The account of the meeting of Jesus and Judas from The Flight of the Feathered Serpent is, to me, one of the most beautiful part of that book, supposedly written by the Judas himself. The depth that it contains is profound. To give a context to the excerpt that now follows, Judas was a student of Nicodemus for many years, but after the latter have met Jesus he understood that he is not in the know, and that it would be better for Judas to study with Jesus. After Nicodemus told that to Judas, together they went to find him:
“We went together, in silence, in the direction of the temple. And in arriving to the patio, it wasn’t difficult to find the Rabbi Nazarene. Multitudes were surrounding him, and amongst them were also some Pharisees.
The silence we found was full of threats.
Many of the multitudes opened the way so that my Rabbi Nicodemus could come forward, since everyone knew him and esteemed him as a man of virtue and knowledge.
And I saw the Rabbi Nazarene.
He laid his eyes on us in silence. And in them shone a strange glow, but his face was serene and strong, and when he looked at me, I thought I noticed a special message which his soul was sending me, and I felt that in such a look, he was greeting me with a welcome like one given only by someone who has been separated for a long time from the being he loves.
There was happiness in my heart, but my thoughts remained disturbed. I knew in an instant that soon this strange man would be my Rabbi and that I would also sit at his feet to drink from his words. Then I felt an acute pain in the heart, for this meant that I would have to leave my Rabbi Nicodemus to go after this strange prophet who came from the far Galilee, from where nothing good could come.
There was even more anguish in my heart. An hour ago my Rabbi had left me like an abandoned child to its own darkness, I had lost the thread I thought to find at his feet. And behold that the Nazarene was giving me a silent welcome, and for an instant, I thought I was going to get lost in him and with him.
It was only one look, but it showed me a destiny that expanded in a strange way, impossible to describe in words. I had the intuition of a destiny that did not run length wise, neither height wise nor width wise, but that it made out of these three measurements a different measurement in which all the others were. And it was a strange world in which I felt lost.
Since, for an instant, it wasn’t me but the Rabbi who was looking at me, and I felt fear and my heart was disturbed, and then I became myself again and I looked at him. He also looked at me, and this time his soul smiled within me and I felt lost.
It was a strange experience that morning.
I turned my eyes towards my Rabbi Nicodemus to implore his help, but he had already gone away from me, he was listening to someone who was explaining to him the incident of the moment. However, I would have sworn that we had all been living in that place for centuries.
“Answer then” said a Pharisee to the Nazarene.
My eyes remained fixed on the strange Rabbi, I saw him drawing a circle on the ground with the tip of his toes, and in it he encircled the woman that was next to him and whom I had not yet noticed. The woman was suffering from shame, but the circle that the Rabbi had traced on the ground encircled her too. And even now I would swear that no-one would have been able to penetrate it.
The environment was tense, full of threats. And I was getting ready to defend the Nazarene because I heard behind my back words of impatience and wickedness, and he calmed me with his serene look and in the same way that an instant earlier he agitated my heart, now he was calming it. I remained still, in peace, waiting.
[…After the situation got resolved, Jesus says to Judas]
“Welcome Judas of Kariot. Come near me.”
And I went nearer with fear, but the Rabbi took my hand and made me go into the circle, which he had drawn with his foot on the ground, and I calmed down.
“Rabbi, how do you know my name?” I asked.
“We are all brothers and sons of the same Father for his longing is ours” he answered. “Why then shouldn’t I know you?”
Both of us remained silent. He was looking at my eyes and I was looking at his, and more and more I was feeling this man in me and myself in him, but I couldn’t quite explain it to myself nor understand it.
“Don’t worry for now Judas” he said to me. “The day will arrive when you will understand why you now feel it, even when the passage from the flame to the light is arduous.”
“Are you coming with me Judas?” he asked me as he began to walk.
And I followed him. I did not know then, but since that day I always walked with him, from generation to generation, because our destiny was already devised since the beginning of time.
Many unusual things he said to me, but everything in its own time. For man’s soul rises, spreading his wings little by little, as the light expands in darkness.
“When a man is hungry he can turn stones into bread” he said to me. “But I have a bread which will satiate all hunger and a water which will quench all thirst. And he who wants to eat, behold that I give it, and to whom wants to drink, behold that I say: Drink, because even in the stones you will find the Word of God.”
“I want your water and your bread, Rabbi,” I said without being able to contain myself.
“I know” he answered me.
“Who are you Rabbi? Only a man of the true Heaven can say and do the things you say and do. Is there no fear of God in your heart?”
“No, Judas, there is no fear in my heart. My Father who is in Heaven is the only God, and his blessing is of love. He who loves me will love HIM, and HE will love him in me. I did not come to abrogate the law or the prophets, but to give them fulfillment. Fear only lives in the uncertain heart and man in this way clouds his understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven. However, it is necessary that it is this way at the beginning until man learns to see the light of his own heart and listens to the voice of his love. That is why I say that the Father who is in Heaven wants mercy and not sacrifice. What is a merciful heart but a heart poor in self-esteem, longing for the love of God?”
I had very few opportunities to talk to him alone since that time.
He went here and he went there, and wherever he went, a multitude always gathered around him, talking in parables and announcing the Kingdom of Heaven. And with the rest of the men impure like me, who followed him like disciples, he spoke to behind closed doors, and they left with their faces lit or very thoughtful. But when I wanted to talk to them about the words and deeds of their Rabbi, everyone kept a prudent silence.
One day the Rabbi said to me: “Are you coming with me Judas?”
“Rabbi” I said, “my heart is in you, but I feel greatly sorry to leave my Rabbi Nicodemus.”
“You will not have to leave him.”
“How to understand your words? Are you coming with me you said to me when you were going to leave, and also that I will not leave my Rabbi Nicodemus? How can this be?”
“If you could have bread and water that would take away the hunger and quench the thirst for all times, would you keep it only for yourself?”
“You well know that I wouldn’t.”
“Then, Judas, follow me. I am the path, the truth and life. And you will break the bread that I will give to you with your Rabbi Nicodemus, for he who is in me, is in my Father, and the love of my Father lives in him, because my Father and I are one sole thing. Are you coming with me Judas?”
“I am coming Rabbi” I said to him.