Tuesday, April 03, 2007

My earlier Judas thoughts

"And he, Judas, was there -
there for the miracles,
there for the teaching,
there for the prayer times,
there for the confrontations with the politicians and leaders,
there - and sent out - along with the others to teach and heal."

"It is easy to overlook the fact that Jesus chose Judas to be his disciple. We may also forget that while Judas betrayed Jesus, all the disciples abandoned him. With the other disciples, Judas shared a persistent misunderstanding of Jesus’ mission. They all expected Jesus to make the right political moves. When he kept talking about dying, they all felt varying degrees of anger, fear, and disappointment. They didn’t understand why they had been chosen if Jesus’ mission was doomed to fail.”

We hear many negative things about Judas: It is he who says Mary "wasted" the expensive Nard she used to annoint Jesus' feet, (Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him),said, 'Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?' (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, 'Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.' John 12 1-8). We also hear not one but two descriptions of the unpleasant death of Judas Iscariot. This in a time when the mode of one's death was often seen to reflect on one's virtue. (Matthew 27.1ff & Acts 1:18-19)

Painting the last supper Da vinci first searched for the perfect Jesus and having met hundreds of men he chose a19 year old man and spent months painting him as Christ. Having painted Jesus he turned to finding the other disciples. He spent six years until only one face as left that of Judas. He spent all his time searching. He heard of a man in prison and going to see him he saw that this man was indeed the wretched unkempt and vicious man he needed. With special permission the man was released into Da Vinci’s care. When he’d finished and was returning the man to his prison, the prisoner turned tDa Vinci and said "I am your Christ!! I am the man you painted seven years ago as Christ! O, God, have I fallen so low?"

Judas - forgiven?

There is an ancient story that when Judas committed suicide he could find nowhere to rest and wandered for a thousand years through the dark. Until one time he saw a light in the distance, and struggled towards it. As Judas drew near, he saw that the light was streaming from the open windows of a hall. He looked in through the window, and saw a great feast prepared, with many people seated at a table in the banqueting hall and Jesus at the head of the table caught sight of Judas looking in. “Dear Judas” he said, “we have waited so long for you to come. Please join us. See, here is your seat. Now that you have arrived, the celebration can begin.”

Did Judas sit down to eat?

This story as the other things we hear about Judas does not present me with answers but with many questions:

Who did Judas ’wrong’? Who has the power to forgive a wrong?

Do you identify with Judas at all?

We use the term “unforgivable” at times – do we mean that?

What sins does contemporary society view as unforgivable?

What would it be like to substitute the name of someone who’s done that?

Condemn the sin but love the sinner?

(At daybreak Jesus appeared in the temple, and all the people gathered round him. He had taken his seat and was engaged in teaching them when the doctors of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught committing adultery. Making her stand out in the middle they said to him, "Master, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. In the Law Moses has laid down that such women are to be stoned. What do you say about it?" They put the question as a test, hoping to frame a charge against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they continued to press their question he sat up straight and said, "That one of you who is faultless shall throw the first stone." Then once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard what he said, one by one they went away, the eldest first; and Jesus was left alone, with the woman still standing there. Jesus again sat up and said to the woman, "Where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She answered, "No one, sir." Jesus said, "Nor do I condemn you. You may go; do not sin again."John 8.2-11)

The church exists for those people that no-one else wants to know. Well, we should. It's what Jesus told us we should do. (Jesus sat at table with the tax collectors and sinners; and he said, It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. I did not come to call virtuous people, but sinners. Matthew 9.10,12,13 )

I don't have the answers to all my questions but I had a feeling about it inside which says that this poem sums up the way God would view Judas:

'Twas the Bridegroom stood at the open door,
And beckon'd, smiling sweet;
'Twas the soul of Judas Iscariot
Stole in, and fell at his feet.
'The Holy Supper is spread within,
And the many candles shine,
And I have waited long for thee
Before I poured the wine!'
The supper wine is poured at last,
The lights burn bright and fair,
Iscariot washes the Bridegroom's feet,
And dries them with his hair.
Robert Buchanan

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