There are about twelve hundred prophecies in the Old Testament out of which almost three hundred are about Jesus. Some of them about his birth, some about the kind of life he will live and his ministry while some pertained specifically to his death and betrayal. One of those prophecies pointed towards the ‘Betrayer’ which later Jesus himself quoted when he was having his final meal with his disciples.
Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me. – Psalm 41:9
Judas the Betrayer
According to the above prophecy in psalms what Judas did was perhaps inevitable. However, when we read about Judas, we often jump to the conclusion that he was predestined to betray Jesus. For the fulfillment of the scripture he was chosen to betray Jesus and the same is echoed by Jesus in the below verse.
…But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’ – John 13:18
Judas was one of the twelve men who were closest to Jesus. They traveled all over Israel and were together in harsh times, when they had no food and were left to gather scraps (Luke 6:1) and during the times of plenty (John 6:12-13). He would have seen countless miracles and the forces of darkness subdue before Jesus. Surely he would have seen Lazarus raised to life (John 11) if not Jarius’ daughter (Mark 5:21-43) and the widow’s son (Luke 7:11-17). He had witnessed more signs than perhaps anyone but still could not commit his life to Jesus.
We know very little about Judas, son of James, but John writes that he was in-charge of the finances of the group and would often help himself from the collection bag (John 12:6). None of the disciples were perfect by any means but it seemed Judas had invited satan into his heart even while seemingly working for Jesus (John 6:70-71).
We must understand that is was Judas who invited satan into his heart and not Jesus forcing anything on him when He said,
…Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. – John 13:26-27
Not only had Judas made up his mind a long time ago (Luke 22:1-6) but Jesus even gave him the permission to go to the Pharisees.
So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” … as soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night. – John 13:27-30
Jesus would have definitely known that Judas was stealing from the offering bag but yet never reprimanded him. Similarly, Jesus knew of Judas’ intent all along but let him make his own decisions.
Jesus not only knows when we will betray him but he is with us even when we are going to the place to betray him. He continues to love us and would have welcomed Judas back had he repented like the other disciples.
Esau’s Rejection of His Birthright Foretold
When Rebekah was pregnant with Esau and Jacob she went to the Lord to inquire as to why there was a tussle between her twin boys. The Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.” – Genesis 25:23
Some say that Esau was predestined to serve his younger brother as God had foretold it before they were even born. Esau did not make any life altering decisions neither did he develop contempt for his birthright while he was still in his mother’s womb. But God prophesied that he will give up his birthright. How then could the events turn out any different?
Esau will have to give up his birthright so that the prophecy that God made to his mother should come true. Years later what God foretold about Esau did come true when Esau, traded in his birthright for a bowl of lentil soup.
Using the example of Esau and Judas from the new testament we end up thinking that we are all predestined for something and we have no other options.
Hezekiah’s Death Foretold
Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, was the 13th king of Judah. He was a God fearing king and even won an impossible war (Isaiah 37) just as God had foretold. But there is also a bizarre incident recorded in the Bible about him.
Such was the eeriness of this incident that it is recorded twice almost verbatim in two different books. Isaiah 38 and II Kings 20 both recount the time when God foretold Hezekiah’s death through the prophet Isaiah. But Hezekiah’s immediate reaction was not to accept his fate but rather he turned to the Lord in prayer and wept bitterly for compassion.
Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord. “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. – II Kings 20:2
He did not have to wait long but as Isaiah was leaving his palace, God’s words came to him again.
“Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ” I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.” – II Kings 20:5
Rather than taking a prophet at his word, Hezekiah approached God directly and his prayers were answered when God added fifteen years to his life.
God Knows our Hearts
God knows us in and out and knows our next move even before we have formulated it. We have this weird idea about God that He is favorable only to those who obey His word and punishes those who are against him. But God is the one and only God for the entire world.
He is for us and everyone else also. But like a possessive friend who does not want his buddy to hang out with anyone but him, we want to restrict God only to us. As much as God is for Hezekiah, God is for Esau, Judas and everyone.
The Redemption Plan
Redemption plan was in motion even before mankind was created. God did not wait for Adam and Eve to sin. He had a plan for our redemption all along.
Like in the case of Esau, God knows our choices even before our birth. Like Judas, God knows that we all will betray him at some point in our lives. He knows all that, yet He has planned a route back for all of us. Are we willing to come to him after our failures or accept our ‘fate’, that this is what our life is predestined to be from hereon?
In the beginning God created the heavens, the earth and the redemption plan.