Thursday, April 8, 2010

Typical Judas

This Easter Season, there's been a good deal on my mind. Between traveling this summer to Palestine and the whole Resurrection of Jesus thing, my spirit's been packed.

And so, this last weekend which is arguably the most important weekend of the Christian Faith, I found myself thinking -- struck, in fact -- by something. As I was reading through John ch 18 - 20 on Easter-Eve, there was something Jesus said about Judas that stuck in my mind and made me wonder. John 19:9-11

John 19:9-11 (New International Version) [Highlighting added for emphasis]

9and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10"Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"
 11Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."
This raises some profound questions in my mind regarding the nature of Judas Iscariot.

Honestly, after I gave it some thought, I couldn't figure out how what Judas did was all that different than what we (both Christian and otherwise) tend to do on a regular basis. Replace 20 Shekles, what Judas sold-out Jesus for, with just about anything. Position. A good time. A good joke. Reputation. We all are sell-outs. We all give up Jesus for something, some more regularly than others. This is a terrible terrible fact, but a fact it remains and forgiveness we receive nonetheless.

Why is it then, that Jesus says what He does here?  It seems to be that Jesus is comparing the power Given to Pilate by God with the power not given to Judas. Judas hasn't been given authority? He was what set God's ultimate plan for redemption into motion! Jesus came to die, and Judas played an integral part in that! Doesn't seem like much of a great sin at all, but rather, a typical one. But perhaps that's something only to be seen from my current context and couldn't have been seen then...

All this is also to say, I wonder whether or not Judas is in heaven. Absurd question, perhaps. But if his part to play was as important as it was -- in fact necessary! -- then how could anyone justify God's intentional use of a man for good, that his soul might suffer? How could anyone condone the damning of a soul that became the catalyst for the greatest victory -- over death itself -- ever to be achieved? If we set aside his betrayal, this leads me finally to the question of Suicide. His ultimate end was through murder of his self. The destruction of his person.

I've been led to believe that all sin is equal in God's eyes, it is merely it's physical repercussions that manifest at various magnitudes which ranges anywhere from internal guilt to destruction of relationships and lives. Sin is sin is sin. Must one be forgiven of all sin before their moment of death?

When I was younger, I was told that the answer to this question was yes. If you lied and were hit by a car, you wouldn't be saved. That seems... so harsh. So lacking in understanding. But Suicide? What of suicide? Forgive me, I digress, but so many are forever lost to deep and painful hopelessness... it seems a terrible thought that they'd all be past redemption.

So... Judas Iscariot. Typical in his betrayal. Lost to his guilt. Did he find salvation? Because surely if he can't, what does that mean for myself?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Blessings on you this Easter!

Throughout the history of God's people, there have always existed means of remembering significant moments in their history. The Passover, the 12 stones placed after they crossed the Jordan, various celebrations throughout the year, the Sabbath itself.

In the midst of the many things we do, brunches and egg-hunts, baskets and roasted hams, let us soak in the memory of what Christ did on "this day" so many years ago.

He redeemed us.

May you experience God's overwhelming peace and love this Easter weekend,