Monday, June 01, 2009


Without my betrayal the prophecy fails
No crown of thorns; no cross and no nails
So I ask for deliverance from my destiny
My name is Judas; someone had to be me
~Judas by Griffin House

Few characters provoke such complete hatred throughout history as Judas Iscariot. In his Inferno, Dante names the very center of hell after Jesus' betrayer. There Judas receives the most severe punishment of all damned souls, an eternity head-first in the central mouth of Satan, the ultimate traitor, with his back continuously grated by the fallen angel's claws.

And yet, God shows us time and again that He is a God of foreshadowing and significance. Were He not, He would not laid out hundreds of prophecies, such as the one alluded to in the song verse above, for His Son to fulfill. Were He not a God of foreshadowing, He would not have had the prophet Hosea mate with a whore and then call his children Not Loved and Not My People only to have them redeemed in the end. He is a God who uses names, uses things people already know to announce the things they could never understand.

When I look at the life of Judas, I concede that I will never understand. Here was a man who followed Jesus, the Messiah; followed Him and knew all He did and, what's more, knew He did it in the name of The Lord. And yet, he sold Him for a sack of coins. Then, in the end, he took his own life out of shame and despondency.

If one believes in free will, one can easily claim "Judas did as he saw fit and then felt bad. He did as a man would do." But, if one adheres to a faith of predestination, then someone had to be Judas, right? Someone had to betray Jesus or else God's plan doesn't unfold like it ought to. And then, does that person deserve to suffer an eternity parted from the God he more than likely believed and never had a chance of fully serving?

It's easier for me to believe that, in his humanity, man will choose to walk away from God than it is for be to believe that a loving God will choose to send man to eternity in hell. And yet, it's also easier for me to believe more that a loving God will allow people into heaven after all we've done to not deserve it than it is for me to agree that we could ever earn our way in.

The answer, then, my friends, is that I don't know. And I don't understand.

What a freeing answer it is.