Judas: two images

Image One:

‘Judas was a dreadful, walking example of impiety in this world, with his flesh bloated to such an extent that he could not walk through a space where a wagon could easily pass … His eyelids were so swollen that it was absolutely impossible for him to see the light and his eyes could not be seen by a physician, even with the help of a magnifying glass, so far had they sunk from their outward projection. His private parts were shamefully huge and loathsome to behold and, transported through them from all parts of his body, pus and worms flooded out together as he shamefully relieved himself’. – Papias [HT: Joan Acocella]

Image Two:

‘Was it not Judas, the sinner without equal, who offered himself at the decisive moment to carry out the will of God, not in spite of his unparalleled sin, but in it? There is nothing here to venerate, nor is there anything to despise. There is place only for the recognition and adoration and magnifying of God.’ – Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics II/2 (ed. G. W. Bromiley and T. F Torrance; trans. G. W. Bromiley et al.; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1957), 503.

It seems to me that if and when we pause long enough to enquire what telling most faithfully witnesses Judas’ service to the Gospel, the preferred invitation becomes decidedly clear.


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