In the spirit of Christian forgiveness, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, is taking a new look at the way in which the tradition speaks of Judas Iscariot, notorious for the betrayal of Jesus to the arresting authorities for a bag of silver.
The Daily Telegraph reports that the bishop’s remarks come in a Radio Times introduction to a BBC documentary, “In the Footsteps of Judas,” to be broadcast early on Good Friday. The Revd Kate Bottley will examine theories about Judas’ betrayal, and his motivation.
“This is not to say ‘Oh Judas, he’s all right really’, what we are saying is perhaps there is something else to this character than that kiss and that betrayal,” she said. …
She added: “Up until that moment of betrayal, Judas seems no better or worse than any of the other disciples.
“But he has been defined by the worst thing he did.
“What Judas did is not OK but I think he holds up a very important mirror to our own human condition.
“Jesus forgave people as they were putting the nails in to his hands and there is no reason why he would not have forgiven Judas but he just didn’t hear that.”
Bishop Baines admits to feeling a little sorry for Judas and the way that he has gone down in history, wondering “what his mother thought.”
“I guess it’s up to the observer to decide what was really going on with Judas – whether he is a traitor or a scapegoat.
“Whatever conclusion you draw, he’s had a lousy press. Just call someone by his name.”
Read the article here. What do you think? Is it time to reexamine the legacy of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot?
Photo: Toruń, church of St. James, Passion painting, dating from ca. 1480-90, by Pko via wikicommons