Monday, 15 April 2013

Without you there can be no redemption

I first saw The Last Temptation of Christ about eight years ago. Right up until that moment it was probably running second in blasphemous media only to satanic death metal, or whatever it was that my evangelical upbringing couldn't countenance that week. I remember the cinema protests. I remember the media outrage. For an impressionable pre-teen, that was enough to blacklist the film forever.

And then I got myself an education. And I realised that Christianity isn't actually threatened by anything. As a religion born from humiliation, there's not much more ridicule that can be heaped onto it. So I watched Martin Scorsese's film. In fact, I borrowed it from one of my biblical studies lecturers. I was overwhelmed by its intensity, its provocative portrayal of Jesus in all his boldness and insecurity.

Best of all I was struck by the story's willingness to take on a question that has been asked over the centuries. Was Judas doing the will of God when he handed Jesus over to his enemies? The anguish of this scene, the power of the choice that it contains; I was entranced. Watch the clip for yourself.

How easy it is to make a sacrifice and be lionised for it? How much more difficult it is to make a sacrifice and be cursed by your peers and subsequent tradition?

Whatever you think of Judas, a scene like this is worth contemplating.

"Remember, we're bringing God and Man together. They'll never be together unless I die. I'm the sacrifice. Without you there can be no redemption."

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