the role of Judas

In working my way through the Gospels, I came to Mark’s account of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. It is a story we’ve all heard hundreds of times. However, as I read it this time, an interesting question came to my mind. What exact role did Judas play in betraying Jesus? In Mark 14:43-44, we read the account of his betrayal of Jesus. Judas appears with a crowd, a mob, if you will, that was sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders. He had arranged a signal that the one he kissed is the one they should arrest.

Here is my question. What exactly did they pay Judas to do? What did they get for their 30 piece of silver? The chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders knew who Jesus was. In verse 48 of the same chapter, Jesus even alludes to this when he says, “Am I leading a rebellion that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me.”

An issue that has become a hot topic among conservative evangelicals is Calvinism. At the risk of over simplifying this complex issue, it is essentially the tension between the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. First, let me say that people who love God and have studied God’s word much more than me net out on both sides of this issue. Down through the years, many other people have had questions about the role of Judas (I found this out by reading Wikipedia!). There are some very interesting concepts about his role that people have come up with!

It seems to me that the role of Judas is perhaps one of the most poignant examples of how the sovereignty of God and the free will of man intersect. Judas was not merely some robot that was pre-programmed to take Jesus out. Yet, his role in the betrayal of Jesus and His consequent death was a part of God’s grand plan of redemption for all mankind!

So, when the subject of Calvinism comes up, here is my position. I believe in both the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. I don’t understand it, but somehow they coexist to accomplish God’s ultimate purpose which is to bring glory to Himself. If we could understand or explain it completely what fun would that be? That’s often our problem–creating a logical explanation for everything. The end result is that we think we’ve explained the unexplainable. God must find that rather humorous! My God is way bigger than I could ever fathom or explain.


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