This year's pageant was no exception. It is kind of a strange thing. It is like a mini discussion or debate that seems to pass by in an almost nonchalant manner. I think mainly because the person playing Judas certainly wants to know, but also because it is probably one of the saddest stories in the bible. When you think about it, it is a deeply troubling account. Not only are we curious, I think an even deeper reason we want to excuse or justify Judas in some way is that the accounts of his betrayal strike at the heart of our theology.
What I mean is simple. I think we intuitively know that Jesus was not merely predicting the future. Jesus not only predicted Judas' betrayal, but he also predicts several events during the next night and few days. He seems to do so in such a way that the events are ordained by God and serve His purpose. So on the one hand, the passion accounts look like perfectly normal events in the sense that all of the actions are consistent with what men might do. On the other hand, the passion accounts record the events in such a way as if every thing was "going as planned". For instance, Jesus said to Judas,
"What you are about to do, do it quickly." [John 13:27]
I don't know how long I will spend on this, but in case you're thinking, "Why bother?" I think this is a good discussion because it will make us look closer at the Biblical accounts concerning Judas, and it will also force us to reconsider how we approach Scripture. For the Traditions that bog us down in allowing these accounts to speak clearly are massive. Perhaps by challenging some of these Traditions, we may see the truth about mankind in general and ourselves in particular.