A highly revered pastor has come out to show some support for Judas Iscariot who in Christendom is labelled ‘the black sheep’ in Jesus Christ’s fold.
Right Reverend Nick Baines
For 2,000 years Judas Iscariot been cursed, called a traitor and a villain. His name is often used in sporting terms to describe someone who has left a team for their rivals.
But now a leading cleric has argued that Judas may have been given a bad press and that his betrayal may be more complicated than the Bible suggests.
According to Daily Mail, the Right Reverend Nick Baines, who is the Bishop of Leeds, said he felt ‘a bit sorry’ for Judas Iscariot.
And despite the Bible pinning the blame firmly on the rogue disciple, he said Judas was given ‘a lousy press’.
He said: ‘I feel a bit sorry for Judas. He’s not just another one of those characters in the well-known story of the crucifixion of Jesus; rather, he has gone down in history as the ultimate traitor, the cheap and nasty greed-merchant who sells his friend and his soul for a few quid.
‘Whether he is a traitor or a scapegoat, he’s had a lousy press.’
In the Bible, Judas is said to have betrayed Jesus by telling the authorities of his whereabouts in return for 30 pieces of silver.
Judas kissed Jesus to identify him to the Roman soldiers. As Jesus was led away for crucifixion, Judas hanged himself.
Rt Rev Baines was speaking in the Radio Times ahead of a new documentary, In The Footsteps of Judas, which will be broadcast on March 25 on BBC One.
The programme stars Church of England vicar Rev Kate Bottley, who also believes there may be more to the story than the Bible suggests.
One of the theories suggested is that Judas thought handing in Jesus would trigger an uprising against Roman rule.
Bishop Baines added: ‘Judas had invested himself in the revolutionary leadership of Jesus of Nazareth, only to find himself let down.
‘Trying to force the hand of the Messiah didn’t work and, instead of provoking the ultimate uprising against Roman rule, the glorious leader simply let himself get nailed without resistance.
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‘I guess it’s up to the observer to decide what was really going on with Judas – whether he is a traitor or a scapegoat.
‘People would lean in and say ‘I actually feel a bit sorry for Judas’ – they look both ways as if they are not allowed to say it.’
Rev Bottley, who appears on Channel 4 show Gogglebox, echoed Bishop Baines’ views and described Judas as ‘a shadowy figure’.
She said: ‘Up until that moment of betrayal, Judas seems no better or worse than any of the other disciples. But he has been defined by the worst thing he did.’