Sunday, April 30, 2006

Does the Gospel of Judas Matter?

Does the Gospel of Judas Matter?

Short answer. No.

The Gospel of Judas is a Coptic Gospel which has recently been in the news. It seems to indicate that Judas didn't really betray Jesus, but did what he did at Jesus' bidding so that everything would go off as 'planned.'

Several points. We have Four Gospels in the Bible. Most credible scholars agree that Mark was written first, and using Mark, Matthew and Luke added to the story. John wrote a different version later on. The early church, in the formation of the Bible, essentially came up with creedal statements and chose the four Gospels we have now out of many

Many people are amazed to learn that there were many 'gospels,' or books which claimed to be or called themselves "gospels." Only four, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were decreed by the early Christian Church to be inspired and only four are in the Bible.

This means that only four of the Gospels were:


And consistent with early Christian thinking.

The rejected gospels might not have been complete and were often inconsistent with the early church. Most of them, like the Gospel of Judais, were Gnostic in theology and were rejected.

Does the Gospel of Judas Matter? No, not really. It's interesting to read other insights into Jesus from that era----it's certainly enlightening, and it demonstrates to us that differences of opinion are timeless, but, for the average person, the Gospel of Judas is not something to stress out about.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Jesus was difficult

Jesus was difficult.

When discussing Jesus people seem to invariably disagree on key issues. There are certain qualities of Jesus, however, which seem to be apparent.

For one, Jesus was difficult. Jesus had dramatic moments with Pharisees and many people in the Jewish leadership which were, in a word, ugly. Jesus was harsh to many of these people. His premise was that they were often self-righeous and tended to put restrictions on people almost for the sheer joy of putting restrictions on people. Plus there was the 'trashing' of the Temple. And his interaction with Pilate wasn't, frankly, politically adept. Jesus was difficult.

Secondly, Jesus was honest. We, as a culture, don't always appreciate honesty. We prefer a more 'diplomatic' solution to things. Or, we like being mean and engaging in ad hominem attacks. We don't however, usually appreciate people who are dead on honest. They make us nervous. People tend, with each and every President we have, to try to demonstrate that there was Presidential lying. I mean, duh. The fact that we presume or want them to be honest doesn't mean that they will be.

Jesus was also a pretty rough teacher. The apostles spend a lot of time being 'corrected' often pretty aggressively by Jesus. We tend to want to laugh at their ineptitude; but I wonder how many of us would have made out listening to Jesus preach and teach and trying to comprehend what he had to say.

To summarize this, all I can say is this: Jesus was difficult.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Jesus. We had a clergy meeting the other day and discussed Jesus. Who would have ever thought this----a group of clergy talking about Jesus.

We often think about Jesus of Nazareth who walked the earth 2000 years ago, taught, performed miracles, died on the cross, etc.

We often ponder the Jesus of our day. The one who came forth from the tomb and lives among us now.

The difficult is, at times, reconciling the Jesus who lived and the Jesus who lives. On this topic, I'm going to be making a lot of posts.