The Son of Man is going the way appointed for him in the scriptures; but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed] It would be better for that man if he had never been born.
Here Judas seems to have an essential role in fulfilling Scripture, and yet is to be damned for carrying it out] There is something inexplicable here, and I have yet to discover a wholly plausible reading of the text.
The best I can do is to suggest that the gospel writers, in later reflection on the events leading up to Christ's death, found themselves unable to account for Judas's actions. This is reflected in the mysterious references to him. The opaqueness of much human action should be a familiar enough theme to those living near the end of this century of horrors.
I believe that such inexplicability was part of what Jesus bore on the cross, in order that he might offer healing to future generations. That later commentators read anti-Semitic meanings out of texts about Judas that cannot support them is part of the reason why (as Pascal wrote) Christ will continue to be in agony until the end of time.
Parish Church of All Saints
Kings Heath, Birmingham
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