Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 15 No. 5 May 2013
Page 8

Was Judas Really a Traitor?

In conjunction with “Easter season,” the National Geographic Society released an ancient document dubbed the “Gospel of Judas.” In their news releases, National Geographic indicated the information in this third century papyrus codex threatened the “official” doctrine of the church by offering an alternative view of the Gospel story as revealed by biblical writers.

In this “Gospel of Judas,” Judas was given special insight into the plans of Christ, and as His most favored disciple, it was his task to “betray” Jesus so that His plans could be carried out. The text does not include any mention of the crucifixion or resurrection.

It is interesting that the “Gospel of Judas” is supposed to be a secret conversation between Jesus and Judas, although it is written in the third person, and could not have been written by either Jesus or Judas. Since neither Jesus nor Judas could have written it, how did this unknown writer know about this secret conversation?

The document is a papyrus codex discovered near El Minya, Egypt, in the 1970s. It is no doubt a copy of an earlier Greek text that was condemned by Iranaeus, an early church father, about 180 A.D. It was probably produced by a second century member of a Gnostic sect. The Gnostics [from the Greek word for knowledge] believed that they had special knowledge not known to others, and they taught many things contrary to the Bible.

The “Gospel of Judas,” like many other ancient documents (Gospel of Thomas, Shepherd of Hermas and Ecclesiasticus), is interesting, but provides little real insight into the Scriptures. Just because it is an old document does not mean that it is necessarily true or valuable.

“And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him” (Mark 14:10-11). Judas remains a tragic man caught up in his own greed. He is a warning to us.

Think It Over!

John Stacy

It was said of a soldier who enlisted in the Civil War that he took along his kit of watchmaker’s tools. While in camp, he had considerable business. One day the order came for battle, but the watchmaker said as he looked about his tent in dismay, “Why, I can’t possibly go, for I have 12 watches to repair and I’ve promised them for Saturday.”

This man had forgotten why he had enlisted, but many present day Christians are like that. They have obligated themselves to so many organizations and causes that they have precious little time to do battle for the Lord.

Are we too busy or too occupied to have or to take time for Bible study on Sunday morning, Sunday evening worship and Wednesday evening services? Have we forgotten why we enlisted in the army of the Lord? James said, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).

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