Sunday, April 09, 2006

Judas Priest!

One of the more popular news stories hitting the rounds is one of a recently discovered and translated account of the gospel from the perspective of one of the most vilified persons in all of history: Judas. Extensive tests have revealed that the manuscript is a genuine copy of Judas' account. The copy, presumably from an authentic source, was written a couple of centuries after Judas hung himself.

There are some radical ideas coming out of the newfound discovery. Perhaps the most ground-shaking idea is that Judas did not truly betray Jesus. Instead, the manuscript reveals that Jesus asked Judas to betray Jesus. Now, before anyone says anything about how this would dramatically affect a host of religions, there are a lot of ifs involved.
First of all, we have to have faith that the actual copy is truly an authentic antiquity. Carbon dating shows that the article is truly ancient. Let's assume that these tests are accurate and that this copy is from the third century.

Now we have to assume that this copy is verbatim from an original letter from Judas. The Bible has gone through extensive copy procedures. People devoted their whole life to making flawless copies of every single character from the scriptures, both old and new. The gospel of Judas probably did not enjoy this strict copy procedure, particularly since the New Testament wasn't even established until several centuries after the fact. The person copying the letter might have had his or her own agenda. Words might have been changed, introduced, or even omitted. In actuality, the whole letter could be a work of fiction, a prank someone was playng, an attempt to stop the spread of Christianity. We have no idea.

But if we buy that the copy is a perfect copy straight from the horse's mouth, we have to believe that Judas was honest in his account. He isn't denying what transpired; he really did receive a bounty for turning Jesus in. With that in mind, we now have to psychoanalyze the mind of someone who committed such a traumatic action. What do we know about Judas' character? Not a whole lot. We aren't told much about Judas Iscariot other than his call to be an apostle, his great betrayal, and his death.

"Jesus answered them: Have not I chosen you twelve; and one of you is a devil? Now he meant Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon: for this same was about to betray him whereas he was one of the twelve" (John 6:71-2).

Since we don't have a lot to go off from, let's consider what I would do if we were in Judas' position. I would want acceptance. 11 of my closest friends have completey shunned me. I am talked about in many towns. Every time the story of a humble carpenter who performed mind-blowing miracles was told, there my name is given. I cannot possibly show my face in my home town any more. There's only one thing I could do: clear my name.

How many convicted criminals are serving time and are claiming to be innocent? Many criminals would have you believe that they didn't do it. They were framed, witnesses lied, evidence was planted, wrong place wrong time... Yeah, right.

People need to feel accepted. They need to feel significant. Judas couldn't possibly have this need met unless people thought he was righteous in his actions.


Anonymous Brent O'Connor said...

Good points!

9:55 AM  

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