“Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed…”
This is one of the most poignant statements made by Jesus. It is also one of many that goes to prove that the death of Jesus was not willed by God and that Judas was acting completely out of his own free will. Even on the question of free will alone it must be asserted and many people may have already come to that conclusion that God does not influence or disrupt the free will of man. If, however, the arguments prevailing today about the death of Jesus were to be carried to their logical conclusion, then Judas must be accounted innocent since he was forced by God to betray Jesus.
This, however, must be a ridiculous conclusion as it negates our initial conclusion that God does not interfere with the free will of man. How then do we solve this conundrum? If God does not interfere with the free will of man, how then do we explain the betrayal of Jesus? We have to keep shifting the posts if we want to arrive at some sort of conclusion which conclusion will never harbour the truth because it fails to take into consideration one most important factor: the Perfection of God.
It is this Perfection of God that most of us have not understood and which has led to so many impossible explanations and interpretations whereas the matter is really quite simple. If we understand what perfection really is then there would have been no room for the confusion that now prevails in the explanation regarding Jesus’ death and His betrayal.
Perfection means immutability, an impossibility of change. It also means justice. If we regard God as Perfect, then His natural Laws which He has woven into Creation are also perfect and immutable. This immutability and perfection therefore precludes the possibility of his interfering with the free will of men to achieve some particular purpose.
If God is just as He must be if we regard Him as perfect, then it is also impossible for Him to interfere with the free will of men if these same men are to be subject to His Justice. If this is therefore the case, there could have been no question of His interfering with the free will of Judas Iscariot and there could have been no question of Jesus making the statement in Matt 26:24 “…but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man, if he had not been born…”
This statement alone is enough to destroy the present day interpretation of the death of Jesus. The fact that Jesus used the word “betrayal” is enough for us to draw the right conclusion, for a betrayal is a betrayal, no matter how we try to gloss this over. Jesus then was betrayed by Judas, nothing more and this action he took upon himself completely out of his own free will and must thus suffer the consequences, hence the statement “…Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed…”
This simply means that Judas had done something wrong. He had gone against the ordinance, the Will and Laws of God by this act of betrayal. Woe therefore to him as he must suffer a terrible consequence for his deeds. If, however, Judas had done nothing wrong but was fulfilling the Will of God, then there would have been no need for this statement. Jesus would even have congratulated him for fulfilling his mission and for allowing himself to be used in the Will of God.
That Jesus never did this but even condemned this act of betrayal is a testimony that His death was not in the Will of God and that He Himself did not want it. It was forced on Him through the envy of those who feared that they would lose influence among the people through the clear explanations of the Will of God He was offering. Finally in Judas Iscariot they found someone who was willing to betray his Master.
Even Judas himself knew that he had done something wrong and he said as much in his statement in Matt 27:4 “…Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood…” Now if Judas himself realised that he had done something wrong, then why do we refuse to do the same and accept such simple truth. He even committed suicide. His conscience never allowed him any rest. He could not live with his conscience. Now why is that? The conscience is the voice of truth that allows us to know how we stand at any particular moment and also allows us to know right from wrong. In the case of Judas, it is obvious what his conscience told him.
In the same way we should all listen to our inner voice to see if we had not been neglectful in these most important of questions. We should never stifle the warning voice of our intuitions against accepting wrong interpretations in matters of faith. We should examine the Word of Jesus ourselves and see if perhaps these words do not come closer to our understanding than the many interpretations that debase this Word.