Was Judas Right?

My mother bought home the boxed set, black and impressive containing the rock opera album musical released in 1970.  We were traditional evangelicals unsure of the relevance of the newly invented genre “rock opera”.  What did Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber know about Jesus and why would they call him a superstar? 

 

We listened to the records frequently at the time noting that one of the tunes was being given widespread airplay on FM radio.  The soundtrack itself showcased some serious rock guitar solos and riffs.  But what was the message?  I was reminded of all this as I watched the live performance with John Legend recorded last year.  I was also reminded of one of the themes that seems worth repeating now more than ever.

 

One of the protagonists, Judas Iscariot, the son of perdition, was portrayed as decidedly angry and resolute choosing to turn Jesus in to authorities to up-end the movement.  Judas is consistently portrayed as a consummate bad guy.  The easy viewpoint is that he was only interested in fattening his pocket.  But if he was a follower like the others, he had to leave everything he had behind.  I don’t think that explanation tells the whole story.  Judas, like all of us, had some redeeming value.  

 

A point that Rice/Webber seem to make is that Judas must have gotten caught up in the politics of the time and became frustrated with the Messiah’s efforts to overthrow the Roman Empire’s infiltration of Israel.  It wasn’t moving fast enough; it wasn’t gaining ground.  He wasn’t being ‘king-like’.

 

Here’s the message to all those who want their vision or knowledge to supersede what God is doing.  That is, “God’s not getting it done, I’ll do it my way . . . “The Bible is full of examples from Cain to Jonah to Judas and beyond.  Their way did not go well for them.   Judas was right in a very limited sense.  Jesus was not going to overthrow the Roman Empire and reclaim the Hebrew homeland because he had an entirely different end game.   His strategy was to re-connect the world with the Kingdom of God. His strategy is still working, on his timeline.  

 

We cannot expect to know the best way to go about things and we need to stop getting in God’s way as He is healing the nations.  This quote from John MacArthur says it best.

 

Emmaus Encounter

The 24th chapter of Luke’s gospel tells the story of the resurrection. After the crucifixion and the discovery that Jesus’ body was missing, the disciples and followers of Jesus were at a loss.  They witnessed with horror and amazement the cruel torture of capital punishment.  They must have wondered why their friend and brother was singled out to receive 39 lashes along with ridicule and a crown of thorns. Why were his hands and feet nailed to the cross unlike others condemned to death?
His body was missing and everyone from the territorial governor to the disciples wanted to know what had happened. Luke’s narrative cuts to two of Jesus followers traveling on the road to Emmaus, about an 8 mile journey from Jerusalem. 
The first follower named Matthias said “Jesus came to my village in Bethany and touched me and broke my fever. Now he’s dead. Now, I can’t stop crying” 
Cleopas then said  “I heard him upon the mount, there were so many people who were moved by what he said. We all knew that he was a prophet sent from God.  When you consider all he did, the miraculous power and the grace of loving all those people.   But he could not have been messiah if they killed him just like that!”
Matthias then said “You say that but you clearly claimed that John the Baptist was a prophet and he was beheaded like a common thief!”
Cleopas replied  “I know that John was a prophet, I sat with hundreds listening to him, but this Jesus . . .”
Then Jesus began walking with them – but they were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked “What are you spending your walk arguing about?”
Cleopas asked exasperated  “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard what has been happening?”
“What has been happening?”  Jesus asked
Cleopas began “Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet mighty in word and deed was condemned to death by the chief priests and rulers and crucified.  We  had hoped that he would free Israel from being held by Rome.  Now that 3 days have gone by some women in our group went to the sepulcher and say that his body is missing.  They said they saw a vision of angels who told them He is alive.”
Jesus then said “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?”
Then He began with Moses and continued, prophet by prophet, explaining the meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures, showing how they were talking about the very things that had happened to Jesus  . . . . 

As they neared their destination, Jesus would have continued walking but they asked him to stay at their place.  As they prepared to eat, Jesus broke the bread and immediately they recognized him and he then vanished right before them!

They then said to themselves, “didn’t our hearts burn as he explained the scriptures to us . . . “

Predictions Concerning Christ 

Moses
Christ will be seed of woman Gen 3:15
Priest after the order of Melchizadek Gen 3:15
Christ as Lamb of God Gen 3:15
Brazen serpent [Christ lifted up] Num 21:9
Cursed is he that hangs on a tree Deut 21:23
Nathan as in I Samuel
David’s seed with everlasting kingdom 2:Sam 12, 13
David
Christ will not see corruption Psa 16:10
Forsaken because of the sins of others Psa 22
darkness at Calvary Psa 22
Pierced his hands and feet Psa 22
No bone broken Psa 34:21
Hated without a cause Psa 35:19
Isaiah
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God Isa 9:6
The Light [salvation] of the gentiles Isa 42:6
Thought to be cursed by God Isa 53:4
Oppressed and afflicted Isa 53:7
Silent before accusers Isa 53:7
Killed for the sins of the world Isa 53:8
Micah
Born in Bethlehem Mic   5:2
 

I love this painting by Antonio Ciseri [approx. 1891]

John 19:1 So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged [Him.] 2 And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put [it] on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. 3 Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands. 4 Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.” 5 Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And [Pilate] said to them, “Behold the Man!” 6 Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify [Him,] crucify [Him!”] Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify [Him,] for I find no fault in Him.”