>By Allen White


When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”


They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”


Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”


Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”


Jesus answered, “You have said so.” Matthew 26:20-25


Judas’ betrayal was no surprise to Jesus (Psalm 41:9). It had been planned long ago. In fact, prophets foretold how much would be paid (Zechariah 11:12), that the money would be thrown in the temple (Zechariah 11:13), and what it would eventually purchase (Zechariah 11:13). Jesus had Judas’ number all right.


Jesus was a Master of bringing his disciples up to speed. Since Judas had so recently agreed to the betrayal (Matthew 26:14-16), he might have even been surprised at Jesus’ knowledge. Jesus wanted His disciples to be prepared for the events that would soon unfold.


God is not surprised by any choice that we make. In fact, while God constantly influences us, if we persist, God will allow us to carry out what we have determined to do – even if it’s to our own detriment.


Could Jesus have prevented Judas from betraying Him? Of course, He could. There is no greater force in the universe than the power of God. Could Jesus have tried to change Judas’ mind? He could have persuaded Judas quite convincingly. But, Jesus knew His mission: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).


When Jesus tells Judas, “It would be better for him if he had not been born” (Matthew 26:24), He is not cursing Judas for agreeing to the betrayal. Jesus knows the torment that Judas will experience for betraying his Messiah. Jesus wouldn’t want to be in Judas’ shoes. It’s a dangerous thing to be on the wrong side of God.


Will God forgive us for what we’re about to do? God is always willing to forgive us. The question is if after committing the act, would we even be in a place to seek forgiveness?


What are you contemplating today? Do you understand the consequences of your actions? Have you “played the movie forward” and thought through all of the possible outcomes? You certainly don’t want to put yourself in the place where you wished you’d never been born.


While we don’t always understand God’s ways, we do understand that His ways are better than ours (Isaiah 55:9). We also have to understand that often our ways are foolish (Psalm 1:6). As Ed Young, Jr. has said, “You are not what you’re feeling right now.” God thinks far more of you than that.


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