Running Through Spiritual Barricades
God does not “tempt anyone” (James 1:13) and He is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). So, why did Jesus pick Judas whom He knew was going to betray Him? Was Judas’ soul sacrificed just for God to carry out His mission to save the rest of the world from sin?
The Gospels tell us that Judas intentionally devised, purposed in his heart a design and executed a plan to betray Jesus. Judas sought opportunity “to betray him” (Mt. 26:16). “He sought how he might conveniently betray him” (Mk. 14:11). And he planned it “in the absence of the multitude” (Lk. 22:6). He had been chosen by Jesus like the other apostles. He received a commission and the ability to perform the supernatural with the others. Judas was trained with them and worked preaching the Good News beside them. However, because he gave into temptation by the Devil, he fell from being an apostle of Jesus Christ to a son of perdition.
What did Jesus do to prevent Judas from falling into this temptation? The Lord placed several barricades up on the road Judas was traveling. These came in the form of warning statements. Judas was just like so many careless drivers of our day who will run by the warning signs on the barricades and plunge their cars into the flooded road to be swept away and drown. There is every indication that Jesus wanted to stop Judas and give Him a way back to God just as He did for Peter, but Judas chose to hang himself instead.
“One of You Is a Devil”
One of the first barricades placed on the road to perdition to stop Judas was when Jesus asked His disciples with Judas present: “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve” (Jn. 6:70,71). Please note Judas was not a betrayer when Jesus chose him. Jesus only knew from the beginning that Judas would one day choose to be a traitor.
Jesus knew He would have one in His midst who would betray Him because of the prophecies of the Old Testament. At the Last Supper Jesus said, “I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, `He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’” (John 13:18). Luke quotes Psalms 55:12-14 and 41:9 being fulfilled by Judas’ betrayal.
“Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; “for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.” (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.) “For it is written in the book of Psalms: `Let his dwelling place be desolate, and let no one live in it’; and, `Let another take his office’” (Acts 1:16-20).
Judas’ choosing not to repent was also prophesied in Zechariah 11:12-13: “Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”– that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter”.
Only God can foretell the future. But there is a difference between foreknowledge and foreordination. In other words, to know that something is to happen in the future does not choose for the event to happen. Failure to stop the events in the future on the part of God would require Him to remove the power of Judas to choose.
“Why Do You Trouble the Woman?”
When Jesus was being anointed by Mary in her home at Bethany, Judas protested that it was a waste of a year’s worth of wages. The reasoning Judas gave was that it could have been sold and given to the poor. The real reason is Judas suffered from a greedy heart. “But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me” (Mt. 26:10). Jesus was warning Judas of his hypocrisy on account of his covetousness.
“You Are Not All Clean”
After Jesus washed the disciples’ feet to teach them humble service to one another, He used it as another opportunity to warn Judas. “For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.” (Jn. 13:11). Judas’ feet had been washed by Jesus. Judas had already put his plan of betrayal into motion. This barricade did not even seem to be noticed by Judas.
“Better for That Man If He Had Not Been Born”
The next barricade came when Jesus warned, “The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born” (Matthew 26:24). He was the Son of Perdition. The Greek word for “perdition” means “waste.” Judas wasted his life in becoming the “Son of Perdition” who betrayed the “Son of Man.”
“He Who Dipped His Hand with Me in the Dish Will Betray Me”
While the Twelve were eating the Passover Meal with Jesus, He took time out to set up another warning to them and Judas of the coming betrayal. “Now as they were eating, He said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.’ And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, ‘Lord, is it I?’” He answered and said, ‘He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me’” (Mt. 26:21,23). Notice how Judas gets around this barricade. He joins the other apostles in asking “Lord, is it?”
“You Have Said It”
In fact, Judas responded to Jesus by asking, “’Rabbi, is it I?’ He said to him, ‘You have said it’” (Mt. 26:25) Jesus is warning Judas that his question has been asked and he himself has answered it.
“What You Do, Do Quickly”
It was Judas who dipped his bread with Jesus. “Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, ‘What you do, do quickly’”(Jn. 13:27). Judas knew what he was planning to do. Jesus knew it too. Jesus was in effect saying, “Since your set in your heart to betray me, you might was well just get on with it” The barricade would have this warning: “I know it is you, I know what you are planning to do.” Even this direct confrontation with Judas did not dissuade him.
“Judas, Are You Betraying the Son of Man with a Kiss?”
While Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane having prayed to God and knowing the time had come, Judas leads a parade of troops. Walks up and kisses Jesus as a sign to the soldiers. This was not the usual kiss of greeting. It was to kiss several times, ardently and with passion. It was repeated kissing of the cheeks of Jesus. Even in the dark of night none would miss identify who Judas was betraying. “But Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’” (Lk. 22:48; cf. MK. 14:45). This was a rhetorical question. Of course, he was betraying Jesus. Jesus knew it. Judas knew it. So, why did Jesus ask? “So, Judas this is your final decision, you have chosen to go ahead with it after all the barricades I have set up to warn and stop you” is the intended effect of Jesus’ question. This is the last thing Jesus ever said to Judas.
What could Judas have done? He could have repented like Peter. Jesus prophesied and warned that Peter would deny Him three times. But Peter went out and wept bitterly and repented. Judas had regret for his actions, but not the godly sorrow which leads to repentance (Mt. 27:4). David the Adulterer and killer, Peter the Denyer, Thomas the Doubter, Paul the Persecutor, all repented and received God’s grace. But not Judas the Traitor.
How many barricades has God set up in your life to keep you from going down the wrong road? How many times have you ignored the warning signs and drove around them to your own perdition?
– Daniel R. Vess