One of the saddest words, I believe, Jesus Christ ever mentioned about anyone is found in Matthew 26:24…
The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born. (NKJV)
After betraying Jesus to the religious authorities for thirty pieces of silver, Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, realized what he had done and proceeded to end his life. It was a very sad ending of one who, for over three years, heard the words of God, saw His miracles, and witnessed His healing of others. These activities by Christ all pictured future eternal health and life for men – when they believe on Him.
So, what then is the above verse all about? In the next life, what will happen to Judas? Will Christ tell him, “Well done thou good and faithful servant for fulfilling what was written about you in the Scriptures”? Did Judas carry out what he was supposed to do?
Is this the end of Judas Iscariot for all eternity? Did God choose and predestined Judas Iscariot to betray Christ and be sent to hell forever? Actually, I believe it will all depend on Judas. It will be his choice as to what will eventually happen to him. Here are my thoughts regarding this.
Judas Iscariot committed one of the most heinous of crimes. He betrayed his Lord, his Master, his Teacher, and his Friend. Perhaps Judas was never a true disciple. Maybe the reason Jesus chose Judas was for him to be the one and only person who would fulfill the prophetic, Old Testament, Messianic Scriptures relating to Him dying for all mankind.
A key concept therefore that must be introduced and be taken into account is free will. As we Christians know, Jesus Christ, as a human, voluntarily chose to die in order to reconcile the world to Himself (Colossians 1:19-20). Why? So that anyone who believes and accepts Him as Lord and Savior will receive everlasting life (John 3:16). Some of you Christians believe there is more that needs to be done. I understand you and will link a future post about this here, God willing.
But, this choosing just mentioned is therefore a free will issue that God has intended each and every person to have.
My brief and humble definition of free will is: The God-given ability most humans have within themselves to choose a course of action in their lives. It is the ability people are given to make choices usually stemming from desires that they inwardly have or are outwardly presented to them. This, of course, is different for those who were born or became mentally deficient in one way or another.
But the Bible, as many of you are aware, says thoughts and choices we often make originate from the heart. Note what Christ said about them in Matthew 15:19 …
For out of the heart come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
Also note James 1:13-15:
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin…
With this in mind, was Judas given the free will to chose to betray Christ? I believe, yes. Judas freely betrayed Christ. Judas most likely had selfish motives for money even before Christ called him to be a disciple. Again, just my thoughts here.
But, wait a minute! We see Satan entering Judas Iscariot! What?! Hmmm
Notice John 13:27….
As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.
So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”
On the evening of the Last Supper, Jesus was with His disciples participating in the Passover meal. Apparently, Jesus spoke the above words knowing Satan had entered Judas. Question: Was Jesus talking to Judas or to Satan at that moment?
I will say that it was Judas who was being addressed. Judas always had free will to make choices, but apparently, Satan, another force, was influencing him.
Was this the only time Satan did this to Judas? Apparently not. Notice Luke 22:1-7, Satan according to this verse may have also entered Judas at a different time. But there may have been other occasions when Satan did this – especially when he originally thought about exchanging Christ for thirty pieces of silver.
In the gospel of John, Satan entered Judas DURING the Passover meal (John 13:27).
In Luke’s gospel account, Satan entered Judas BEFORE, prior to, the Passover meal (Luke 22:3-6).
These two passages are not one and the same event but separate occassions when Satan entered Judas to cause Christ’s arrest.
But my point is that Satan was heavily involved in the betrayal of Jesus Christ. Was Judas under a spell or mentally possessed because of Satan? No, I believe Judas knew exactly what he was doing. He followed through with his plan. Satan may have been enticing Judas constantly to commit this sin all along.
But, here is another passage for you to consider: Note Matthew 16:23 …
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Who was Jesus talking to – the disciple Peter or Satan? Please meditate on this.
Now let me bring you to the Garden of Eden. Question: What did God tell Adam and Eve in the garden? Answer: Genesis 2:15-17 …
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;
17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Are you kidding me?!!! God commanded Adam and Eve not to choose to eat from a tree called “the knowledge of good and evil”. Right? But there was this creature, a snake, Satan the devil, lurking around in the garden also. Right? Why didn’t God warn Adam and Eve about Satan – who also had the knowledge of good and evil, and who had chosen (he was also created, as Lucifer, with free will) to continually do evil?
Anyway, going back to Judas Iscariot at the Last Supper, did Judas know he was under Satan’s influence? If Judas had free will and decided instead not to betray Christ, did the Father have another way, a plan B, to have Christ be given over to the religious authorities for trial? I believe He did not. It was all prophesied to exactly happen without any alterations.
So what did Jesus mean about Judas being “better if he had not been born”? Was Judas predetermined to go to hell afterwards? Was God giving “mercy on whom He will have mercy” (Romans 9:15). Was God practicing what is known in some Christian denominations as Limited Atonement? (Click on link)
When Christ died on the cross did He die for all the world – except for Judas Iscariot? I do not believe on this exception. Why do I say this? Answer: When Jesus was dying on the cross He made a remarkable request. I am sure most of you are aware of it, Luke 23:34 ….
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Did His act of forgiveness include Judas Iscariot or only to those who had the hammer and nails? I believe Judas was included. Because of the death of Jesus Christ, Judas also was reconciled to God. He will one day be given the opportunity to make another free will choice – to repent and to accept Christ as his Savior.
Judas Iscariot witnessed the ministry of Christ; how He healed many people telling them that they are all made pure, forgiven, of their sin. It made the religious leaders mad, but Christ’s miracles were a sign of forgiveness. His death on the cross was God’s ultimate way of reconciliation. Mankind today still has to make a choice. Many will eventually choose Christ. Sadly, some will never choose to do so.
We are all sinners. God predestined that Jesus Christ would die for the forgiveness of our sins.
God foreknew all of us before we were ever born. It was [and still is] God’s desire for all to be saved. God’s will is that all would be reconciled to Him – not a few.
ALL praise be to God and to His Son, Christ Jesus!
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In the 1986 baseball World Series, at the bottom of the ninth inning, the first baseman for the Boston Red Sox, Bill Buckner, made an historic error that caused Boston to eventually lose the series. If Mr. Buckner had successfully made the play, Boston would have been the champions.
Because of what happened, was it better for Bill Buckner never to have been born? I am glad I was not born in Bill Buckner’s place. I do not know if I would ever psychologically recover after being responsible for that mishap.