On Easter night, I watched Jesus Christ Superstar. I didn’t make it past the first song before I had a startling revelation: holy shit, I’m Judas.
Admittedly, I did not have the strictest religious upbringing – I’m one of those “holiday Christians”. But I know enough about Jesus and the resurrection to know that I really do not want to be Judas. In the whole cast of characters, he’s like, the worst one. You know, the bad guy. The big one. The one who betrays Jesus and is responsible for his death. Yeah, that dude. No one wants to be that dude.
But fuck, I’m Judas.
Because I realized while watching the show that, albeit if their interpretation is correct, Judas isn’t the evil man I had always thought. He’s not sinister or conniving or one of those scary men in the weird black coats Chrissy Teigen tweeted about. He actually didn’t seem like a bad guy at all. It was painfully obvious to me from the start that Judas was just a man consumed by fear.
And the thing is, he’s not wrong. Judas is busy telling Jesus: hey man, this is getting a little out of control here. We’re drawing too much attention. Might wanna slow your roll a little, Jesus. Maybe hooking up with the town prostitute isn’t the best move for our PR, is all I’m saying.
I get it. How many times have I thought those things? Felt that way? Had something really, really good, and then let my own skepticism get in the way? How many times have I told myself to slow my roll on my own miracles?
Judas isn’t wrong. Those things are drawing attention to Jesus. They are raising some red flags that may have ultimately led to his death. But Judas can’t let it go. He is a man consumed by fear. It is eating him alive from the inside out. And ironically, in his attempt to fix and prevent something bad from happening to the man he loves, he becomes the reason for his downfall. He is his own worst enemy. His fear becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
He betrays Jesus. Not out of hate or evil or disdain. Out of fear. He becomes the worst version of himself. He can’t enjoy what’s right in front of him. He can’t let the goodness in. Instead, he lets the fear win, and he ultimately loses. Like, really bad.
Jesus doesn’t come right out and say it, but you can practically hear him asking: Do you trust me? Why are you questioning me? I’ve got this. Just be here with me. Everything is under control. Everything is already handled. Judas, do you trust me?
But Judas doesn’t trust. He can’t put the fear down and accept the miracle. He can’t participate in the joy, can’t sing all the happy songs. Instead he looks on from the outside with skepticism and doubt and sings angry songs about being misunderstood and smarter than everyone else. Judas is clever, he’s oh so clever. But this isn’t the place for shrewdness. This is the place for awe.
Yep, I’m a Judas at heart. I get thrown miracle after miracle, and I stand back and judge it from a distance. I look for the loophole, wait for the other shoe to drop. Fear is my default setting. It makes me do crazy things. If I was in the Bible, I’d totally be the one asking Jesus to turn it down a notch, to lay low, to maybe tone down the healing thing so we might all live a little longer, okay?
I’m done with that. Or at least, I’m trying to be. I don’t want to be Judas. I don’t want to look back and say I missed out on the miracle because I was too afraid it wouldn’t work out. How boring is that? How sad? Or worse, I don’t want to say I ruined my own miracles because I was too scared to accept them. That I let fear tell me lies and get so far in my head that I thought the best thing to do would be to betray the joy inside my own heart.
No, I do not want to be that person.
I do not want fear to be my legacy.
When I get to the end of my days and Jesus asks: Jillian, did you trust me? I want the answer to be yes.
Jillian is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click here.