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Embracing Judas

Judas Iscariot is infamous throughout church history as the betrayer of Jesus.

The story of Judas brings up a heap of issues such as

Did Judas have a choice? Was the life of Judas predestined for evil?

Was his betrayal necessary for the salvation of humanity? If so, should he get some credit here?

Some say the sins and subsequent suicide of Judas forever condemned him to Hell – Could the atonement of Jesus not be sufficient for someone so instrumental in history?

What was going through the heart and mind of Judas as he hung himself?

The one question I’ve been fixated on for the past month comes straight from the Scriptures. In Matthew 27, Judas goes to the chief priests and elders, repenting “I have sinned for I have betrayed innocent blood”, to which the religious leaders respond “What is that to us? That’s your responsibility”.

This one breaks my heart. I know we as the church do it all the time. People come to us wanting change, acceptance, hope… and we leave them ‘hanging’. Who has committed the greater sin here? Could the church have prevented his death? I doubt Judas went to them seeking further condemnation.

What is that to us?

What if rather than ignoring those who we might deem as ‘too sick and twisted’, ‘too messed up’, or ‘too awkward’, we welcomed them? What if we didn’t simply acknowledge them, or pray and empty prayer, but took their sins as our responsibility? And what if, a big what if, someone was ‘predestined’ to a life of sin, so that you could learn what it means to truly love another human being?

What if we embraced Judas?

Photo by Irina Souiki

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • russ May 30, 2009, 6:27 am

    Hi Lon,

    1. I really like the red hands…very artistic.

    2. I am tired and have spent many hours on PhD revisions and theological blogging this week for new articles on thekingpin68 and satire and theology June 1. Plus I am on a new treatment for sleep apnea, and so I hope you can understand a short reply. Cheers my friend.:)

    3.Did Judas have a choice? Was the life of Judas predestined for evil?

    Within a compatibilistic (Reformed often) model (please search on my thekingpin68 blog if one is interested), Judas would have been a secondary cause of his actions (as could have been demonic beings, or angels hypothetically), and yet God was the primary cause of his actions. God wills all things and simultaneously wills human actions as the first cause. The human actions are free not in a libertarian sense as God simultaneously wills them, and as well Judas could only make choices within his nature (corrupted human via fall), but free in a limited but significant sense as Judas was not forced or coerced to act in a certain way, although he was definitely influenced. Judas and demonic beings would have evil motives in the self-embraced actions against Christ while God’s motives, and angels motives, if God’s servants were involved, would have been holy in the death of Christ.

    Yes, to both is the answer.

  • russ May 30, 2009, 6:40 am

    and angel’s motives, if God’s servants were involved, would have been holy in the death of Christ.

    Correction above, and I will add that I reason none of us respond to all the light of truth we can (Rom. 1) and we all embrace evil to different extents (John 3, Rom. 3, 6) even as within a Reformed model none can believe in Christ unless chosen (Rom. 8-Eph. 1) .

    Therefore, God would not be unjust in predestining a person like Judas to commit further evil for the greater good.

  • Lon May 30, 2009, 3:02 pm

    Hey Russ, thanks for the in-depth response – especially with everything you’re going through! I’m fairly aware of the case you’re making, though not as articulate in it as you’ve stated.

    I’ve got no real issues with God being just or unjust, bringing it back to the original post, (as sovereign as God is with all things), i wonder how just or unjust we are when we interact with those who come to us with the most blatantly unjust past…?

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