From the “Was there anything good about Hitler?” thread:
Shouldn’t we see Judas in a more positive light? I know Christian theology conflicts, but generally most believe that Jesus HAD to die to accomplish his mission.
Suppose Judas didn’t do his thing. Jesus would not have died his martyr death and no one would be saved from their sins (very simplified and depending on your view of Christian theology).
The argument can be made that JC was going to have to die anyway, even if Judas didn’t act. So why is Judas so hated, if the outcome was impossible to avoid? And it’s not like the outcome was so heinous. A few hours on a crucifix then death (and maybe a visit to hell) for about two and a half days. And then Jesus is up and running with his mission fulfilled (which he knew would happen well in advance).
Was Judas merely a cog in some grand plan by an omniscient diety? Then does he deserve to be reviled? Maybe he didn’t have the best intentions in mind, but Judas made our eternal salvation possible! Bully for him, I say!
So, looking at things that way, one could say that Judas was the real martyr?
Nah. Don’t buy it. Big J had already pissed off quite enough people with his behavior that they would’ve stapled him to the boards anyway. Judas’ betrayal, if you think about it, probably just hastened the whole ordeal by about an hour or two, at best.
Jesus told his disciples that one of them would betray him, and that the one who received the bread with jam on it would be the betrayer. Judas received the piece with the jam, right? Suppose it had been John or Peter? Would they have betrayed him? Did Judas really only betray Jesus because he was told to?
Judas might be in heaven for all we know. The Catholic Church only makes pronouncements of who’s in heaven, not in hell. A declaration of sainthood is, on one level, confirmation that the person has made it to the other side. (It’s usually based on miracles which occur when an individual prays for the intercession of that person.) This doesn’t mean that if you’re NOT a “Saint” you’re not in heaven; the title of Sainthood is just an official declaration that the person is there. Then you get churches named after you, and stuff.
Conversely, the church doesn’t make pronouncements of who’s in hell…that’d be judgmental of the person, which is a no-no. (Judge not lest ye be judged, and all that.) The church can only make pronouncements on the morality of actions, not the state of an individual’s soul (Saints being the exception).
But back to the original question: no, Judas couldn’t be rewarded for betraying Christ. It’d be oxymoronic for God to make a commandment and then reward Judas for breaking it. Better to think of it this way: on the question of why God allows bad things to happen, a friend explained to me that even artists know where to place black in a painting in order to make it look better. Meaning, God allows sin, but is smart enough to use it to his advantage so that something better can result.
In other words, Christ didn’t intend to die, but DID know it was coming, and so was able to work within Judas’ actions to make a better result.
If you’re a comic book fan, the best metaphor I can think of is the Jenkins/Lee Inhumans series published a few years ago. (A fantastic read if you haven’t read it.) Basically has the same concept: the villain is creating disaster, but the hero is aware of what he’s up to the entire time and uses it to his advantage.
If you read the Gospels you will see that Judas went to arrange the betrayal Jesus before the Passover meal was held. Jesus wasn’t ordaining who was going to betray him, but instead pointing him out.
The passages I point out are: Matthew 26: 14-19, Mark 14: 1-2 10-11(you can read the bit in the middle but it has nothing to do with my point),** Luke 22: 1-6, and John 12:4** (but you will need to read some extra lines around it to realize that this is before passover)
In John 13:21-27, JC tells his guys that whoever gets this piece of bread will betray him. Then in plain view, he gave it to Judas!
Why didn’t the others go “Jump him, boys!” or something? Wouldn’t their sin of omission be just as bad as Judas’?
Besides, in verse 27, it really wasn’t Judas’ fault. Satan took over his body. Perhaps he could’ve copped the insanity plea.
Interestingly enough, Paul doesn’t mention him at all, even though many of his letters predate the gospels. In 1 Corinthians 15:5, he has Jesus reappearing to “the Twelve”(!). Some scholars believe they added Judas in as a plot device, especially since Judas sounds like Judah/Jew. After 70AD, the Christians went at great lengths to distance themselves from the Jews and downplay the Roman actions in Jesus’ death.