Its the summer holidays so I have a bit more time to think and blog!
I am reading my way through the Gospel of John at the moment and noticing things about the disciples that seem to be overlooked. Judas has always been seen as an evil man. He has been totally demonised. At the beginning of John chapter 11 we are told about Mary pouring expensive perfume over Jesus, unknowingly anointing Him for burial, and Judas challenging this. John uses this chance to inform us that Judas will go on to betray Jesus and we view his comments about it being a waste, John's comment on Judas taking from the shared purses, and Jesus "the poor will always be with you" statement.
Why did Judas take money from the common purse? What was there for him to spend it on? Why if Jesus knows all things did He pick Judas? And why did He give him the common purse to look after if He knew what he was like?
These guys are wandering around Palestine. What is there to spend money on? Did Judas sneak off for a quick cigarette? A craft drink? Womanizing? Or I wonder if he was giving money away to those he thought needed it but without Jesus' say so, and this is where I wonder if Judas is more like we are than we would care to see. How often do we do good deeds but do not check what Jesus wants? using the excuse that "its obvious"? How many projects, plans, desires, good deeds, missions, etc are not what Jesus wants and yet we do them anyway because we want to be compassionate? I do wonder if Judas was doing lots of good things and the point John wanted to make was that we should not do things, no matter how good, without the authority of Jesus otherwise these things are just us being the amazing humans God made us but not following after Jesus. It is said, in the commentary in my Bible, that Mary was honouring Jesus whilst He was here. I have heard many, who are extremely compassionate get upset when money is spent on churches, church projects, even looking back on the amazing gold and decorations in the medieval churches, and complain that it could've been spent on the poor, on justice missions, on "good deeds". In fact I know I have been guilty of thinking and saying that! But who is to say that those who put into His Church are not like Mary honouring Him whilst there is still time. As one knows in reading about Christians in other parts of the world they cannot even meet together let alone build a simple church without the risk of persecution and death. Perhaps we are meant to glorify His meeting places here?
Judas betrays Jesus, but there have been some thoughts on this that he did it because he could see where he thought things were going and wanted to make it right, want to manipulate Jesus into His kingdom on earth. The musical Jesus Christ Superstar explores this briefly. But again how after has the Holy Spirit started to move and we have enjoyed it but then seen a "better way" for it to be going in and so manipulated things. And then, like Judas, been remorseful and guilt ridden after wards, with some turning their backs on Jesus because of it.
So much of our view of the Bible, of God, of Christianity, has been tainted by what we've been taught, read, hear from others, read in classic and popular literature, with many thoughts from the superstitions of medieval times, that often we just regurgitate, whether believer or not. I believe as Christians we need to open our eyes and start learning straight from Jesus and asking for release from what we think we know. Judas may not be the bad guy we've allowed him to be made but maybe just like us in that situation!