When it was evening, He reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, He said, ‘Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.’ And they were very sorrowful and began to say to Him one after another, ‘Is it I, Lord?’ He answered, …‘The Son of Man goes as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.’ Judas, who would betray Him, answered, ‘Is it I, Rabbi?’ He said to him, ‘You have said so.’” (Matthew 26:20-23a, 24-25 ESV)
Someone was going to betray Jesus. That was obvious even without a prophecy. Nobody could make the enemies Jesus made without getting killed in the end. And those enemies were willing to pay to get access to Jesus. Sooner or later, one of His followers would take the money.
But what if Judas had said no? Then it might’ve been Peter, or Andrew, or one of Jesus’ brothers. Judas’ name was not on the Old Testament prophecies. He volunteered for the job.
And what about those who say, “But Judas’ action resulted in good”? Is that a good excuse? No. There are plenty of people in the world who will gladly do whatever evil is tempting us. Volunteering to do evil is wrong—and just plain stupid.
Thank God, Jesus volunteered to do the opposite. He knew exactly what He was doing when He allowed Himself to be betrayed, tortured, and put to death. He chose this, knowing that it would save the people He loves—you and me.
We Pray: Keep my heart with You, Lord Jesus! Amen.
* What excuses have you heard for evil actions?
* Are any of these excuses valid?
* Was Jesus a volunteer or was He drafted? Why do you think so?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on March 18, 2023
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved