We just finished the second season of Daredevil on Netflix. (It was amazing by the way, and I promise no spoilers) Although almost all superheros have a religious theme of the fight between good and evil, Daredevil is explicitly religious. Daredevil has a code of ethics. He’s Roman Catholic and was raised in an orphanage, he wants justice, but through the system. This season The Punisher shows up, the inevitable question is asked. Can people really change?
What’s interesting about that question for me is that we only ask that question when people are “bad”. We ask “can a corrupt person ever really be good?” We don’t ask, “can a good person ever become corrupt?” Because we don’t have to, we assume/know that there is something in all of us that given the right about of pressure could take over.
Daredevil uses violence, but there is a moral code, no murder, he will allow the courts to decide their fate. The Punisher believes that some people are so corrupt they can never change, and therefore the only way to rid the world of their evil is to kill them.
The Punisher has always been an interesting character, he is a killer, a murderer, but is he a “bad guy”? He refuses to kill innocent people. Yet, he is taking justice into his own hands, he is their jury, sentencer, and executor. There are no second chances with The Punisher, you’re bad, you die. (side note, the Atlantic has a GREAT article on The Disturbing Appeal of The Punisher, you should read it)
With that…let’s turn to our absurd scripture of the day, shall we?
After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.”The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking.
“It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.
After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” – John 13:21-27 edited
AWE, DAMN! Judas done got CALLED OUT!
No seriously folks, what a craptastic thing to do Jesus! Totally not cool.
Like I talked about in my post Schadenfreuden for Jesus, I feel like Judas gets a really bad rap. It is a well known assumption in our faith that Judas is corrupt beyond help, he cannot be good. But when you read this text in John, one could argue he was a pawn for God.
Now, I don’t like this theory, that God needed the blood and the violence, this makes me feel very uncomfortable about the implications that has for God. I also can’t get behind a “devil made me do it” mentality. We make our own choices and should take responsibility for them.
With that being said- we wrestle. We can choose light (God) or we can choose dark (evil). Judas is in a spiritual crisis, I think this much is obvious. It’s been 3 years. 3 years of following Jesus around, they’re tired, they’re struggling for money. Not to mention, they’re in A LOT of trouble with the authorities.
I don’t just think it’s a spiritual crisis, I think it’s an existential one too. What am I doing with my life? Is this really where I’m supposed to be? Couldn’t I be doing more for the poor by serving on the streets, opening a food bank or a shelter, I mean Jesus has all the power, what I am doing, really?
In the midst of this wrestling, Jesus, whom you love and trust, but who you are starting to question totally calls you out in front of everyone and something in you snaps. “Fine! I’m done!” John says Satan or “an adversary” (Greek translation) enters him.
You can image, I don’t buy into Satan as a person or “fallen angel” but evil existing? Yes. A moment when you are so overwhelmed that you decide that you’ve had enough and you snap and allow evil to take over and you stupidly react about that?
Yeah. I get that.
Peter denies out of fear and we forgive him. Thomas doubts for good reason and we forgive him. James and John are just flat out selfish at times and we forgive them.
But betrayal is different, that is unforgivable…
I really wonder what The Punisher would do with Judas.