Judas as one hurt by Jesus

I’ve read a lot of books complaining about treatment people have received from the church. I can’t say that any of the poor treatment was justified. I doubt it was. People hurt people. I’ve also done a lot of figuring out how to not be the way hurters have been so that my church can be “successful”. My conclusion is that this too is deep into the sinful taproot of desire for mastery and dominion by using the things of God.

I preach on Judas this week and the deal he cuts to get Jesus alone so the religious authorities can safely arrest him and execute him. Why did Judas sell Jesus out? Was Judas always in it for the money? possibly. Love of money is the most consistent character flaw that gets linked to Judas in the Bible. Did Jesus first sign on for discipleship for money? Maybe. I also suspect that if Judas where a modern and if you asked Judas to justify this betrayal he would have possibly have played the victim. Judas didn’t leave Jesus, Jesus left or betrayed Judas and Judas was just giving Jesus what he deserved. I would be surprised by this in any way.

One of the deepest, darkest traps of sin is self-pity and the harm that we justify on the basis of it.

It is to me important to reflect on the fact that Jesus’ popularity was always flimsy. The Galilean crowd was fickle, as was the Jerusalem crowd. It seems quite clear that if Jesus wished to hold the crowd, wield the crowd, and shape the crowd into his ambitious tool he easily could have. This dream is a deep and strong one within us and there are currently man in Egypt and Libya who are struggling mightily to do so today, as is every presidential aspirant in America today. Winning the crowd has long been a very useful path to wealth, power, fame and significance.

Jesus does not despise the crowd, but understands it, and walks another path where a mob will demand his execution and opt rather for Barabbas, a revolutionary who know how to get things done.

One of the church’s greatest mysteries is its ability to grow in diverse cultures and languages. This regularly troubles theologians because heresies are common along this way, but the church itself seems to always persevere through it. Endurance is one of Christianity’s great wonders (Lk 21:19).

At some point you need to make your peace with who you are and what you’ve been called to do. pvk

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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4 Responses to Judas as one hurt by Jesus

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Judas as one hurt by Jesus | Leadingchurch.com -- Topsy.com

  2. Shiao Chong says:

    Interesting post Paul. Judas has somehow captured the imaginations of lots of modern writers/thinkers. I remember as an English Literature major reading plays/novels and watching movies in a course on Passion Literature/Art that a number of modern authors cast Judas in rather sympathetic light.

    Dorothy Sayers, a Christian herself, in her radio play on Jesus’ life, suggested that Judas might be a revolutionary zealot and was disillusioned that Jesus did not chose the path of revolution or rebellion against the Roman Empire and usher in the kingdom of God that way. She suggested that Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem on a donkey was the final and most explicit announcement from Jesus that he was not a political revolutionary, and it was after that incident that Judas decided to sell Jesus out.

    Of course, all that is pure speculation as we have very little material to go with on Judas. The intriguing thing that most modern authors focus on was his suicide. Why did Judas become remorseful and committed suicide later? His remorse suggests something good in him still – a conscience or something. Judas threw the silver pieces back to the Pharisees before killing himself. Was that repentance?

    It’s that aspect that seems to intrigue many writers. Hence, in Dorothy Sayers’ radio play, Judas the idealistic revolutionary who thought Jesus was selling out to the Romans by his apparent lack of Zionist patriotism later realized he betrayed an innocent man and could not live with the reality that it was him, Judas, who sold out. It was Sayers’ attempt at explaining Judas’ suicide.

    In your scheme, Paul, if Judas was wallowing in self-pity and justified his actions as being the victim, what do you think motivated his suicide? I’m not disagreeing but merely curious as to your take on that episode.

    • PaulVK says:

      My thinking tends to go along with Sayers. I suspect Judas was disappointed because Jesus didn’t fulfill a messianic narrative that Judas wanted and when Jesus finally got to Jerusalem and didn’t do what Judas expected Judas used his position to do him in. Now Luke also includes Satan in this conversation which adds an entirely different aspect to it. I don’t think the two are exclusive of each other. The money angle is also interesting. Was Judas hoping (along with the rest, including the mother of James and John) to cash in at the end with prime cabinet positions?

      Of course reading Jesus might make us ask “didn’t they hear him” but apparently they, like the rest of us, have a strong capacity to hear what we want to hear. pvk

  3. cvs says:

    Not to minimize Sayers, but I prefer the Yoda angle. Fear leads to hate, hate leads to anger, anger leads to suffering. I just gave up everything and spent five years following (literally) someone who I thought was going to make my life a lot better. Now it looks like I’ve backed the losing team. The winners probably aren’t going to be content with the death of just the leader of my little cabal. I’m fearing for my life and angry because Jesus is walking right into it. I might as well escape with a little something. I think the anger is the trigger and once Judas pulls that, he starts thinking more rationally and realizes what he has really done, but it is too late. It is very similar to Anakin’s choking his wife in a rage but howling in suffering when he calms down and realizes what has really happened. Judas certainly wouldn’t be the first person to end his suffering by taking his own life.

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