Judas Betrays Jesus
February 15, 2022
Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?" And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him (Matthew 26:14-16).
Many books have been written on Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus Christ. Authors have analyzed it from the psychological, practical, political, emotional, spiritual, and religious points of view. But Jesus knew Judas would betray Him from the very beginning (John 6:64).
Why did Judas betray Jesus? (1) Although Judas was chosen to be one of the 12 (John 6:64), he never believed Jesus to be God. Judas never called Jesus ‘Lord’. Instead, he always called Jesus ‘Rabbi’ which meant he saw Jesus as nothing more than a teacher. While other disciples made professions of faith and loyalty (John 6:68; 11:16), Judas never did.
(2) Judas not only lacked faith in Jesus, he had little or no personal relationship with Jesus. When the 12 are listed in the Gospels, they are always listed in the order indicating the closeness of their personal relationship with Jesus. Peter, James, and John are always listed first, Judas is always listed last. (3) Judas was consumed with greed to the point of betraying the trust of not only Jesus, but also his fellow disciples (John 12:5-6). (4) Judas believed the Messiah was going to overthrow Roman occupation and take the throne of King over the nation of Israel. He hoped to benefit from association with Jesus as the new reigning political power. But by the time of His betrayal, Jesus had made it clear that He planned to die, not start a rebellion against Rome.
But if Judas’ betrayal was known to Jesus, did Judas have a choice, and is he held responsible for his part in the betrayal? It is difficult for us to understand the concept of ‘free will’ with God’s foreknowledge of future events. This is largely due to our understanding time in a linear fashion. God exists outside of time since He created everything before ‘time’ began. He sees every moment in time as the present. We see time as a straight line, and we pass from one point to another, remembering the past but unable to see the future.
But this does not excuse Judas for the choices he made leading up to the time when Satan took full control of him (John 13:27). God’s foreknowledge (John 13:10, 18, 21) did not influence Judas’ decision to betray Jesus. Instead, what Judas eventually decided, God saw as if it was a present observation. Jesus made it clear that Judas was responsible for his choice and would be held accountable for it (Mark 14:18). Regarding his accountability Jesus said, . . . woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born (Mark 14:21).
“Lord Jesus, while it is heartbreaking that Judas betrayed You for whatever personal motive he had, I am grateful that You chose to submit to his betrayal and surrendered to the will of the Father to go to the cross. Because of You I and countless millions have been saved. Amen.