Judas

May 7th

If you believe that Jesus was God the Son, was one of the Holy Trinity, and was of the same essence as God the Father, then it would make sense to see Judas as a tragic person and the one who was chosen to suffer not only in his life but also for the whole eternity. If betrayal was necessary for the whole concept of the redemption of humankind by suffering and the death and resurrection of Jesus, then Judas had no choice. For whatever reason, he was chosen, denied the opportunity to exercise his free will, and condemned to infamy. There is no name that conveys the duplicity and sinfulness and treachery like Judas.

OR — if there was a choice, and Judas acted on it to fulfill the needed role of disloyal apostle, then he should be venerated as his was a sacrifice beyond the sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus, if we go by Christian theology, suffered and died, but then was bodily resurrected. Judas suffered and died as a traitor then and become the synonym and the symbol for the most based and vile behavior for two thousand years now. Every portrayal in art or literature follows the same reading. And if someone tries to take a more balanced view, is condemned himself (like Nikos Kazantzakis in his book “The Last Temptation of Christ”).

OR — what if there was an understanding between Jesus and Judas? If there was a bond and cognizance between them that both of them will suffer the same suffering and death, but Judas will also suffer indignity for as long as Christianity exists? If there was a need expressed by Jesus for this particular action of treachery from Judas and his ultimate sacrifice? Then Judas should be venerated as the first true Christian and the first among the apostles and followers of Jesus.

And apparently he was, at least for a while, and by some early Christians. Yes, I have been reading the Gnostic gospels, including “The Gospel of Judas” which miraculously survived the heavy destructive hand of early Christianity and Church Fathers. No, I don’t believe any of it from faith and religious standpoint. But the story itself, and the variety of interpretations, is fascinating and gives me so much fodder for the “what if” train of thought. And if we go by the faith — then I guess every interpretation is equally valid. True religion cannot be hypocritical, can it?

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