Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Did Judas have a choice?

Did Judas have a choice?

In my Sunday School Class, we have been studying through the book of Mark. We have come now to the passage where Judas leaves the Passover table to go betray Jesus to the priest.

Jesus’ comment on this, “It would be better if he had never been born”.

How did Judas ever arrive at this terrible situation? How is it that this person who had spent three years in the presence of Jesus became the betrayer? Was it meant to be? Could it have been different?

To Review:
First, Jesus picked him to be his disciple and to be an Apostle. Did Jesus do this just to have the betrayer close at hand?
Second, Judas saw all the miracle that Jesus did and apparently never doubted their reality.
Third, Judas heard all of Jesus’ teaching.
Fourth, Judas apparently believed that Jesus wasn’t setting up a physical empire before the other disciples – that is, he understood Jesus on this issue when the others didn’t.
Fifth, he started stealing out of the money bag.
Sixth, Jesus washed his feet along with all the other disciples.
Seventh, Jesus gave Judas the seat of honor at the last supper.

So, what’s the answer? To be quite honest, I don’t really know. All I know is that up until the very end, Jesus appealed to Judas, Jesus loved Judas, and Jesus honored Judas. Jesus felt sorrow over what Judas was doing and gave him every opportunity to change his destiny.

As I read about Judas and think about how he arrived at the point of betraying the Lord of life, I switch my focus from wondering if Judas had a choice to wondering, “Could I betray Christ even as he did?”

Judas, it seems, went from a devoted disciple to a betraying brother. The Gospels all shout the answer, “Yes! He had a choice but he choose wrong”. Let’s pray that we don’t ever go down the path of Judas.

God bless
Pastor John


Anonymous said...

Judas presents an interesting problem for people who want to maintain that God gives us free will.

As Matthew 26:21 points out, Jesus declared that Judas would betray him even at the last supper by saying "Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me."

The problem with making a prediction that someone will sin, is that if they somehow choose not to sin, you've lied. In other words, if Judas chose not to betray Jesus, then God's word would have been patently false. (Which would make him a sinner, and spoil the whole sinless lamb sacrifice thing) In effect, Judas could not have chosen not so sin, because it would have invalidated Jesus as the messiah.

The unfortunate conclusion that is arrived at, is that Judas did not have a choice at all, because even before he acted, God had mandated that he needed to sin. This knowledge opens up a veritable pandora's box of other questions, such as, could God punish Judas for this? Jesus said that it would have been better if he were never born, indicating so. But that would mean Jesus sacrificed his life to save humanity, while Judas sacrificed his eternity to save humanity...wouldn't that make his sacrifice greater?

I respect everyone's right to interpretation, but for me, the contradictions are so glaring that they indicate the story was made up by fallible people.

Wonderer said...

the tree of good and evil prepared the way for sin,Judas it seems had to do the dirty deed later on.wages of sin is death not eternity in hell(or the One who paid the price would be there now)

I,m not blaspheming, people believe
many things which are not scriptual, ie Christmas - but don,t start me on that.

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Anonymous said...

I gotta say you really copt out there Preacher.

You post a beautiful question. Excellently explained and defended. THEN you don't answer it, you say "I don't know" and move on to an editorial about not wanted to be posed with a difficult choice. duh. You never answered this question, but you first poster did.

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