God’s Will, Human Choice

While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.”

Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.

And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”

At that time Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled. (Matthew 26:47–56)

Jesus’ knew that his death on the cross was inevitable. And he knew that Judas would sell him out for a bag of silver.

But until the moment Judas made his decision to betray Jesus, Judas had no clue. He had been a follower, convinced that Jesus was the Messiah. But one day, maybe all at once, maybe gradually, something changed for him and so he had changed, too. Even though Judas was foreordained to be Jesus’ betrayer, he made his choices freely. God did not force him, twist his arm, or talk him into something that he didn’t want to do.

Although God has absolute power and authority, he has chosen to give people their freedom. Somehow, God accomplishes his will through the choices we make, whether they’re good or bad. Judas made an appalling choice, but by it he accomplished God’s will.

Judas demonstrates that we have the freedom to make whatever choices we decide we want to make. We might want to be careful, therefore, how we exercise the freedom God has granted us.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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