THE SOUL OF JUDAS • by Ernest Dempsey

The angel listened to the Divine Command, shuddering all over.

“My humility is my most daring answer,” said the angel. “Could I dare ask my Lord how to bear His Grace to that frame of flesh?”

God smiled, saying, “You will lose your being to me for a time until I incarnate the body of poor Judas.” Awe and humility dimmed the angel’s eyes with tears so that he was spared the trial of seeing the Divine Hand advancing towards him.


The Son of God was sitting among his disciples in a grove across the Kidron Valley.

“Holy Lord,” said Simon Peter. “You tell us that we now see you for the last time.”

The Son of God answered with a gentle smile and a light nod.

“And still you do not reveal how a man like Judas can get the power to betray you.” Peter was curious to know.

“He cannot betray me until he loses his soul,” said Lord Jesus.

“Lose his soul!” Peter was struck with wonder. “Will he die?”

“No,” returned Jesus, with an omniscient glow in his eyes. “He will not die but I must. This is the will of God and Judas must live to let it be so.” The disciples could understand little. The Son of God knew that and he kept smiling at their ignorance with a paternal kindness.


A flash of light bathed the evening in the Kidron Valley.

“He is coming to his senses,” cried one out of the group. They all looked at him as he slowly opened his eyes.

“Judas,” said a soldier. “How are you?”

“I am well,” he said, sitting up. “What happened?”

“You were leading us to the secret grove of Jesus,” answered an official. “And suddenly you fainted. We thought you nearly dead.”

“No,” said Judas, with a bright shine on his face. “I am well and I will lead you there.” He rose to walk. The group followed him.


The light of torches shone on the face of Jesus Christ. The Son of God saw Judas leading the soldiers and officials. His face had a bright and unusually attractive appearance. For a moment, Jesus stood still to read it. Then he stepped ahead.

“Who is it you want?” he asked them.

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” said Jesus, looking at Judas with soft eyes. There was a flash and it struck all. They drew back and fell down. The light had flashed out of Judas’ body. He was among those who fell down to the ground. When they all rose to their feet, Jesus saw that the brilliance on the traitor’s face was gone. Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I told you that I am he,” Jesus answered, looking at poor Judas. Judas was pale and confused, staring at the Son of God who knew how he had lost his soul, and found it.

Ernest Dempsey  is the pen name of Karim Khan. Dempsey works as a research associate in geology and is doing his Masters in English Literature. A founding member of the World Audience Inc. (New York), Dempsey is the author of three books: The Biting Age, Islands of Illusion, and The Blue Fairy and Other Stories. He writes articles, professional book reviews, essays, and poetry.

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  • Gerard Demayne

    Didn’t like it. I thought it was badly written and not particularly thought-provoking.

  • Avis Hickman-Gibb

    Not my type of subject. It was difficult to read, the words stopped the flow too often, and at the end for me – the meaning too obscure.

  • Unfortunately, I agree. I didn’t understand it either, and wasn’t drawn in by any of the characters. I guess this is a kind of historical fiction? Difficult to do, to write fiction based on well-known stories, but here this didn’t illuminate anything new for me. Thanks anyway for the read, Ernest/Karim!

  • There is a lot about that section of the Bible, and Judas’ betrayal in particular that is deeply mysterious, and I thought it was very brave for Mr. Dempsey to attempt to explain it.

    I’m in disagreement about the writing. It’s very, very sparse prose, and yet it plays on your preconceptions to paint a picture.

    A secondary reason that we chose this piece is that we thought that it would stimulate discussion.

    Still, I appreciate your comments. We are still learning about what our subscribers would like to read, and we take every comment into consideration when we pick our next batch of stories.

  • Beth

    I liked it. I thought of Judas’ loss of his soul as metaphorical as well as literal.

  • I was drawn to the poetic language of this piece right from the first time I read it, even while recognizing that it might be a somewhat contentious choice for our readership.

    • Avis Hickman-Gibb

      Contentious…no – not because of the subject matter. Well not for me anyway. I found as I read the piece the flow stopping too often and THIS made it (for me) difficult to get through.

  • Harley

    I did have some confusion, but what was clear was that Judas was the victim of a very dirty trick. Why the heck would God do that?

    Perhaps the flow would be better without the second section? I enjoyed the story because it was unique, and I spent time re-reading it.

    • It’s best not to ask questions where the Bible is concerned. Right from the start there are some major puzzles.

      For instance, God knows all and sees all, so why not stop Eve from being tempted by Satan? Better yet, why even create Eve with that weakness? Remember, he knows what’s going to happen…

      Don’t get me wrong–I’m a believer, but every time I’ve tried to apply logic to religion I’ve come up short.

  • Tootsie McCallahan

    I liked the whole “soul losing” idea, but not necessarily the writing.

  • Lyn

    A bit confusing for me as well. Brave, as Jordan said, to tackle this historical event as a dramatized account. Probably disagree with the “lost soul” idea, but again, it stimulates discussion for those interested in this type of story.

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