The "discovery" of the "Gospel of Judas" just before Good Friday and Easter is another of many human follies that credit the greatness of man instead of giving all glory to God. It is another sign that we are becoming a heathen nation. It seems like we will never learn from the Old and New Testaments.
Already in the book of Genesis, God warned Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of one tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden. He said, "You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die." The serpent told the woman exactly the opposite, saying, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." It was through this act of disobedience that man was forced out of paradise.
Mankind continued to rebel against God and decided to build a tower whose top would be in the heavens. Through this act men wanted to make a name for themselves, lest they be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.
The apostle John seriously warned the disciples against false teachings. He said that we should not believe in every spirit. Spirits should always be tested to see whether they are of God. Only the spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world.
It is tragic how much attention the "Gospel of Judas" has received from the media when actually it changes nothing from the fact that it is God and not men who created the universe and all of us. It is the Son of God who became flesh, lived among us, was crucified, and rose from the dead so that we all may be saved. Hundreds of years before Jesus lived, the prophet Zechariah accurately foretold his betrayal, right down to the minutest detail.
Yes, the "Gospel of Judas" seems to be an authentic historical document. Yet its writers have only one aim--to revitalize many characters presented negatively in the Bible, starting with Cain. The aim is to present them in a heroic light. To do so they had to create alternative texts and an alternative rendering of the story of Jesus. For them salvation is achieved through knowledge and not through repentance. We all have a choice. Either we believe the Gospel of John, where John describes that after supper Satan entered the heart of Judas (13:2), or we believe National Geographic, which makes Judas out to be Jesus' closest disciple.
The writers of this text, and those who promote it today, seem to forget that humankind is burdened with sin and that only through repentance can new life be found. All four Gospels start with repentance and then offer the gift of forgiveness and new life. All four Gospels tell of the great commission, where Jesus tells his disciples to "go into the whole world to preach repentance and to baptize people in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." This is "The Good News." No discovery of alternate, even historical texts will change the fact that Jesus is our Lord and Master.
Johann Christoph Arnold
April 23, 2006