A few weeks ago I went to see the production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the Stratford Festival. The music, the acting, the staging were excellent. I enjoyed the experience totally. But I found it to have a surprising impact. As I watched the show I found that my
sympathies were with the Judas character. I liked him tremendously, far more than the Christ figure. Can this be right?
As I have continued to reflect on the play I am struck by a number of things. In this production Jesus was blond and clothed in white. He seemed insipid. Judas on the other hand was dark-haired and wearing a blue costume. That gave him substance and life – some colour and consequence.
I like that Judas was the practical guy who took responsibility for managing the nuts and bolts of Jesus’ ministry. He was the one who tried to walk the talk – make sure the resources went to the poor. He was the one who understandably got upset when he saw money being wasted on frivolities like oil for Jesus’ feet. Judas was no-nonsense and principled.
I like that Judas was a good friend to Jesus. He was more than just a “Yes Man”. He worried for his friend and tried to keep him grounded. He was concerned that Jesus’ ego might overtake him. He told it like it was and that meant real, difficult, honest friendship.
Over the centuries it has been Jesus that gets the credit (and the glory) and Judas the blame. But I am certainly seeing this in a different light these days. Perhaps I recognize
more of myself in Judas than in Jesus.
More reflection needed, that’s for sure.