Luke hits us with a bang in Luke 1. Reminder that Jesus is returning to heaven, the apostles are told the Holy Spirit will guide them, restating Judas’ betrayal, and a new apostle (Matthias) is chosen to replace Judas and join the eleven. Readers Digest version.
I know it’s not the key point of this chapter (just a lead-in to the election of a new apostle), but the betrayal of Judas stands out to me. What strikes me, and always strikes me when I read and contemplate Judas’ betrayal of Christ is he (or someone) had to fill the betrayer role for everything else (the arrest, mock trial, beatings and crucifixion of Jesus) to play out.
Jesus knew, because He is all-knowing, before Judas was even born that Judas would betray Him. I always get lost in the concept of free will. Judas had free will and, although Jesus knew the direction he would take, he always had the option to choose not to betray Jesus. What paths are my free will taking me that are roadblocks to my relationship with Christ?
I can never get my arms around how Judas could make the most despicable act in the history of the world for 30 pieces of silver (or 300 pieces of silver, or 3,000 pieces of silver)? Certainly the risk reward of his action did not make sense. It had to be Satan working on Judas to convince him to do such a terrible, irreversible act. If Satan could convince Judas that this was a good deal, how much easier is it for Satan to convince me, or you, to stray from Christ’s direction in decisions or actions that are not nearly the headline-grabber of Judas. All the more important to keep our guard up and look to God to guide us.
In the end, Judas takes the money buys a field and hangs himself. Jesus prays for his disciples in John 17:12 and says that none have been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture be fulfilled. That is probably the real tragedy. I believe Judas still had the opportunity to ask Jesus’ forgiveness (not face to face but in a declaration of faith) and he would have been able to share eternal life with Jesus. Christ’s grace was available to Judas as it is to all of us, we just have to ask for it.