‘I am not talking about all of you; I know those I have chosen. But the scripture must come true that says, “The man who shared my food turned against me.” I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe that “I Am Who I Am.” I am telling you the truth: whoever receives anyone I send receives me also; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.’ (verses 18-20)
Read John 13:18-30
A pastor once told me that ‘fore-knowing is not fore-willing’. Just because God knows what we are going to do doesn’t mean that he makes us do it.
Jesus, of one substance with the Father, knew all things. He knew that Judas was going to betray him. So does that mean that Judas had no choice, that he was ‘destined’ to hand Jesus over?
Most definitely not. God is not a God who controls. His love, like all true love, involves freedom. The freedom that God gives us includes the freedom for us to say no to him. The whole of the Bible is the story of God coming to his people and offering his love to them, offering his promises to them. In fact, he even gives us the power to accept.
But he never forces. Judas could have said no to the evil forces that were tempting him. But he didn’t. And so he experienced the guilt of his sin. He died a terrible death.
And so did Jesus. But the consequences of these deaths were very different: eternal death or eternal life.
Dear God, thank you for the freedom you allow me. Thank you for your love. Amen.
by Gregory Graham, in ‘Living Water for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 2001)
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