Blessed… On Free Will

47 While Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, came. With him was a large crowd carrying swords and clubs. They had been sent by the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 His betrayer had given them a sign: “Arrest the man I kiss.” 49 Just then he came to Jesus and said, “Hello, Rabbi.” Then he kissed him.

50 But Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came and grabbed Jesus and arrested him (Matthew 26:47-50, Common English Bible).

Some argue that in our lesson for today Judas didn’t have a choice. It was his destiny to betray Jesus. It was the reason he was placed on earth.

That thinking would mean that Judas’ whole purpose in life was to betray Jesus. It was the only reason he was placed on the earth.

Those who believe in predestination would say, “Yes, that is correct. Judas was predestined to betray Jesus.”

I have a great deal of trouble with that line of theological thought. If God is love, and Scripture in 1 John tells us that is the case, then how could “love” predestine a person to carry out an act that is evil?

The way I see it, Judas had a choice. To say Judas had no choice then we are left with two alternatives. Either God is directly responsible, because God pulls all the strings, for evil in the world, or God cannot exist. I reject both ideas.

When we read the Gospel narrative, Judas had devoted a significant portion, three years, of his life to following Jesus whom he believed to be the Messiah. Judas has an epiphany of sorts. He came to realize Jesus could not be the Messiah because, in Hebrew understanding, the Messiah was going to come and throw the hated Romans out of the country. Here we find Jesus, not only talking about his death, he is talking about his death by the hands of the Romans. He can’t be the Messiah if he is dead, can he?

Actually, Judas was right in that assumption. What Judas never understood was the idea of resurrection, the idea of overcoming death. Jesus had to die in order to rise again. You can’t have Easter without Good Friday.

So, coming to a conclusion in his mind that Jesus cannot be the Messiah, Judas decides he is going to have something to show for these last three years. He takes the money from the Pharisees and tells them where Jesus is and then, to make sure they knew the right man to arrest, Judas gives them a sign, he would kiss the man on the cheek.

When Judas is before Jesus, Jesus has a simple sentence to say, but in this sentence we see Jesus telling him to exercise his free will. “Do what you came here to do.” It isn’t, “Do what you have to do.” Do what you have to do would imply predestination. Do what you came here to do implies he had a choice, it implies free will. Or, at least that’s how I see it. Judas made the ultimate decision of free will. He betrayed Jesus.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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