Sunday, March 23, 2008

#4- Judas' Easter: 'To betray, you must first belong'

(7 Posts on the Easter Judas had to have. The text is Luke 22:3-23.)

But something more is being said here from Luke:

That evil comes not just from an external and/or hostile source. But that evil also comes from within. And specifically, from within the friendship group of Jesus. It does not come from 'those bad people' outside, those who aren’t our friends; it does not from the Gentiles; and not from a group you could easily demonize.

In Jewish history, there is always this undercurrent that the enemy is outside: Other nations; other people are to blame. But the gospel makes it clear that sin is HERE as well as THERE. (and Judaism itself makes this clear as well). That sin is on the inside, as well as outside.

Jesus says that from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts. Paul says: all have sinned. Jew, and Gentile; slave and free; male and female. Us and them.

It is no surprise, then, that the betrayal happens within the disciple-group.

Harold "Kim" Philby, high-ranking member of British intelligence and a Soviet Spy said this: 'To betray, you must first belong'. Yes. And we belong to God in creation, and yet we have all been unfaithful to our God.

3 Posts to come...

Pic from Wiki of Kim Philby.


John said...

That's a powerful Philby quote. I think the Irish poet Brendan Kennelly took that to the extreme, "If you want to serve the age, betray it."

"And not from a group you could easily demonize."
Ironically, Judas IS easy to demonize today. It's part of cultural cliche, "the kiss of Judas" etc. We don't have to understand him, or so we reason.

We never read his epistle. I don't mean some gnostic text, but rather his noose. Maybe the suicide note is a modern invention, but I would love to have seen Judas'.

Justin said...

John -- Re demonizing. Yes -- he is easy to demonize. But I wonder whether Judas is a helpful way to explain why all of us do battle with 'demons'. I don't mean in the charasmanic sense. I mean in the ordinary sense of the battle that exists in our hearts.

I just made this comment in another post in re fence to something else. But I wonder if it applies:

I do wonder if we see -- even today -- people overrun by evil. That is, people are responsible for what they do, and yet the extent of their crimes suggests something deeper going on. For me, it helps to explain things like Genocide. Haven't you ever wondered how very ordinary people can do unusually horrific things. Maybe Judas helps.

Hannah Arendt said something like this about Adolf Eichmann ('Banality of Evil' etc).

And M. Scott Peck made this case in 'People of the Lie'.

It actually becomes a way to help explain things, rather than have them left confused.

Better to read his 'epistle' as you say, rather than stand at a distance and demonize! That would be true of Judas or Eichmann.