PETER AND JUDAS – A SOMEWHAT DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

Posted by & filed under Esoteric Christianity, Jesus and Satan, Judas Iscariot, Judas' Kiss, Last Supper, Peter denies Christ, religious symbols, St. Peter, symbols meaning, where in the Bible.

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“Contrary to his reputation as a treacherous sinner, Judas is the apostle with the highest understanding of Christ’s mission.”
last supper

When Passover came, Jesus and his disciples celebrated the Seder. While they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will deliver me up.” (The Greek phrase is usually translated “will betray me”, but literally it means ‘will deliver me up’ or ‘will hand me over’, which carries a somewhat less onerous connotation and suggests the fulfillment of a necessary task.) The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. Finally, Jesus said, “‘It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it.’ So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.” (John.13.22-26)

Interestingly, John tells us that no one at the table understood why Christ had said what he said about Judas. In fact, none of the disciples ever speaks a word against Judas. (The first three Gospels never make negative comments about him. John, the only one that does, and this only once, says nothing derogatory about him here.) Is it possible they do not realize what he is?

Jesus often intimates that everything that is happening is being done deliberately, and he himself is directing the action. Jesus, who knows exactly what he is doing, chose Judas, just as he chose all of the twelve, to play a necessary part in this consciously enacted drama. It was a terrible and difficult part for which he would have to suffer the hatred and condemnation of the ages – which is why Jesus will lament that it would have been better for him if he had never been born. But without his willingness to faithfully play his part, ‘the Scriptures would not have been fulfilled’ – a phrase which means that the full initiation, the achievement of all seven levels of the soul’s inner Sacred Journey that are symbolically described in the Torah and are being played out here on the stage of life for everyone to watch, must be completely fulfilled in this drama of Christ so that the fruits of the Mysteries can thereafter belong to all mankind.

After Jesus handed him the bread, Satan entered into Judas, and Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” One thing this signifies is that Satan could not act until Christ allowed it. In this sense, evil loses. Satan only enters Judas because Christ, the play’s director, allows him to. This is no great triumph. And certainly the disciple who made this all possible could not be the evil traitor that popular belief would suggest, since Satan’s action was performed with the blessing of Christ himself. Christ’s choice of Judas was no accident.

They concluded the Seder and went out to the Mount of Olives, and Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters because of me this night.”
St. Peter

Peter, however, said that no matter what anyone else did, he would never desert Jesus. Peter, who represents the most earth-bound level of the Apostles (his name means rock or stone), continues not to understand Christ’s higher needs. Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter objected vehemently, “Even though I must die with you, I will never deny you!”

Jesus then went deeper into the garden alone to pray three times. When he returned to the disciples the third time, he said, “It is over. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. The one who delivers me up is at hand.”

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him was a great multitude with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. And the one who delivered him up had given them a sign saying, “The one I will kiss is he: arrest him.”

 At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi,” and kissed him.
Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.”
Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. (Matt.26.47-50)
Suddenly, one of those who was with Jesus (John identifies him as Peter) drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s slave. But Jesus said, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” He then reprimanded Peter, who still did not understand:
Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father,
and He will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?
But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled,
which say it must happen this way? (Matt.26-53-54)
He touched the man’s ear and healed it. And then, all the disciples deserted him and fled. He was taken to Caiaphas, the high priest, and was questioned for many hours. 
Peter denies Christ Three Times

Now Peter had been sitting in the courtyard waiting, and a servant girl saw his face in the firelight and said, “You were also with Jesus, the Galilean.” But he denied it, and said, “I do not know what you are talking about.” Then another servant girl saw him and said, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” Again he denied it, saying, I do not know the man.” After a while, some bystanders, who had heard his Galilean accent, said, “Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then Peter began to curse, and he swore, “I do not know the man!”

At that moment the cock crowed.
Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said….
And he went and wept bitterly. (Matt.26.75)
Judas

Judas Iscariot, meanwhile, seeing that Christ was condemned, was filled with concern[1] and brought back the thirty pieces of silver that the priests and elders had paid him, saying, “I have sinned by delivering up innocent blood.” Judas, by this admission, was asking the priests to punish him for causing the shedding of innocent blood: in Numbers, when speaking to Moses about murder, God had said that blood pollutes the land, and a murderer who is guilty of a capital crime “must be put to death.” But the officials responded spitefully, “What is that to us?” Judas then threw down the thirty pieces of silver, and went and hanged himself. His death relieved the community of bloodguilt arising from the crucifixion, for as God had also said to Moses, “the [promised] land can have no expiation for blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it.” At this level, in other words, there must be perfect balance, perfect karmic justice. Otherwise, Judas realized, the soul would fall and Christ would fail.

Contrary to his reputation as a treacherous sinner, Judas is the apostle who possesses the highest esoteric understanding of Christ’s mission. Peter represents the other extreme. Peter is the physical, exoteric apostle. His faith is based on what he can see with his own two eyes. He believes in Christ, but his understanding is limited. He is literal, passionate, impatient, and violent. And he imagines himself capable of undying loyalty.
In other words, Peter is one of us.

[1] The usual English translation of Matthew says that he repented, or in some versions, he felt remorse. The Greek word, however, is not Metanoia (which is earlier translated as ‘repentance’). It is Metamellomai, which means ‘to be concerned with.’ The word occurs twice in II Cor 7:8 where the KJV has the word ‘repent’ but the RSV translates it ‘regret’. Paul felt grieved that he’d written a strong letter to the Corinthians even though, in another sense, he knew that that was what he’d had to do. In this passage there’s no idea of sin, only a feeling that he would rather not have done what he knew he had to. The same is true here of Judas.
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