This is a continuation of a series that dives into the meaning behind the scenes in the film. The Passion of the Christ. This is part 2 of 5.
Judas and Jesus meet; Peter and Mary Meet
There is a scene when Jesus is being led away by the guards of the High Priest. They pass a bridge and because of the intensity of the blows, Jesus falls off the bridge only to be dangling by the chains that secure him. In the few moments that he is dangling, he sees Judas and they stare at each other's eyes.
This non-scriptural scene was included to impress on us that Judas had a chance to repent of his betrayal. In the scene, the eyes of Jesus pierce Judas as if waiting for him to say sorry. A few seconds pass and Jesus is yanked back up. The moment is gone, and so is the opportunity for Judas to show any sign of repentance to him. The next thing that happens is we see a freakish demon appear from the shadows to haunt poor Judas who drives him mad and runs away.
Another non-scriptural scene that can be conceptually juxtaposed to this is the meeting of Peter and Mary. After Peter realizes he has betrayed Jesus three times, he runs away just like Judas does. On his way, however, he stumbles upon Mary, kneels down, and asks forgiveness. It is the exact opposite reaction of Judas. Peter, instead, makes an act of repentance. He cannot say it to Christ (he will after the Resurrection when he confesses his love for Christ three times in John 21) but he feels so bad that he needs to tell it to Mary, whom he also feels he has betrayed in a way.
These two scenes contrast the different ways the two apostles deal with their guilt.
The Demise of Judas
In the scene when Judas can no longer take his guilt, he finds himself beside a camel infested with maggots, and whose teeth seem to sneer at him. While there is no biblical reference to this scene, it is included for its allusion to damnation, which drives Judas to the brink of despair and so hangs himself.
The maggots remind him of Isaiah 66:24 and Mark: 9:47-48: Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'
The teeth remind him of Matthew 13:49-50: Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
The teeth and worms are the visual representation of his destiny. He forgets that God is merciful and is driven to a sense where he loses all hope. It is chilling when we realize that the rope he hung himself with is the same rope that was around the camel's neck. It is a symbol that he is linked to damnation.
Jesus in the Dungeon of Caiaphas
There is no Gospel verse that records Jesus being kept in the dungeon of Caiaphas, however, it does make sense that he must have been kept somewhere in the night prior to being brought before Pilate. The Church of Peter in Gallicantu in Jerusalem is said to have been built on top of the High Priest Caiaphas's house. There is a rooster on the roof that is a memorial of Peter's threefold betrayal "before the cock crows" which is believed to have happened there too.
Beneath the Church is a dungeon that is believed to have been used to hold Christ for this purpose. The place is so small and dark that there is barely any room to move. In its original state, there were no stairs, and that meant the prisoner had to be lowered by rope or chains, and taken out the same way.
The film includes a scene where Jesus is held overnight in such a space. That isn't the surprising thing about the scene. What is is that Mary roams around the house and seems to know where her son is kept. She looks down at the floor to where he is, while he looks up to where she is. Although this isn't scriptural, the scene was included to show us Mary's intimacy in her participation in her son's Passion. Catholics believe that she wasn't just a vessel used to squirt out the Son of God. Instead, her participation was consensual and planned. If the fall was caused by Adam and Eve, a man and woman; so too, must a man and woman undo it through obedience. When Mary was asked to be the Mother of the Messiah, she accepted it even if she was betrothed to Joseph (in those times considered as a husband already). If her son did not belong to Joseph, it would look like she was an adulterer whose punishment is stoning to death. Her obedience, therefore, came at jeopardy to her life. It was a risk she took in order to be in union with God's plan, and in this scene, we see here continuous participation in that plan.
This series is continued in part 3.