A Vain Thing

And Judas said,
“My mind is darkness now—My God I am sick
I’ve been used.
And you knew all the time.
God! I’ll never know why you chose me for your crime.
For your foul bloody crime.
You have murdered me! You have murdered me! And the choir of heavenly angels sang the old refrain:
Poor Old Judas
So long Judas.

The rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, performed in Sioux City, re-echoed Eve’s first transgression and exchanged the truth of God in to a lie.

The falsehood finds its basis even in the style of the production. One expects in an opera for the actors to dress according to the historical background. But not Jesus Christ Superstar. It was ripped from its historical context. Judas, as the mouthpiece, sang at the beginning of the opera that “if you strip away the myth from the man you will see where we all soon will be.” In a “Bultmannish” way the Jesus of History and the History of Jesus touches the real only if Christ was a man whose example lives on but whom is in reality dead.

Formally speaking, Superstar and Mary Magdalene displayed the best vocal manipulation and interpretation. Judas Iscariot, with his blood-curdling cries, destroyed the possibility of any musical interpretation on his part.

Perhaps the singer-semi-actor who captivated the crowd the most was Herod with his “walk across my swimming pool” antics entreating Christ to change his water into wine. These mocking words were set in a vaudeville music type which motivated the audience to identify with the King Herod as he jeeringly said, “Get out of my life.”

The Christ of whom the opera speaks receives the acclamation from many people, Christian and pagan, that Superstar displays Christ’s humanity -it brings him down to earth. Phrases such as “He’s just a man” and “Let the world turn without me tonight” do not bring Christ down to earth, but grind him into the mud. They are pre-conceived heart notions which hardly depict the “facts” of Christ’s becoming flesh, but rather prejudicially deny the Creator-God and Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ.

As the actors performed on stage and the audience responded, I was struck with their sense of victory. Ironically, it seemed as though the actors “crucified” the true Christ and the audience was satisfied seeing Christ “buried” under the stones of prejudice never to rise again.

Christians should be put to shame by the power with which Jesus Christ Superstar has straitjacketed our major U.S. cities into the mind-set of Satan. It should set us afire to give our talents to present the full-orbed gospel of Jesus Christ in a full-orbed way to a dying world.

And God said:

Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing?
And the Lord answered: “He who dwells in heaven laughs: the Lord derides them.”
Then he speaks in his indignation and terrifies them by his fury.
Kiss the Son lest he be angry and you perish in the way. (Psalm 2)
And the choir of Angels rail from Heaven:
Bye-bye Judas
So Long Judas

The spirit of the anti-Christ is among us. Praise God that Christ will “crucify” him and he will grovel in hell, never to “rise” again.