“The Other Judas”

I have been told by several people how they hate their name and in some cases even use their middle name instead. Imagine the stigma of having the family name of BOOTH or OSWALD. When one member of a family becomes a serial killer, as in the Las Vegas
massacre, the family name often becomes tainted. Of course this is extremely unfair, but it does happen (2 Ki 14:6).

Possibly the most notorious name in history belonged to Judas Iscariot. The last name probably indicated the city of Kerioth in Judea. He was a thief (Jo 12:4-6) and a traitor (Lk 6:16). He carried the title of apostle, lived and traveled with Jesus and the other 11 apostles, witnessed the miracles and yet still betrayed his Lord. In fact, Jesus said of him, “It would be better for him if he had not been born.” He was finally seized with remorse and returned the payment of 30 silver coins to the temple and then hung himself.

What if your name was also Judas? Evidently this was a common name in Israel during the 1st Century. This is possibly why one of the other 12 apostles who was also called Judas (son of James), also went by the name of Thaddaeus (Mt 10:3).

It must have been unfortunate for anyone named Judas who had worked hard all their life to earn a good name. One who by love and faithfulness had, “…won favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” (Pr 3:3-4) A good name is more desirable than great riches (Pr 22:1), or fine perfume (Ecc 7:1). Many Hispanic babies are named Jesus, but I feel very bad for anyone named Judas.

Obviously one does not have to be named Judas to besmirch the family name. One can act like the original Judas no matter his name. How much better the choice of the other Judas (Thaddaeus) and remain faithful with a new name. All faithful Christians that overcome will get a new name in heaven (Rev 3:12) (Rev 2:17). We just don’t know what it will be, but any name given by Jesus will be wonderful.

—Jim Bailey