Tuesday, September 9, 2014
THE SINNER'S CHOICE AND THE SAVIOR'S GRACE
Judas chose to betray Jesus. He took the piece of bread and "went out immediately; and it was night" (John 13:30). John, who loves to contrast light and dark, presents the night as a spiritual, not just physical, darkness. Judas chose to leave the light and join the night. How deep is the darkness that envelopes the soul of the one who chooses to leave the light?!
Satan influenced the choice of Judas "having already put into the heart of Judas ... to betray Him" (Jn. 13:2). Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas who ate it and "Satan then entered into him" (Jn. 13:27). Jesus commanded Judas, "What you do, do quickly" (Jn.13:27). Although possessed by Satan, Judas obeyed Jesus. He carried out the will of the Savior thereby accomplishing the grace of God. The idea originated with Satan, but the command came from Jesus; yet the choice was made by Judas.
The verb, "he went out," (εξηλθεν) is in the active voice meaning that Judas performed the action. The choice is his choice. The choice is not made for him by either Jesus or Satan. We can only speculate on the internal influences leading to his choice, but he makes the choice. Judas excommunicates himself not just from Jesus but from the disciples. Peter also betrays Jesus on that night, but he chooses to remain connected and so will receive the grace that Judas rejects. Excommunication is the choice of the unrepentant sinner to remove himself from the grace of God.
Judas chose to enter the darkness under the influence of Satan even as he obeyed Jesus. This alchemy of wills led to the death of Christ, planned before the world began, and our salvation, initiated by the grace of God.