Extended reading: Matthew 26:6-13 Jesus anointed at Bethany
14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
In reading this passage I had to ask myself, Why was Judas so eager to hand Jesus over to the chief priests? Why was he so eager to know what was in it for him to hand Jesus over to them? Why was Judas one of the chosen disciples?
We could spend several moments in time analyzing and understanding the character of Judas, but part of our answers can be found in Old Testament scripture prophecy. Psalm 41:9 reads: “even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” In Zechariah 11:12-13 it is written, “I told them, ‘If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.’ So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’—the handsome price at which they priced me!’ So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD to the potter.” We see from these passages that this betrayal was known to God beforehand.
So should Judas be held responsible and accountable for his actions? Did he have a choice? If we understand the concept of Free Will, then the answer should be yes. Judas, along with each of us, had and has the capacity to choose the choices that are made. It is interesting to notice that being chosen does not exempt free will. You see, Jesus chose His disciples, but did all 12 choose Him? We may express anger for the haughtiness of Judas’s actions, but in God’s plan for our salvation, it played out for our good.
The salvation plan for mankind is centered on Jesus Christ. Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection (according to God’s Plan) had to be played out, yet God’s plan did not supersede free will (also given by God). It grants us the privilege to choose. God’s plan is for us to receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, an act of free will.
What will you choose? The choice is yours!
Merciful Father, you created us with the capacity to choose, knowing to your sorrow that sometimes our choices are not good. You knew Judas would make the decision to betray Jesus, and you know the wrongs we commit. That’s why we need Jesus to be our savior. You want us to make the choice of faith, to find in him the means for our forgiveness. We praise you, dear God, for your grace given us in Jesus Christ our savior. Amen.