2021 blog series: exploring the stories of men and women in the New Testament
(#8): JUDAS ISCARIOT
This story hurts my heart. It really does. I can’t imagine being as close to the LORD JESUS as Judas was, loved by Him, cared for and taught by Him, inexplicably trusted by GOD with responsible roles among the disciples. The Savior intentionally drew Judas close and poured into him unconditionally. But Judas still made a different choice.
I ache even more when I read that Judas suffered bitter remorse when he saw that JESUS was condemned, knowing he “sinned by betraying innocent blood.” That one sentence in Matthew makes me feel like he may not have been a lost cause, BUT he never acted on that realization and regret. He never pursued repentance. Instead, he took his own life before he could experience the redeeming power of the Savior right in front of him.
I would even be tempted to hold out hope for the slim chance that he may have found peace with GOD that was never recorded, except that JESUS Himself said it would have been better for Judas if he had never been born. So incredibly tragic.
True confessions… this story also stirs up some serious wrestling in me, grappling with the sovereign power of GOD in creating and guiding lives, winning hearts, but also granting men the gift of free will. Was it necessary in the accomplishment of GOD’s plan of redemption that a man be eternally lost because of betraying the Son of GOD? Judas’ betrayal fulfilled prophesy in Scripture, bringing another layer of validity to GOD’s Word. Does that mean that his course of action was pre-determined? Did he never have a chance to repent?
I’ve heard often, “when we can’t trace the hand of GOD, trust His heart.” And, “when doubts and questions mount, hold tightly to the truth about GOD you already know.” So, my best choice is to land on what I know of the heart of GOD. The Bible assures us that He does not desire that ANY would perish. JESUS died to pay the penalty for sin of ALL men. His salvation is equally available to ALL.
I can only conclude that JESUS poured into Judas, offering him every possible opportunity to make a different choice. GOD’s sovereign purposes are from everlasting to everlasting. I can only believe that the Father’s plan, rather than dictating what happens, simply aligns with His knowing, His Divine omniscience of what will occur in each person’s heart.
Knowing Judas’ ultimate choice, JESUS loved anyway. JESUS died for him anyway. This is our Savior. May we cherish the sacrifice He made for us, assuring that the price He paid for us will not be wasted. May we honor the redemption He won for us by choosing repentance and rejoicing in our salvation!
Read more here: Matthew 10:1-4, Luke 22:1-6, Matthew 26:17-25, John 13:2-29, Matthew 26:47-50, Matthew 27:3-10, Romans 2:5-8