.
“I don’t know him!” I heard myself almost shout with a fearful voice.
“But we saw you!” an extremely old, gaunt woman with no teeth and missing an eye shouted.
“I said I don’t know him!” I heard myself add a few curses in order to convince them that I was telling the truth.
“But he is one of them! I saw you with him with the Nazarene in Galilee. He certainly is one of them!” a dwarf with a misshapen face said as he prodded my hood aside with a stick.
“I said I don’t know that man!” I heard myself say once more and a rooster crowed three times just as my Lord had foretold. I remembered my Lord’s words.
"Before a cock crows you will have betrayed me three times!”
As if in a daze I rose to my feet to leave and came face to face with my Lord being taken to be judged by Pilate. His face was swollen from the many blows he’d received, was glistening with spittle, and his garments were stained with blood. He stumbled as they pushed him along. Then he gazed upon me with compassion, and I fled. I fled as I had never fled before. Through the dark, narrow streets of Jerusalem-with no destination, stumbling and reeling in an anguish that was tearing me apart, with a sorrow and remorse beyond any consolation. I wept bitter tears of remorse. Then I saw the others, they greeted me, but I fled from their presence.
I was unfit to be among them. I was no longer an Apostle. I was a spiritual leper that would contaminate them with my very presence, for I had betrayed my Lord the Son of God. But I would be forgiven, I would be restored, and have no cause to weep anymore.