|Jesus on the Cross, from The Passion of the Christ|
It was Easter at Sunday School that stumped and frightened me.
I couldn't believe that they nailed Jesus on the Cross by his hands and feet and left him hanging there until he died. It was the cruelest thing I had heard of. The crucifixion's horror haunted me. I could not comprehend, as a little boy, that people could purposely hurt another person so terribly.
Besides, Jesus had done nothing wrong.
Our lovely Sunday School teacher said that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. I didn't think that I had been that bad. I also couldn't see how Jesus dying in agony could make up for anything that I had done wrong. Jesus died long before I was born, let alone before I was naughty.
Our minister told us that God was all-powerful and all-knowing and that Jesus was his son. God sent his son because he loved us, the minister said. I liked that. I thought that was wonderful because Jesus was such a good man. And with Jesus we got such good stories.
No one at Sunday School liked Judas. He gave Jesus up. It was doubly despicable that he took money for doing so. Judas was presented as the epitome of badness.
But what would have happened if Judas had hidden Jesus? I remember thinking that if Jesus had escaped we would not be Christians sitting in Sunday School. Jesus escaping wasn't part of God's plan.
It seemed to me Judas must have been directed by God to turn Jesus in. And if God didn't direct him, then he certainly knew what Judas was up to. God could easily have arranged for Jesus to escape. He was all-powerful and all-knowing.
But he didn't.
|Judas trying to return the 30 pieces of silver, from The Passion of the Christ|
I left the following comment on the NZ Herald website:
It's not just the young Rodney Hide's sins that nailed Our Lord to the Cross, it was all the sins of the world, past, present and future.
I think this is the problem with Sunday School and presumably not very religious parents, all the things that troubled the boy about Easter needed to be discussed with his parents. My youngest son especially keeps asking me about Judas, and what I stress is that even though his role was to betray Jesus, it was his choice not to ask for forgiveness. Peter also betrayed Jesus by denying Him three times, and yet went on to become the first pope.
Judas could have been like the good thief on the cross next to Jesus who recognised that he deserved his own death, and was consequently forgiven by Our Lord right there and then. Judas represents all those who do the wrong thing and despair rather than asking God for mercy, which He is always ready to give.
Related links: Rodney Hide: A mysterious way to show love ~ NZ Herald
Comments by Lucia on NZ Herald