This newly discovered Gospel purports to show that, not only was Judas not the villain portrayed in the standard New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, it suggests that Jesus himself asked Judas to betray him to the authorities:
"Jesus said to Judas, 'Look, you have been told everything. You will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.' "In interpreting this quote, most seem to assume that 'the man that clothes me' is a weird, gnostic reference to Jesus himself. But, suppose the man that Jesus is referring to is not himself? Suppose it is someone else, perhaps a man who "clothes" Jesus.
Of course, the logic of someone else being sacrificed in Jesus place would seriously undermine the belief system of the world's 1.6 billion Christians. If Jesus didn't die for my sins, who did? Did anyone die for my sins, or am I responsible?
I'm sure many Christians think that a substitute for the sacrifice of Jesus is beyond belief. However, the Judeo-Christian history is replete with God using subsititutions all the way back to the time when Abraham slaughtered a lamb instead of his son Isaac.
The Islamic perspective is that Jesus did not die on the cross at all, was substituted, escaped, and was brought to heaven (An obscure gnostic sect also held this belief):
...They said, “We killed the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of God." They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but the likeness of him was put on another man (and they killed that man)... (Qur'an, 4:157)The parenthesis in the above quote is an interpretation, and the Qur'an does not explicitly say that another man was substituted in place of Jesus. However, the substitution theory gains legitimacy as we fill in the blanks with quotes such as those found in Judas' recently discovered Gospel.