As I listen to the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack and read the lyrics, it’s clear that (especially for 1969, the year of its copyright) the character of Judas is quite self-aware. He’s cognizant of his part in this grand drama, and he knows Jesus knows he knows. They have each other’s number. Like in an old Western, or a new one, they are onto each other; their cards are on the table and both know the  game being played out. The only difference is that while Judas only semi-gets the magnitude of Jesus’ position, J and J both have a pretty solid handle on the enormity of Judas’ sitch.

Judas is so in the moment, consciously caught up in this rapidly developing history, that he not only understands the sweep and span of what he is doing, and what it means for his reputation throughout time, but he recognizes that since Jesus knows the score, God also knows the score. The reasons are hidden to him, but he justly considers himself, whether randomly picked or carefully selected by mysterious ways, cursed by God.

And so, having just committed the worst crime in human history, under not only the supervision and encouragement but possibly the very agency of his lord of worship, Judas finds his existence no longer possible to endure, and he commits an act of suicide that raises the question

If God makes you do it, is it a sin?

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