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Judas - Human Weakness (Chapter 2)

Judas has been written off as a betrayer and therefore demonised and (in most minds) excluded from the kingdom of heaven. I suggest a different reading, and one that cannot be proven but one that I consider fits the texts that we have better. The reading I give is both enlightening and challenging. It suggests that there was not a great difference between Peter ('and on this rock') and Judas. Seems that Peter made many mistakes but faced up to them honestly. Judas covered over a deep issue - the love of money. Maybe that was the root weakness, maybe it was a lack of vulnerability and honesty. Certainly his inability to be honest meant there was no path to freedom for him.

Remarkably It would seem in his penultimate act of throwing the money back in the Temple he demonstrated that he was free of that underlying weakness.

The challenging part is that his lack of vulnerability / honesty combined with his kingdom vision - a vision that showed his passion for Jesus to 'succeed'. The Jesus path was to the cross and only come to glory through it. Judas' (and Peter's) belief in the path to the success of Jesus (as Messiah) was to rule over all enemies.

I suggest provocatively that perhaps we have made a better job of being 'the body of Judas' than the 'body of Christ', in that we have great desires for the Jesus' success, but we know, better than he, the path that needs to be taken. I appreciate that God identifies with the body of Christ in all of our failings, nevertheless my point is that if we are to be the body of Christ there has to be an alignment of the followers with the one they follow, rather than the other way round.

Questions:

  • How does the reading (re-reading?) fit with how you read the text?
  • Does the re-reading bring about anything redemptive for you?
  • What do you think about having such a fixed view of the kingdom (and success) and that potentially being dangerous?
  • What key points remain for you as you read this chapter?

There are always new aspects that I find interesting. Here is a 'consider this' further thoughts on Judas.

He is present at the Last Supper, the end of which we read that 'Satan entered him' and that when he left 'it was dark'. The last phrase of course is referring to the night, but in contrast to Jesus described as the 'true light that gives light to everyone' (Jn. 1:9; reference to it being dark is also in John - Jn. 13:30), there is more than a comment about the time of day. It was night as Judas had now entered into a pact with the 'prince of darkness'.

At this Last Supper a dispute had arisen among them as to who was the greatest! (Lk. 22: 24-30). Luke records Jesus as speaking of servanthood, John records the act of washing feet. Judas is present for the speech and the act. If ever there was a clear sign that Jesus was not about to exercise power and drive the Romans out it was clear at that time. Any hope Judas had of Jesus 'coming to his senses' evaporated at that time. I consider that Jesus giving the bread to Judas was one final act of inviting him to turn around. He took the bread but left the room. At that time 'Satan' entered him and it was night.

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