June 11, 2013

Iscariot: A Novel of Judas

As I read this story I began to realize it was not just about Judas Iscariot, but about Jesus of Nazareth and his amazing love for us.

This book begins with Judas as a child, but the story really started for me when he encounters John the Baptist in chapter 8. After that I was engrossed in each page I turned.

Tosca Lee did a great job helping me emerge into the culture and time of Jesus. She also included tons of Scriptural stories which she brought to life and reminded me of who Jesus is and how much He loves us.

The New Testament is very clear that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus.

Pretty much every verse containing Judas's name is followed by, 'the betrayer,' 'the one who betrayed' or 'traitor.'

In Matt. 26:21 Jesus says:

"Now as they were eating, He said, "Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me."  

and in Matt. 26: 24 He says:

"The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born." 

Yet, when Judas came to give Jesus that fatal kiss...Jesus called him friend. (Matt. 26:50)

At first I was a little confused about this, but then I realized it wasn't about who Judas was (Jesus is clear about his fate) ...it's about who Jesus is.

Jesus never stopped being his friend, never stopped loving him. It grieved Him when Judas betrayed Him.

Though Judas betrayed Jesus, though the pharisee's handed Him over to the authorities, though Pontius Pilate gave Him over to the people and though the people cried out 'crucify him!' I think it's really important that we remember that Jesus life was not taken from him.

He layed it down.

Jesus says in John 10:17-18

"Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father." 
This is love.

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends."  John 15:13

Another thing that got me thinking while reading this book was from Luke 22:3, where it says Satan entered Judas. What led to this point in Judas's life that this could happen?

"Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve."

I racked my brain trying to figure out what it was that caused Judas to betray one of his closest friends, a friend he loved. Then it dawned on me.

Judas never fully surrendered to the Lord. He never fully trusted. He left himself open to his fears, his doubts and deception.

Tosca Lee's story gives us an idea of what may have led up to that fateful night. But we really don't know what led to that kiss of betrayal in the heart of Judas.

I do think he was no different then any of us.

When we don't fully surrender, we can leave ourselves open for the enemy to work.

One thing this book will do is make you think and as a christian it will remind you of how much we need the Lord.

Buy it HERE on Amazon


  1. This sounds like a good book from a perspective not usually given. And you did a wonderful job of collecting verses that add understanding to the story of Jesus. And it's an interesting question...what in Judas led to him turning to Satan instead of Jesus.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. your book reviews are always so interesting because you make them applicable to our lives. thank you friend.

  3. This sounds like such an interesting book! Would love for you to share it with us at Friendship Friday at

    Create With Joy

  4. Thanks ladies. I was a little leery of reading this book at first, but I'm glad I did. It was so interesting.

    My favorite parts were when Jesus interacted with people. Tosca made the historical scenes come alive. Kind of gave me an idea of what it was like to live then and follow this man who called Himself the Christ.

    I can see how the pharisees would think He was mad. The only way Jesus makes any sense is if He is who He said He was...the Son of God. And I believe He is. : )

  5. I always felt sorry for Judas, and secretly wished he had received forgiveness like Peter did when he wept bitterly. Judas was truely sorry and realized he had made a mistake because he tried to give back the money. I can see that a story about him would lead a person to Jesus. This was a lovely review of the book.

  6. I love Christian fiction, but haven't taken the time to read anything lately. Sounds like this one might be worth picking up. I can relate to Judas more than most are willing to admit. Although I pray I would never let it get that far, we all have struggles where we doubt, or try to conform Jesus to our own agenda. Thanks for sharing!

    Visiting from ChristianMommyBlogger

  7. What an interesting book Cathy. Your review really made me consider this subject in a new way. I would like to read this book. Thank you.

  8. Thanks for stopping by ladies!

    Hazel - The fact that Judas was remorseful for what he did really got me thinking too. I think that remorse and repentance may be two different things.

    Here is the Bible definition of the Greek words used in the New Testament for 'repentance' This helped me understand a bit better:

    There are three Greek words used in the New Testament to denote repentance.

    1. The verb _metamelomai_ is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matt. 27:3).

    2. Metanoeo, meaning to change one's mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge.

    3. This verb, with the cognate noun _metanoia_, is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.

    Evangelical repentance consists of a true sense of one's own guilt and sinfulness; an apprehension of God's mercy in Christ; an actual hatred of sin (Ps. 119:128; Job 42:5, 6; 2 Cor. 7:10) and turning from it to God; and a persistent endeavour after a holy life in a walking with God in the way of his commandments. The true penitent is conscious of guilt (Ps. 51:4, 9), of pollution (51:5, 7, 10), and of helplessness (51:11; 109:21, 22). Thus he apprehends himself to be just what God has always seen him to be and declares him to be. But repentance comprehends not only such a sense of sin, but also an apprehension of mercy, without which there can be no true repentance (Ps. 51:1; 130:4).

    Mommy, LCSW - To be honest I struggled as I read this book because I could relate also. I'm learning that doubt is not of God and that I need to fully trust Him.

  9. I agree on your findings that this book is also about the life of Jesus, His suffering out of His love for all of us. Even though the story centers on the betrayal of Judas, it clearly demonstrates and shows how great love can do everything for loved ones. A love that has no measure is the love of Jesus.

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  10. Sounds like a great story and a book that will give one much food for thought! Thanks.


Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. I try to respond to all of them by the end of the week. : )