Sunday, November 19, 2006

Judas

For several Holy Week services I have portrayed Judas Iscariot.


In a living re-enactment of Leonardo's "Last Supper" painting, men have dressed as Christ and his apostles. Each "apostle" would sit at the Passover table and hear "Christ" say, "I tell you the truth, tonight, one of you will betray me." The apostle would then freeze in place until his time to speak.

Playing Judas is a daunting task; I take my role seriously and attempt to get into Judas' head. To do so I've gone to a sad place. I think Judas was a complex man, filled with avarice, hatred and demonization. He remains the greatest traitor in human history.

It's a big and emotionally draining role for anybody to play. Strangely, though, it gives me some solace because, of all of the men portrayed on the stage those Holy Week nights, the part of Judas is the only one I feel I deserve to play.

I've sold Christ out, and for far less than 30 pieces of silver. I hesitated to repent before I was saved and, to my shame, I've needed to repent (often) for sins following salvation. I'm not trying to sound pessimistic, here, but let's face it: Our very correct stand for Wesleyan holiness has contrasted sharply—at times—with our practice.

"Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve." (Luke 22.3 ESV)

In his Explanatory Notes John Wesley writes a chilling commentary for the the first part of the verse:

"Then entered Satan - Who is never [lacking] to assist those whose heart is bent upon mischief."

And Satan is always accompanied by darkness.