Just Judge

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The Just Judge is an image of the crucifixion

Just Judge or Justo Juez is the unexpected name often applied to an image that depicts in a symbolic manner the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. His aid is sought in legal matters and court cases.

The Just Judge is the manifestation of Jesus Christ as the ultimate judge who is fair in all matters of justice, because he himself was unfairly judged. He is often called upon in Latin American Catholic folk magical practices. When situations are dire it is believed that Just Judge can be called upon to turn things around. Just as Jesus conquered death and rises to be the judge of all mankind so too does the Just Judge conquer all unjust situations and judge fairly those who petition him. Additionally, as Jesus judged the thieves who were crucified alongside Himself, he can judge the true hearts of all, and may pardon those who are techniically guilty of law-breaking but whose hearts are good.

The iconography of the Just Judge includes the rooster which crowed three times as Saint Peter denied his affiliation with Jesus, the sun which darkened at his death, the cloth with which Saint Veronica wiped the face of Jesus as he carried the cross to Golgotha "the place of skulls." Also visible are the bag of 30 silver shekels paid to Judas Iscariot for his betrayal, and the tools of the crucifixion or instruments of the Passion, including the scourge, ladder, pitcher of vinegar and gall, vinegar sop, lance, sword, hammer, and the gaming lots cast for Jesus' clothing after his death. The snake and apple on the ground refer to the Christian belief that Golgotha, where Jesus died to save mankind from sin was also the burial place of Adam, the first man, who, according to Jewish theology, committed mankind's first sin when he ate a forbidden apple proffered to him by a serpent.

The Just Judge is petitioned by those seeking victory against an unfair enemy, those seeking justice, and to help people in legal matters and getting someone out of prison. One Spanish prayer to him is as follows: "Oh Divino y Justo Juez, a quien adoro rendido, hoy postrado aquí a tus pies, el perdón Señor te pido." ("Oh Divine and Just Judge, whom I adore and worship, I am prostrate here at your feet today. Lord, I beg you for pardon.")

Hoodoo doctors who work within the Catholic folk magic traditions call upon the Just Judge to help in court cases and for protection.

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