Sunday, September 8, 2013

Whatever Happened to Judas Iscariot? by Chris White

Judas Iscariot was the only member of the apostolic band that was a Judean and not a Galilean.  While we associate his name with someone who is a traitor or “sell-out” today, his name comes from one of Israel’s great war heroes Judas Maccabeus.  The war that Judas Maccabeus led was one of purification of the nation and temple after it had been defiled by foreign powers.  Judas Iscariot fell far from the heroism of his namesake.  In fact, Jesus said he was a devil and it would have been better if he was never even born.  Judas made himself available to those conspiring to destroy Jesus in Jerusalem and his betrayal set in motion the events of Good Friday.  The Bible teaches us that Judas felt remorse for his crime and ended up destroying himself through suicide.  Many attempts have been made through the ages to rehabilitate Judas’ image.  In the 3rd Century a sect known as the Cainites produced a document we call today “The Judas Gospel”.  This spurious narrative has Jesus thanking Judas for betraying him because in dying Jesus will finally experience the liberation of having his spirit leave the trap of his body.  In recent times the Broadway musical Jesus Christ Superstar made an attempt at rehabilitating Judas by portraying his betrayal as a misguided effort to promote Jesus.  Scripture does nothing but portray Judas Iscariot as traitor and opportunist that had regrets about his treachery later.  The amazing thing is that Jesus chose Judas Iscariot knowing the evil he would eventually do would result in his death for the salvation of mankind.  It was not a good thing to betray Jesus but in the mysterious will of God, it was necessary for evil to prevail in that moment to accomplish a greater good.  Judas Iscariot is an example of what we are all capable of doing if we think Jesus exists to serve us and not the other way around.

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