Traitor. Betrayer. Disloyal. Unfaithful. Two-timing. Treacherous. Treasonous. Faithless. Son of Perdition. Words that should never appear on the epitaph of any man. Yet these words hardly begin to describe the man we know as Judas Iscariot. But there is another side to Judas. He was a man; a man made in the image of God. He spent many days in Jesus’ inner circle. He heard Jesus pray. He saw Jesus teach. He witnessed the miracles of the Messiah. He was a real man. He was a real man with real struggles.
Tosca Lee seeks to “humanize” the man who betrayed Jesus Christ in her latest historical fiction work, Iscariot. Written entirely in the first person, the author goes to great lengths to “get into the head” of Judas. We find him much like any other person. In his case, hopes of raising a family and aspiration to be a scholar. Readers witness the full range of emotions that Judas experiences – joy, frustration, regret, hope, fear, and loneliness.
Tosca Lee has truly done her homework on this one. It is obvious that she has labored to understand middle eastern culture and it shows. Iscariot not only reveals the human side of Judas. It reveals the full humanity of the Messiah. It is layered with fascinating historical insight and draws readers in to discover the inner psychological prison of the son of Perdition. In one gripping scene, the moment where Judas betrays the Lord Jesus, the author shows the interplay between the two characters:
His whisper, when he spoke, was worn against my ear. “Do what you came for, friend.”
Inexplicable tears – hot tears – coursed down my cheeks.
“Hail,” I whispered, and kissed him with trembling lips.
It was a greeting and goodbye.