Home/ Videos & Mixed Media/ The Lamentations Series: The Ninth Night and Day

It would be felicitous were a Shi‘ite to make the first great film or video on the lamentation of Judas Iscariot during the interval between his delivering Jesus to the chief priests and his hanging himself. Judas had prearranged the following signal for the large crowd armed with swords and clubs that was sent with him by the chief priests and the elders of the people to apprehend Jesus: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Given that Jesus had told his disciples, among whom figured Judas, “If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also” (Luke 6:29), why didn’t the one who was kissed by Judas turn the other cheek for another (perfidious) kiss?,1 responding instead with: “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48)? Given that Judas did not sin against the Holy Spirit but only against the Son of Man (“Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” [Matthew 12:32]), and given that the Son of Man had walked on water, healed the blind, and resurrected the dead, why didn’t the one who was kissed by Judas miraculously move time backward till before the birth of his betrayer (“woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born” [Matthew 26:24]) in forgiveness? If the one who was perfidiously kissed by Judas did neither, was this because he was not actually Jesus Christ (the Docetic, as well as the Muslim reading of the crucifixion: “They slew him [the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger] not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them… Allah took him up unto Himself” [Qur’ân 4:157-158])? Did Judas deliver the wrong innocent man to the Pharisees to be crucified, one concerning whom it had not been decreed (Luke 22:22), as it had been in the case of the Son of Man according to Jesus himself, that “he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Matthew 16:21)—therefore one who did not have to die thus? On witnessing Peter disown the apprehended man three times, did Judas feel confirmed that the one he had delivered to the priests was not Jesus? Whether it was an unforgiving Jesus Christ (!) or another innocent man who was crucified, Judas felt such unbearable remorse and guilt that he hanged himself.

1 The dead saint came back to life when he was slapped, for while alive he had read in Luke 6:29 that Jesus Christ said: “If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.”

Giotto, The Kiss of Judas
— "Home Works III: A Forum on Cultural Practices," Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, Lebanon, November 21 and 23, 2005.

© 2005– by Jalal Toufic. All rights reserved.