Judas gets a bad rap. I know what you’re thinking. HE BETRAYED JESUS. He was the reason Jesus died!! Well theologically, WE are the reason he died, but I get you’re point. But if you want to open a can of worms and REALLY get a hot discussion going, just ask whether or not Judas went to heaven. Oh man, the sermons behind the pulpit on ole Isacarot. But are we better than Judas? Were the disciples in any better shape than ole Judy? Are we redirecting SO much blame and guilt because we can’t handle the truth of the situation? I know Judas made a choice, a terrible choice, but in the grand scheme of things, did he REALLY HAVE a choice?
Let’s start with the last question I asked: Did Judy really have a choice? I mean on the surface, sure, we all have choices to make and we all have the opportunity to go whatever route we want. But in a heavenly…theological…philosophical type thinking, could he have made a different choice?
The Old Testament laid much of the foundation for what would happen to Jesus, and in some cases, what would happen to those around Jesus. Judas was no exception. In the book of Psalms David declares that someone at the table, a friend who shared Jesus’ food, would betray him. Notice this passage from Zechariah 11:12-13
And I said to them, “If you like, give me my wages, whatever I am worth; but only if you want to.” So they counted out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter ”—this magnificent sum at which they valued me! So I took the thirty coins and threw them to the potter in the Temple of the Lord. (Emphasis mine)
Furthermore, Jesus even prophesied what was going to happen mere moments before it would.
“I am not saying these things to all of you; I know the ones I have chosen. But this fulfills the Scripture that says, ‘The one who eats my food has turned against me.’ I tell you this beforehand, so that when it happens you will believe that I am the Messiah. I tell you the truth, anyone who welcomes my messenger is welcoming me, and anyone who welcomes me is welcoming the Father who sent me.” Now Jesus was deeply troubled, and he exclaimed, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me!” The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean. The disciple Jesus loved was sitting next to Jesus at the table. Simon Peter motioned to him to ask, “Who’s he talking about?” So that disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. So Judas left at once, going out into the night. (Emphasis mine)
WHAT IF Judas didn’t have a choice?
Bare with me for just a few moments and I’ll try to illustrate what I mean, let’s consider time for just a second. Have you ever thought about just how much of our lives are dictated by time? When we wake up; when we are supposed to clock in; when we get to eat lunch; when we get to go home; when we want to eat supper; when its time for bed. The day we are born; the day we have our birthday; the day we turned 16; the day we graduate; the day we turn 21; the day we get married; the day we have kids; the day we get AARP; the day we retire; the day we die. ALL OF IT IS GOVERNED BY TIME. We have seconds; minutes; hours; days; weeks; months; years; decades; centuries; milleniums. ITS ALL MEASURED BY TIME. But when we cross the threshold into eternity something astounding happens. THERE. IS. NO. MORE. TIME. There is an earth and a sky, but no time. There are people and animals, but no time. There is a government and a king, but no time. There are rivers and trees, but no time. So what does this tell us about time? Well i believe it means time is a man-made entity. We as humans NEED to be able to measure out lives. We need some system of order to help us navgiate this universe. But mind you, time, at least as we understand it, is not only a man-made concept but also an EARTHLY ENTITY.
I have done some research recently into how time affects the earth and how it affects other planets in our solar system. Our time is measured in the rotation of the earth (24 hours in a day). We also measure our years by the revolution of the earth around the sun (365 days in a year). So what would our day look like on another planet.
First let’s look at the ROTATION:
One day on Mercury lasts 59 days on earth….that’s INSANE
One day on Venus lasts 225 days on earth…THAT’S ONE LONG WORK DAY
One day on Earth lasts 24 hours
One day on Mars lasts 24 hours and 39 earth minutes…COPY CAT
One day on Jupiter lasts 10 earth hours…WOAH DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING
One day on Saturn lasts 10 earth hours and 39 minutes….SOUNDS AWFULLY FAMILIAR
One day on Uranus lasts 16.11 hours
One day on Neptune lasts 17 hours and 14 minutes
Now let’s look at the REVOLUTION:
One year on Mercury lasts 88 earth days…CHRISTMAS 4 TIMES A YEAR!!!
One year on Venus lasts 117 earth days…YOU’D AGE 3 TIMES FASTER
One year on Earth lasts 365 earth days
One year on Mars lasts 687 earth days…SUMMER BREAK FOREVER
One year on Jupiter lasts (are you ready?) 11.86 earth…YEARS!!!!!
One year on Saturn lasts 29.5 earth years
One year on Uranus lasts 84.06 Earth years…WE’D ALL STILL BE BABIES!!!
One year on Neptune lasts 164.79 earth years…I’M NEVER GONNA BE A YEAR OLD!!!!!
So what’s the whole point of all this. Well if our lives are governed by hours and days, which by the way dictates all of our daily routines: waking, work, lunch, dinner, bedtime…etc, then should we find ourselves on any other planet other than earth, our lives would look DRASTICALLY different. I mean can you imagine working a full time job on a planet where one day lasts 225 earth days? Can you imagine what a bitter winter would look like if the earth had 10,767.5 days to revolve around the sun. Can you imagine winter lasting 2,596 days? That’s over 7 earth years!!! But thankfully we don’t live on Neptune. We live on earth. But what i am showing you is that time isn’t universal. Time, as we know it and as far as it affects us, is relegated to Earth. Time is man made. Once you get past the atmosphere and you visit other places, it is either TOTALLY different or DOESN’T EXIST.
So what does this have to do with Judas the betrayer?
If TIME can be explained as a man-made, earth bound ideal; what if CHOICE could be considered the same? Now we are getting somewhere.
Let me ask you a couple of interesting YES or NO questions.
Do you believe that Jesus and God are OMNISCIENT? (OMNISCIENT means they know ALL things which includes past, present and future)
My answer: YES!!
Do you believe that Jesus and God are OMNIPRESENT? (OMNIPRESENT means they are everywhere all at the same time)
My answer: YES!!!
Do you beleive that when Jesus predicted the future in scripture that he predicted a possible future? (meaning there was a possibility events within the prediction COULD change?)
My answer: NOOOO!!!!!
Just use the google to search prophecies about Christ from the old testament that came true. There are enough of them there to convince a jury of God’s future casting ability. And what’s more amazing is the fact that not only did the prophecies come true, but every detail became true.
I just typed in Old Testament Prophecies that came true in the google and looked at the images to find this picture.
There is NO way to explain this other than the OMNISCIENCE of God. So with that being settled let me ask you a couple more important questions:
Was it planned from the foundation of the world that Jesus would be betrayed, suffer and die on a cross?
My answer: YES!!
Was it planned from before Judas was born that HE would be the one who would betray Jesus?
My Answer: YES!!!
IF you KNEW that Judas was going to betray you and ultimately lead you to your death, would you have asked him to be your disciple to begin with? Luke 6:12-16
One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names: Simon (whom he named Peter), Andrew (Peter’s brother), James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (who was called the zealot), Judas (son of James), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).
Would you have even visited the town where he lived? Would you, through your power, protect him from harm or an early death as he was growing up? Would you have still nutured him and befriended him knowing what he would do?
Our answer to these questions would most definetely be a NEGATIVE. But Jesus didn’t operate like that. I believe Judas wasn’t chosen for this task after he became a disciple, or even after he was born. I believe from the foundation of the world that it had ALWAYS been Judas and it was ALWAYS GOING TO BE JUDAS. Let me explain.
Why are you here on this earth? Why do you live where you live? Why are your parents the ones blessed to raise you?
I am currently 30 years old. The past decisions i have made from the time i was born up until now are irreversable. They were made. They are history. Cannot be changed. The fact that my parents procreated and it took them some time to get pregnant is also a fact i cannot change. Should it have worked the way they wanted i would currently be 38 instead of 30. But again it happened, therefore it cannot be changed.But there must have been a reason for why God chose to hold off on blessing them. There must have been a reason for their only child to be born in 1987. There must have been some purpose.
Our past can ONLY be understood as God’s past. Our present can only be appreciated as God’s past. Our future is laid our SIMPLY as God’s past. God has the power to be past, present and future at ANY point he chooses. Think about the Revelation. John saw a vision, not of a possible future, but an inevitable future. John may have been seeing WAY into the future of earth and man, but God was essentially looking into the past. How can you know exactly what is going to happen down to the very detail, insomuch that the details CANNOT be altered and it NOT sound like history rather than prophecy.
Consider for a second Jesus and Peter. Jesus tells Peter before the rooster crows you will deny me 3 times. Peter was shocked. He basically responded with, I’m sorry but that’s not gonna happen. So then later that night Judas betrays Jesus and Jesus is taken into custody. Things turn bad pretty quickly and before you know it Peter has denied Jesus. So how is it that Peter STILL denies Jesus AFTER KNOWING, KNOWING, Jesus said he was going too. Why didn’t he stay with the rest of the disciples. Why didn’t he run and hide. Why didn’t he do anything and everything he could to prevent this from happening??? Because what Jesus was predicting wasn’t, in some terms, the future but a form of the past. I guess what I am trying to say is, you can’t actually predict EVERY detail that is going to happen in the future unless you ALREADY KNOW EVERY DETAIL THAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. That’s more like recalling the past than predicting the future.
Let’s approach it from a different standpoint.
Have you ever given much thought to a geneology? Most of the time we ignore them because they seem kinda pointless. But are they? I am going to list one that is rather famous.
“This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar). Perez was the father of Hezron. Hezron was the father of Ram. Ram was the father of Amminadab. Amminadab was the father of Nahshon. Nahshon was the father of Salmon. Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah). Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Rehoboam was the father of Abijah. Abijah was the father of Asa. Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram. Jehoram was the father of Uzziah. Uzziah was the father of Jotham. Jotham was the father of Ahaz. Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh. Manasseh was the father of Amon. Amon was the father of Josiah. Josiah was the father of Jehoiachin and his brothers (born at the time of the exile to Babylon). After the Babylonian exile: Jehoiachin was the father of Shealtiel. Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud. Abiud was the father of Eliakim. Eliakim was the father of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok. Zadok was the father of Akim. Akim was the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar. Eleazar was the father of Matthan. Matthan was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah.” Matthew 1:1-16
So let me make this a little easier to grasp:
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Perez, Hezzron, Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, Jehoiachim, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Zadok, Akim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, Joseph who married Mary, who was the mother of Jesus.
So this list is fathers and then Sons. All leading to the birth of Christ. You could have asked any of these men if their Son was going to be in the lineage of the Messiah and they would have said with sarcasm, “Have you met my boy?” And truthfully some of them…excuse me…MOST of them didn’t deserve to be in that lineage based on their wickedness within scripture. But regardless, ASSUMING ALL of scripture has been leading to the birth of Christ, up until the Gospels, then it would be fair to say that these men were playing a vital role in bringing God to earth WITHOUT them even knowing it. Ahaz which is right along the middle of that list was especially wicked and NOTHING like his father Abraham but it was, in my opinion, determined and settled long ago that he would have a son named Hezekiah and that Ahaz would be the Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather of Jesus. Here is my point. HISTORY attests that Ahaz along with the others had no clue that they were direct ancestors of the Savior. The lineage of Jesus tells us that they had NO SAY SO IN THE MATTER. Ahaz most likely wouldn’t have wanted ANYTHING to do with Jesus considering he didn’t want ANYTHING to do with God in his day. But he is listed in this chapter in the new testament, like it or not. So if men and women from the Old Testament could be directly linked with something GENERATIONS into the future, how is it that the same can’t be true with Judas. If men like Ahaz and Manasseh and even no names like Azor or Nahshon can lead to the greatest man to EVER walk the earth, why can’t the GREAT x 16 Grandfather of Judas work the same. I am sure that there were plenty of options for betrayer of Jesus, just like there were plenty of options for ancester for Jesus but it is what it is and they were who they were meant to be. THIS IS MY POINT: Judas was ALWAYS meant to betray Jesus because it was prophecied (or written, if your theology will allow you to admit it) that way from the foundation of the world.
Which leads me even further down the rabit hole.
COULD Judas, knowing all the above, have made a DIFFERENT choice?
Now i understand free will in the moment. I chose to buy some fries and bread with my frozen lunch, but i could have just had frozen lunch. I made that choice. I get that. But when it comes to Judas, who was prophecied to be the betrayer, was there any other choice. LISTEN I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT JUDAS’S MOTIVES OR HIS MINDSET. I understand that there were some issues between him and Jesus. I understand he betrayed Jesus based upon his perceptions of how things were and how they needed to be. I GET THAT. But we aren’t talking about free will in the moment, we are talking about whether or not God’s design for the life of Judas could have been altered or avoided. If Judas was prophecied to betray Jesus and lead him to his death, WAS THERE ANYTHING UNDER HEAVEN OR EARTH THAT COULD HAVE DERAILED THAT OUTCOME?
It’s interesting is it not?
Again, i am in NO way making Judas out to be a victim because Judas was a grown man who made choices on his own. What i am trying to do is get you to open up your mind to a new perspective about Judas so i can show you something about ourselves.
There’s something else we need to talk about in this idea of whether or not Judas had a choice or not.
When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.”
Ok so this is very interesting to me. Let me ask you some very difficult questions.
How many people that have been “entered” or “possessed” by a demon or Satan and actually had some control over what they were doing?
Jesus healed a man who was possessed by legion and this man was CLEARLY not in his right mind. When Jesus spoke to the man, it wasn’t the man that responded but the Legion that was inside of him.
IF Judas was in COMPLETE control of his actions, WHY would Satan need to enter him?
COULD IT BE POSSIBLE that Judas wasn’t in COMPLETE control of his actions?
COULD IT BE POSSIBLE that Judas, once he realized what was going to happen to Jesus, because of his actions, actions he may or may not have had complete control over, that he changed his mind?
Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders of the people met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. Then they bound him, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor. When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself. The leading priests picked up the coins. “It wouldn’t be right to put this money in the Temple treasury,” they said, “since it was payment for murder.” After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners. That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood. This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that says, “They took the thirty pieces of silver— the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel, and purchased the potter’s field, as the Lord directed. ” (emphasis mine)
So let me ask you one more question before we move on: How much CHOICE did Judas really have?
Here is the next chapter of our discussion:
Was Judas’ betrayal worse than Peters?
Matthew 10:32-33 (NKJV) Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
Let’s evaluate just what kind of betrayal Judas made and then compare it to the betrayal of Peter.
I don’t believe Judas was born a betrayer. I don’t believe he had the intention of betraying Jesus when he joined the disciples. I don’t believe the thought ever crossed his mind UNTIL the latter part of Jesus ministry. But what MOTIVES could he have had for doing what he did.
The trouble with prophecy.
The trouble with prophecy is there are too many interpretations of said prophecy. I believe the expression went something like this: Too many chiefs and not enough Indians. Many people believed that Jesus first advent was supposed to be like his second advent. They believed that the Messiah was going to come and set them free of Roman rule and set up his kingdom during his first advent, when really it was his second. Scripture tells us that Judas was over the money that the disciples collected on their travels. Jesus was quoted many times saying “sell all you have”, “give to the poor”. So many wars get started when two friends have two very different visions.
Judas probably had a different outlook on HOW to help people in need. He was the church pastor who was more interested in SERVICE rather than the SAVIOR. Judas wanted to open up his home to Jesus, but was probably not ready to open up his heart. Judas just didn’t agree with Jesus’ way of ministry.
But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself. Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
Clearly there were some differing opinions within the camp. Now before we get to wild and crazy about the embezzlement Judas was doing, HOW MANY TIMES DO WE STEAL FROM JESUS? Just gonna leave that right there.
I also believe Judas was a very passive guy. I don’t imagine he was much of a fighter. He probably didn’t enjoy conflict and Jesus along with all the disciples ALWAYS faced some sort of opposition and conflict. This whole experience just wasn’t what Judas signed up for.
Now again, Jesus knew this. Jesus knew that the thinking of Judas was in a lot of ways different than his own thinking. But Jesus welcomed, befriended and loved Judas anyways. I don’t believe that Jesus was EVER harsh with Judas. I figure he was always patient and kind with him. I am sure they were able to spend a lot of time together talking over different things. Judas wasn’t an outcast…not yet.
Could you love your betrayer? Could you know something about them they don’t even know themselves and still love them? Jesus did.
So in reality what was the difference between what Peter did and what Judas had done?
The only difference between the two stories is the fact that Peter was around for the resurrection of Jesus. Peter was there for his redemption.
Knowing that Judas was always supposed to be the one who betrayed Jesus, WOULD Judas have been brought to restoration again AFTER Jesus rose from the dead?
So here is the point of this whole mess. Here is my goal in all of this. How can we be SO HARSH toward Judas when in REALITY we pledge our allegiance to Jesus while looking at pornography. We swear our love for Jesus but allow football or basketball to be more exciting to us than salvation. We declare undying devotion to him yet wonder whether or not we are gonna like heaven cause sometimes we really don’t like church. We are just as ruthless, just as petty, just as selfish, just as self-centered, just as rebellious and stubborn and backstabbing as any disciple, Pharisee or religious leader. We claim to be righteous but CLEARLY break the heart of God each and every day. When we put down Peter and Judas, it’s only in an effort to make ourselves look better. In fact, if we are honest with ourselves, 9 times out of 10, had we been in the same shoes of Judas, we would have done the same thing. Judas didn’t know what would happen to Jesus. Judas didn’t know what his actions would cause. Neither do we. WE put Jesus on that cross. WE put those nails in his hand. WE put Jesus in that tomb. And if we could, we’d do it again and again and again. That’s the kind of person we are.
Now let me tell you the kind of person HE is.
In spite of our rebellion, He loved us first. In spite of our betrayal, He loved us first. In spite of all the accusations against us, He loved us first. In spite of our name being written on the hammer and the nails, He loved us first. In spite of us being the one who denies him before men, He loved us first. In spite of his foreknowledge of our drug abuse, He loved us first. In spite of his understanding of our alcoholism, He loved us first. In spite of all the times we look at pornography after swearing it off, He loved us first.
And you know the most amazing thing about Jesus. Even though Judas betrayed him, even though Peter denied him, even though the rest of the disciples deserted him; He isn’t in that tomb anymore. And get this: even though we are the worst of the worst, HE LOVES US STILL!!!
We are no better than Judas and no better than Peter and yet Jesus loves us so passionately and thoroughly. He knows all our weaknesses and He knows all our failures. PAST. PRESENT. FUTURE. And He LOVES US STILL!!
Oh what a Savior!!!
So I’m glad we had this chat. I’m glad I got this off my chest.
Hello, My name is Judas.