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Judas Christianity

• Greg Boyd

When reviewing Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, Greg had two questions in mind for us to consider: “Was Judas fated to betray Jesus?” And “Why did Judas betray Jesus?”

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When reviewing Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, Greg had two questions in mind for us to consider: “Was Judas fated to betray Jesus?” And “Why did Judas betray Jesus?”

Greg’s response to the first question in an emphatic, “No!”. After explaining various texts that support the idea that Judas was predestined to betray Jesus Greg reminded us of the central message of Scripture which is that God loves everyone and wants all to be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-4; Titus 2:11; 2 Peter 3:9; I Tim. 2:6; 1 John 2:2; etc.). This alone is enough to cause us to pause at the idea of Judas being treated differently than every other human being.

The second question has been answered in various ways. Some suggest that it was simply greed that caused Judas to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. This seems unlikely though when we consider how devoted Judas had been to Jesus and that 30 pieces is not a huge sum of money.

A more likely reason is that Judas’ political convictions made him vulnerable to being misguided about Jesus’ plans. Judas’ background was deeply patriotic and zealous for the cause of freeing the Jews from Roman oppression. It might have been easy for Judas to assume that Jesus was here to cause the literal release of the Jews from the Romans happen. After all, why wouldn’t God want to free the Jews from their captors?

As it happened, Judas may have been trying to force Jesus to move ahead with his agenda to free the Jews more quickly by causing things to come to conflict more directly with the Roman officials. In a sense, he may have been trying to “help things along”. But apparently, Judas didn’t expect that Jesus’ true mission was to come, suffer, and die for the sake of the whole world. Judas had the Jews in mind, but Jesus had all of humanity in mind. The devil seized this as an opportunity to mislead Judas and essentially make him a pawn in the playing out of the death of Jesus.

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Topics: Controversial Issues, Free Will

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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 22:1-6

    Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.

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5 thoughts on “Judas Christianity

  1. James says:

    I like the message given here. What people fail to understand is that predicting something isn’t causing the thing predicted to happen. The whole pre-destination idea creates the conundrum of: “If I’m pre-destined to go to Heaven, then I’ll go ahead and do what I want, because what I do will have been pre-destined and what I do will not matter.” The opposite of this is: “If I’m pre-destined to go to Hell, then I’ll go ahead and do what I want to do, because there is no hope for me, so therefore trying to live a Christian life is futility and no matter what I do will change that.”

  2. Isaac says:

    I really appreciate this message. One thing Jesus says that I have a hard time shaking, is when Jesus says “but one of you is a devil” referring to Judas as they dined. I’m not sure how Judas could have been a true disciple, and a devil at the same time. I realize that Jesus also turned to Peter at one point and said “get behind me Satan”, but I see that as Jesus actually addressing Satan, who was influencing Peter, but When he says “one of you IS a devil, it seems to denote some ontological reality of Judas’ nature?

    1. Emily says:

      Hi Isaac,
      Thanks for your comment. Below is a reply from Paul Eddy. Hope it helps!
      –Emily from WH Communications

      The language used for “satan” and “devil” is somewhat complex in the Greek language, and so it can be a bit of a challenge to properly translate it into English. The main problem is this: both the words “satan” and “devil” (diabolos) in Greek literally mean “adversary.” Because of this, they can be used simply to refer to a human adversary or enemy. In fact, the verb form of the word diabolos (devil) is sometimes used to mean “gossip.” On the other hand, both of these words can also be used to refer to God’s primary enemy — Satan.

      When Jesus says in John 6:70 that one of the 12 is a “devil” (diabolos) — referring to Judas — he most likely is simply saying that Judas is his enemy or adversary. Similarly, when Jesus says to Peter in Matt 16:23 “get behind me, satan,” once again he is most likely saying that Peter is acting like his enemy or adversary. In neither of these cases is it necessary to read the Greek word diabolos or satan as referring to the fallen angel, “Satan.”

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