A character you've known forever that will newly break your heart
Posted April 23, 2013
I started reading Iscariot: A Novel of Judas, by Tosca Lee, very hesitantly to my dismay. I had just finished reading a book that was the first to surprise me with the ending in such a long time, that I was in a bit of a book-hangover. I've read Lee's previous works and I knew that I had to be all in when reading her novels, but I had waited for it's release for so long that I just couldn't wait anymore.
Iscariot is a bit of speculative spiritual fiction. I happen to like Lee's work so much because she stays completely true to what the Bible says and with lots of research attempts to read between the lines. I've heard and read the same stories over and over that sometimes they become monotonous; she challenges me to really think about what I'm reading...to consider what it would have been like to be that person, to live in that time, how the circumstances would have felt.
We start off reading about Judas's childhood. It broke my heart to read about the very realistic possible circumstances that formed the way Judas reacted to situations, the way he thought, the way he was raised, and the way he was effected by things. There was a certain sadness that I connected with. Little Judas broke my heart, and made me realize that we all are Judas. Most of us, if in his position probably would have made the same choice; many of us, I don't think would ever be brave enough to have been in his position at all.
The middle of the book felt more like a familiar friend, it's the part of the story we all know so well, this is where the lines are written a little bit closer together. It is where we have to keep reminding ourselves that Judas was the one Jesus called fried. It is where we have to remind ourselves how the story ends, and it made me feel sick to my stomach.
The end of the book I put off....for DAYS. I would read at a crawling pace and kept setting it down to do anything but accept how it was going to end. Sometimes we do things out of love that we really truly do with the best of intentions but they turn out not so good. Many times we are so close to a situation that we are overcome by the severity of it and we can't see the big picture, we are too overcome to hope. Is it possible that Judas thought he was doing what was best? Is it possible that any of us could have so easily been Judas? I think the answer is yes. think the end of Judas's story is quite sad, he had to have an intense love for Jesus to so whole-heartily follow Him. Did this love change? Was it fear, because that had to have been a pretty scary time? Was it supposed to be out of love, and that part is just burried? Tosca (I know I should say Lee, but it just feels too informal for her ok?) challenged me to consider Judas's story in an entirely knew way...even to the point of how he died.
I know that I have rambled on a lot here, but what it comes down to is that you really need to read this book. Let me warn you it will brake you. I finished it about two weeks ago and I still am trying to recover. I can't help but wonder how I would have been. I am left with so many questions, that in the same answer so many more. I mean seriously, someone else please read this so we can talk about it together?
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