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?
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.