Saturday, May 20, 2006

On Judas...

Regarding Judas. What does scripture tell us?

1. He was an apostle, and presumably (because the text doesn't say otherwise), participated in the apostolic activities - preaching and healing, casting out demons. See Matthew 10, Mark 6 and Luke 9 where Jesus "sends out the 12".

2. Would this imply that he had, at least at that time, faith? Possibly. However, in John 6:70-71 Jesus also says, "but one of you is a devil!" Which would indicate that Jesus was no Donatist.

3. Judas "held the moneybag". He was the treasurer. Apparently there was some degree of trust accorded to Judas - by the other apostles, as well as the Lord himself?

4. Judas was likely seated near Jesus at the Last Supper, near the "head of the table", a place of honor. Thus it would be easy for Jesus to dip the bread (John 13:26) and hand it to Judas. Judas may have even been at Jesus' "right hand", as the right hand was used for eating.

Was this a case of Judas "seeking a higer place at the table" (contra Jesus' parable)? Or was it a case of the Lord honoring Judas or placing him there for some other reason (to make his point? keep your friends close, your enemies closer?)

5. Judas and King Saul of the Old Testament, the only major characters to commit suicide in the Bible. Interesting to note that both are spoken of in terms of influence/posession by Satan/an Evil Spirit. While the Bible doesn't state that suicide automatically leads to damnation, it certainly never paints suicide in a good light.

6. Judas got his feet washed by Jesus in the upper room. He left shortly thereafter. There is some debate about whether he received the Sacrament as it was instituted (I remember one of our seminary parlor discussions concerning this). If anyone has a link to a resource concerning that question, I would appreciate it.

1 comment:

Lynn of St. John's said...

I understand Rev. Wieting has written a new book called " The Blessings of Weekly Communion ",have you read it yet Pastor ? Your post here about Judas has been good food for thought, thank you. It has helped me to remember that when my Grandpa died, I was only about 5 years old I felt completely responcible for his death, in much the same way Judas must have felt. It was a very bad feeling, I just wanted to die too. How much worse I would have fet if my whole family would have been telling me that it was all my fault that he died and there was no forgiveness for what I had done. I felt the same way watching the movie Jesus of Nazareth, I felt completely responcible for his death, it was such good news to come to church and hear my Pastor say " Your sins are forgiven." It makes me cry just thinking about it. I wish Judas could have lived long enough to hear those words too.

I went to a funeral of a young man who was a communicant member of our church who had graduated from our Lutheran School. Everyone was in shock that he had committed suicide , there seem to be no reason. His family & friends expressed their wishes that if only they would have known he was so depressed surely they could have saved him from hanging himself,they say they still have flash backs of finding his body.Your job is so important Pastor, helping people through these storms on our way to the other side.Thank you for being there at church to help people like me when death comes to those we love, the Holy Ghost uses God's the sacraments to help us remember that we're forgiven, even when we don't deserve to be forgiven.

Surely it must be our Lord's will that your post has served to remind me of the fact that God said, "no man takes my life from me" things may help me be a better comforter. Suicides are are reality ...about 300,000 people a year take their own life. If only they knew how sad that must make our Father in heaven, that they feel so alone that the devil temps them to dispare and parish.How sad that they don't feel loved.