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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Duped by Judas

There has been a lot of hooplah lately over a so-called lost gospel of Judas. Of course, this doesn't really surprise me. It seems that those who refuse to believe the historical gospels will accept almost anything as a substitute. What is this so-called lost gospel? In reality, it is not at all different from all the other so-called "lost gospels" that were rejected by the Church as heretical during the fourth century. It is important to understand that the historical gospels that are included in the New Testament were all written in the 1st century either by those who either personally followed Jesus, or by close associates of those who knew Him. The historical gospels all present Jesus as a real flesh and blood human being descended from King David and the rightful heir to the Jewish throne. Also, every historical gospel shows Jesus as performing healings, miracles, and exorcisms showing that Jesus cared very deeply about the human condition. This is very important. Because the basis of every gnostic gospel portrays Jesus as a ghost-like being who, although appearing to have a physical body, was not truly human.

Even if the gospel of Judas was to be dated around the same time as the historical gospels (which that is highly unlikely, according to www.earlychristianwritings.com/gospeljudashtml, the likely date is A.D. 130-170) it still doesn't change the fact that the gnostic portrayal of Jesus has little to nothing to do with the Jesus of history. To understand Jesus, you have to understand Him within the context of 1st century Judaism, not 1st century gnosticism. Jesus saw Himself as the fulfillment of everything that the Old Testament prophets had written before Him (see Luke 24:44). Whereas gnosticism claimed that matter is inherently evil (or at best illusional), Jesus understood the material world as a reality created by a loving personal Creator. Since the early gnostics saw matter as evil, they cared little about the historical Jesus who offered His body to die for the sins of humanity. To them, what mattered most was secret knowledge or hidden revelation. Why would history be important if the entire material world was an illusion? This is why we can not trust any gnostic gospel to reveal to us anything useful about the historical Jesus of Nazareth. Interestingly, the New Testament epistles of Colossians and I John were both written to combat this first century heresy. It's a shame that people are so eager to take the word of someone writing on behalf of a thief and a traitor than the words of those who sacrificed their lives in obedience to the Jesus of history. How easily misled we gullible humans are. If we're that easily duped, perhaps there's a Judas in all of us.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Well said Aaron! Great post!