I wrote a reflection on Acts 1:15-26 over on the Political Theology blog. Within it I discuss some of the significance that the biblical accounts of the suicide of Judas should have for our political theology:
The gory manner of Judas’s death and Peter’s application of imprecatory psalms to him sits uneasily with many modern Christian sensibilities, so much so that verses 18-20 of this passage are generally excised from our lections. Yet, unsettling as such themes may be to our ears, it is difficult adequately to understand Luke’s vision of Christ’s mission without an appreciation of the deathly ‘shadow’ that Christ casts over his opponents.
Whether in Judas’s prophetically foretold suicide (1:18-20), the Holy Spirit slaying Ananias and Sapphira for their attempted deception (5:1-11), Peter’s cursing of Simon the sorcerer (8:9-24), the angel striking Herod and condemning him to a gruesome demise (12:20-24), or Paul’s blinding of Elymas the sorcerer (13:6-11), Luke repeatedly presents the Spirit’s mission as one that can have devastating and even fatal consequences for those who oppose it, who seek to claim God’s power for themselves, or who attack his people. Christ will place his enemies under his feet, will overcome the nations that rage against him, and will judge his wicked servants. While Christ is good, he is far from safe.
Read the whole piece here.