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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Could I Help It?"

March 17, 2006

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Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, "Surely not I, Rabbi?" Jesus answered, "Yes, it is you." Matthew 26:25

As presented on *The Lutheran Hour® by Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, March 17, 1963.

A Greek determinist philosopher had just beaten his slave. The slave protested, “Don’t you believe that I was predestined to make this mistake?” “Yes,” the philosopher replied, “and I was predestined to beat you for it.”

If ever there was a man who might have pleaded that he was the helpless victim of circumstances beyond his control, it was Judas Iscariot. He might have said, “Could I help it?” Doesn’t the Bible say that Satan entered into the heart of Judas; that Judas betrayed Jesus in order that the Scriptures might be fulfilled? What part, if any, did Judas play as a man with moral choice in the drama that turned out so tragically for him?

Judas decided and acted. It was not a robot who formulated the plan to betray Jesus. Judas was one of the Twelve, a trusted associate and friend. He went and asked a familiar question, “What will you give me?”

This is not the end of the story. Judas might have changed his mind. Before and since that time, people have decided to do what they know to be wrong and then have changed their minds. Some are moved by fear of discovery, others by thoughts about the consequences. Nothing moved Judas to change his mind, however. As a free man, he decided to betray Jesus. As Judas freely betrayed Jesus, Jesus acted freely to save us. He did not "have to" die, because He was without sin. But He "gave" His life freely as a ransom for all men.

Jesus, thank You for giving Your life for me. Give me the strength to freely give my life in thanksgiving to You. Amen.

Taken from A Message of Hope: Proclaiming the Cross (selections from messages broadcast on *The Lutheran Hour, celebrating 75 years of proclaiming the promise).

Copyright © 2006 by Lutheran Hour Ministries

*The Lutheran Hour is the longest-running Christian radio broadcast in the world. It is a production of Lutheran Hour Ministries. For more information, visit

Today's Bible Readings: Numbers 17-19    Mark 15:1-25

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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