Thursday

Still in Love with Judas...


God can surprise you from the strangest places. I’m a bit too middle-aged to be on the Lady Gaga bandwagon but one day I turn on the TV and there she is, still in love with Judas. But this a new take on Judas: a hard-riding bruiser of a hell’s angel on a Harley.


Here's the video from YouTube.

Now I’ve been writing about Judas — as bad guy, good guy, misunderstood guy, essential-part-of-the-story guy — since 1994. And suddenly a 25-year-old pop superstar blows my socks off by supplying a link that had been missing in all those years.

“Jesus is my virtue but Judas is the demon I cling to...” Those words might be truer than most of us might like to admit.

Judas is the metaphor for the bad guy — we all know that — the one who held the disciples’ purse; the one called the thief, the one who took 30 pieces of silver in return for leading the guards to Jesus; the one who betrayed his friend and master with a kiss.

He’s our resistance to spiritual growth, to financial prosperity, to following our truth. He’s the one who makes it easy for us to help others as an excuse not to have time to honour our own spiritual path (that’s theft from ourselves). He’s the one who makes us think that we’re not good enough to do our own life’s work and helps us negate others who are trying to do theirs ... He’s the one who often keeps us poor because we’re ‘too good’ to have to sell our work to others.

Perceptions over Judas and money are some of the biggest obstacles that a spiritual teacher raised in a Christian society has to face and overcome if they want to make a good living from healing, teaching or developing an holistic business. I’ve been teaching the Spiritual Laws of Prosperity for 16 years now and 
Judas is right in there as a powerful subconscious spiritual reason why money is seen as negative; hard to ask for; somehow not kosher. You don’t want to seem greedy after all — aren’t you here to help people not charge them...?

This is what Charles Fillmore, founder of Unity Church, says about Judas in his Twelve Powers of Man:

“Judas governs the life consciousness in the body, and without his wise co-operation the organism loses its essential substance, and dies. Judas is selfish; greed is his "devil." Judas governs the most subtle of the "beasts of the field" — sensation; but Judas can be redeemed. The Judas function generates the life of the body. We need life, but life must be guided in divine ways. There must be a righteous expression of life. Judas, the betrayer of Jesus, must in the end be cleansed of the devil, selfishness; having been cleansed, he will allow the life force to flow to every part of the organism. Instead of being a thief (drawing to the sex center the vital forces necessary to the substance of the whole man) Judas will become a supplier; he will give his life to every faculty. In the prevailing race consciousness Judas drains the whole man, and the body dies as a result of his selfish thievery.”

In the Judaic mystical tradition of Kabbalah ‘life force’ refers to the Sefira or circle called Nezach or “Victory.” Nezach is the source of our creativity, sexuality, activity — and of our addictions. Negative Nezach seeks the “hit” of another coffee, chocolate, drug, sexual partner, gossip or episode of our favorite soap opera.  Positive Nezach keeps us powered until we achieve our goal and stand up in our truth.

I knew all this — but it wasn’t until the Lady Gaga video that I recognised this negative other side of the ‘life force’ in Judas. The character in her Judas video is a fighter, a drinker, a womanizer but still horribly attractive as only the bad boy can be.

This Judas aspect, when healthy, is the part of us that forces us to step up and out into the light. The one that makes us show up in our true glory. We need positive Judas. We need that power and animal force. Without Judas, we wouldn’t have the resurrection and perhaps no Christianity at all.

I’m not convinced that Judas was the bad guy. Apart from his name being just a little too convenient (meaning “of the tribe of Judah” or “Jew”) and the fact that the betrayal isn’t mentioned once in St. Paul’s writings, which are the earliest we have, there is a possibility that he could be an added-in character. There’s no evidence of a crucifixions in Jerusalem of anyone called Jesus anywhere near the Biblical time and there are no contemporary written references to Jesus at all. Until 1961 when a tablet was found in Caesarea, there was no historical evidence for the existence of Pontius Pilate either. And here are no legal records of his administration — no papyri, no rolls, no tablets.

So, to make the story stick and to send this glorious message of hope around the world, the story-teller in me thinks we might need some back-up — and what better than a good old-fashioned baddie who gives us someone to blame at the same time as making the story believable?

For a resurrection story to have credibility, back in those days as well as in ours, there has to be evidence that somebody died first. And there’s enough speculation nowadays about Jesus not actually dying on the cross but bolting to India or Glastonbury (or somewhere equally unlikely) to demonstrate that people are looking for the Occam’s Razor in any scenario. “It would make more sense for him to have been still alive than to resurrect.” Of course it would, but great stories — and even great myths — are not about common sense. They’re about miracles!

For anyone to believe that Jesus was resurrected, in first century Judea, his death had to be public and undeniable at that time. How easy would it have been for those who hated him to have stabbed him in a back street or poisoned him while he ate with friends? Then any claim of a miracle could have been pooh-poohed with ease.

The killing had to be carried out in public at a time when people were in Jerusalem to witness it and Passover was the one festival that everyone attended. You could get away with missing out some of the sacred times in Jerusalem but, unless you were sick, pregnant or the one deputed to stay home to mind the flocks for the village, you went to Jerusalem for Pesach.

We do have reason to believe from the Gospels that Jesus knew full well what was going to happen; he tells Judas to hurry with his mission and waited around in the Garden of Gethsemane when he could easily have vanished quietly. He also asks the disciples to stay awake and watch with him but they sleep. If they had stayed awake psychologically they might have seen that the kiss, which is seen as the final insult, might have been a genuine greeting between friends with a sad but important mission.

Pilate gives Jesus as many chances as he can to be acquitted but Christ won’t take them. He’s determined to fulfil his destiny.

Paradidomi, the word translated in the New Testament as ‘betrayed,’ is just as accurately translated as ‘handed over.’ There is a distinct difference in energy between the two meanings. Paradidomi would be just as accurate if the text made it clear that Judas was under orders to do what he did.

I know I’m not the first to suggest this. Ironically, in Nikos Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ, his scenario of Judas as the good guy who did Jesus’ will in handing him over was drowned out by the furore over sex and Mary Magdalene but it’s not a new theory by any means.

In my first novel, The Book of Deborah, I made the heroine Jesus’ cousin and Judas’s wife; someone who loved Judas deeply and understood his motivation. In my latest, The Miracle Man, I made Judas a female PR guru believing entirely that her X Factor judge Messianic client would resurrect and organising an on-air assassination at the Super Bowl in order to demonstrate his divinity.

In Lady Gaga’s Judas video, Jesus is beautiful but sad and passive; Judas is active, aggressive and sexual. We yearn to love and comfort Jesus but we are drawn to the lower beast that feeds our senses. Most actors will tell you that they would rather play the bad guy; they are just so much more interesting.

In Kabbalah, Jesus represents the Neshamah, the human soul; Judas, as the Nezachian life-force, is the Nefesh, the animal soul which can support or corrupt the Neshamah according to its level of health.
So what is Judas to us? The scapegoat for a start. The scapegoat in Judaism is a goat laden with the sins of the people which is driven out into the wilderness. The sins have all gone; good-oh. We can get on with our lives then.

This animal Judas is the inner voice that says “You’re right and the others are wrong.” He’s the “It wasn’t my fault; they made me do it.” He’s the “another drink won’t hurt.”  He’s also the “hit” of going to workshop after workshop and reading book after book without actually applying any of the principles so you live life on a rollercoaster of hope and despair. He is very clever, very subtle and every betrayal of self that there is. Judas did not betray Jesus; Jesus chose to die and to resurrect. Judas betrayed himself — whichever of the scenarios you follow.

And that’s the greatest truth that Judas can teach us. No one betrays you except yourself. No matter what the other does to us, it is our acceptance of their blame or accusation that hurts us. It’s our choice whether we apply the self-discipline to become the person we were truly meant to be or run with the excuses and betray our soul.

“If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you.”

 Gospel of Thomas.


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