Judas: Close to Jesus
PILATE and the Roman legate VETURIUS look on worriedly as JESUS is celebrated as the new messiah in Jerusalem, fearing an uprising. Veturius decides to have Jesus arrested as soon as a suitable opportunity presents itself. JUDAS is delighted by the reception Jesus is receiving, and quickly wants to win over the influential merchants to the cause # which would make him the king and the liberator of the Jews. When Judas meets his fiancé SARAH, she asks him for money, saying her brother has been arrested but that his freedom can be bought with cash. Sarah is lying, however: the money is to bribe the palace guards so that JESTA, her brother, and BARABBAS can assassinate the Roman governor. Judas doesn’t give her any money as it belongs to the disciples. The next day Jesus drives all the moneylenders out of the temple and incurs the full wrath of the city’s merchants and high priests. Judas looks on worriedly as Jesus’ rash behavior makes him enemies. He now takes the 30 pieces of silver from the disciples and gives them to Sarah # little realizing that in so doing he is financing the assassination attempt on Pilate. When the attempt fails, the Romans arrest relatives of influential families in reprisal, including that of Judas, and threaten to kill them. It’s only now that Sarah tells Judas the truth. Judas tells Jesus to free the families, but he merely replies that they will all be set free. Judas is beside himself with fury. During the Last Supper he thinks of a solution: if he delivers Jesus up to the Romans, his family will be freed and Jesus himself would have to prove that he really has divine power. But Judas’ plan doesn’t work: Although his family is freed, Judas waits in vain for Jesus to demonstrate his power. Instead he dies on the Cross. In utter despair, Judas commits suicide
This movie does something most Biblical films don’t do — it focuses on Judas Iscariot, the man that betrayed Jesus. Some of what is seen on screen is Biblical. The rest is either based on assumptions by the writers or possible historical texts. In this story Judas is interested in a woman named Sarah and it shows that Judas betrays Christ for thirty pieces of silver for more reasons than just the money.
One example of the differences between the movie and the Biblical text is that Judas stands up to the Romans and defends Christ, openly telling them he is the Messiah. He tells the Romans they can take his life but they won’t take the Messiah. However, later he tells Jesus he is no longer capable of leading the disciples because he is now weak and afraid. Also, we know that Jesus, in righteous indignation, overturns the money changer’s tables, but in this film he shoves a man as well which seems a bit much to me. On a positive note, the actor that portrays Christ really resembles the portraits one typically sees of how Jesus might have looked.
We encourage the viewer to watch carefully for scenes which are not in the Bible and to see if they catch these dramatized moments. We award this film our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal for ages twelve plus. Check out this biography about Judas and you might just feel as if you know him better after viewing the movie.