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Question 322

I have a question regarding Judas and Pontius Pilate Father. Given that Jesus had to have been betrayed and had to be crucified in order to save mankind, are these characters in the Passion story villains?      

 

Answer to Question 322

 

I donít think the account of our Lordís passion and Crucifixion has to do with heroes and villains. The character of Judas shows us that man has free choice but is also subject to temptation. Judas was with Jesus for three years and heard and saw what the other apostles did. They all understood that Jesus was the expected Messiah, but their hope was that Jesus would liberate them from the yoke of Rome. In Acts we read that the disciples asked Jesus: "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (1:6) In other words: "Lord, will you at this time deliver the Jewish nation from the yoke of the Romans?" 

 

With this question we see that not only the people in general but also the closest companions of Jesus, even after all Jesus had taught and done, did not understand his mission on earth and still hoped that he was the Messiah and political deliverer who would fulfil the Jewish hopes and dreams of liberation from Rome. It is possible that in Judasí eyes Jesus did not live up to what in his expectation the Messiah stood for and came to the conclusion that Jesus was not the expected Messiah and so decided to betray him. 

 

Judas had free will but we are told that Satan entered into him and tempted him to betray Jesus. He was not condemned for this because he is not the only Apostle that betrayed Jesus. Peter also betrayed him by denying that he was also one of his disciples three times and also the others betrayed him by running and hiding to save themselves. The difference with Peter is that he repented of his betrayal and wept bitterly. Judas on the other hand also repented but went and hanged himself. 

 

 Pontius Pilate was governor of Jerusalem and when he told Christ that he had the power to release him or Crucify him, Jesus told him that he had no power over him unless it was given him from above. Pilate was therefore just the instrument with which the prophecies concerning Christís death could be fulfilled. In fact Pilate did try to set him free, but against the wishes of the Jews who insisted he Crucify him and set free a certain Barabbas. This does not justify Pilate because if he wanted to uphold justice then he wouldnít have feared the Jews and having found Jesus innocent of what they accused him he should have insisted on setting him free.  In both cases I donít think we can call them villains, but victims of circumstance and free choice. The only villains in the story are the High priests who planned and meditated on how they would kill Jesus.