New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 47

      Some examples will illustrate the nature of conscience. If someone has in his possession someone else’s goods, without the owner’s knowledge, so that he can enjoy them without fear of legal action or losing his honors or reputation, but still gives them back to the other person, because they are not his, such a person has a conscience. (#133, 136, emphasis mine) Could it be that Judas was not so single-minded in his betrayal of Jesus as the Gospels paint him to be? While it is undeniable that he did a terrible thing, perhaps he could still be redeemed from his sin. Based on the above passages, that Judas felt anguish on account of the evil that he did, this is a strong indicator that he did indeed have a conscience. A person’s conscience is formed: Judas Iscariot walked and talked and learned from the Word made flesh. That Judas wrestled within himself, and experienced great anguish on account of what he had done – this shows us that Judas was no devil, but rather was human. . . . by the truths of faith he learns from the Word, or by teaching from the Word, depending upon how he receives them in his heart. For when someone knows the truths of faith and grasps them in his own manner, and so comes to will and do them, then he develops a conscience. Receiving them in the heart means in the will, for a person’s will is what is called the heart. (New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 131) Judas Iscariot walked and talked and learned from the Word made flesh. That Judas wrestled within himself, and experienced great anguish on account of what he had done – this shows us that Judas was no devil, but rather was human. Judas Redeemed? Judas did not live to see the fullness of the injustice that Jesus endured. He did not stand in the wings, watching the public trial before Pilate. He did not walk in the press to Golgotha to witness the crucifixion. He did not see the pain on the faces of Jesus’ family as the soldiers and priests mocked Him. He did not see the sacrifices made and the risks taken by those who buried Him. Judas did not tremble in fear with his brothers, the disciples who stayed hidden, lest they be arrested and executed for being part of Jesus’ mission. And he was not present when Jesus ma H\]\[X\Y\][\ݙ\X] ZY[]H^YY]YY\Y[H[˜\Hۈ[HXHو]HYۙO[Y\]HY[YY[YYŒLL