Last night I was watching a National Geographic special on the recent discovery of the so-called “Gospel of Judas”. If you know anything about the Bible, then you know that Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. His name, however, lives in infamy for the only thing he is recorded of in Scriptures. Judas is the disciple who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver and subsequently hanged himself out of remorse. Judas’ betrayal was the event that lead Jesus to the cross and although his betrayal was evil, it caused the single most important and glorious event in the world’s history. But nonetheless, Judas betrayed Jesus Christ to the Jewish authorities for a bag of coins. His sin is considered so great that in the classic poem “Dante’s Inferno” by Virgil, Judas is reserved the deepest circle of hell and endures being devoured by Satan over and over.
The program on the Gospel of Judas was able to authenticate the manuscript as being 1700 years old and not a forgery. Once the document was authenticated it was time to begin the arduous task of piecing the 1700 year old flaking pages to decipher the ancient words. These words were not new to the church however. In 180 AD the bishop Iraneus of Lyon condemned the gospel as heresy. Iraneus also condemned almost 30 other gospels as heresy including the gospel of Philip, Thomas, Mary,Bartholemew, and etc…
The early church was riddled with different views of what Jesus’ life was and what He really said and did. Different people wrote their accounts of Jesus’ life and different churches and groups adopted different gospels. Therefore there was widespread confusion about what the good news really was. Iraneus’ job was to determine which accounts were truthful and divinely inspired. This is where we get Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The stories in these four gospels are the most similar, contain the basic message of life, death,resurrection, and ascension. These accounts were determined to be divinely inspired because they are all about Jesus instead of man. After it was deciphered, the gospel of Judas was determined to be extremely man-centered and does not contain anything about Jesus’ crucifixion.
But perhaps the most disturbing part of the gospel is the way Judas is portrayed as the good guy. As the author of Judas claims, Judas was the disciple Jesus loved the most and was His most trusted and faithful disciple. And when it comes to his act of infamy, the gospel suggests that Jesus planned his arrest and asked Judas to carry it out. This requires a huge sacrifice on Judas’ part because everyone would hate him. Judas was also privy to the greatest secrets of heaven that even angels didn’t know. A completely different portrayL of Judas than we see in the synoptic gospels.
I’ll close with a commentary. It’s amazing how Satan tries to derail the faith of millions! The involvement of Satan in the discovery of this ancient text is apparent. The forces of darkness will, for all time, try to deceive the faithful and lead people astray. But if you know what you believe and it is grounded in the Bible and in the knowledge that God has inspired the texts in the Bible and that all we need to know for salvation, life, and righteousness is contained in Genesis to Revelation. Anything not contained in Scripture is not of God and is made by man without inspiration of the Holy Spirit. God has promised us that some will be led astray by every wind of false doctrine and teaching but if we build our houses on the Rock of God’s word then we will be secure for eternity and be able to stand against the all the attacks of the Devil.