(Jesus said) "For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!" (Luke 22:22).
Read Mark 15:17-21.
The sin Judas is plotting is not unforgiveable, but he has spent days plotting his betrayal. With each passing hour he pushes Jesus further and further out of his heart.
But Jesus clings to Judas. He strives now, before the act, to stir Judas' conscience; to help him see the horror of what he is about to do. Better to bring him to repentance here and now, where Jesus can assure him that he is forgiven and at peace, than wait until after the fact when the chief priests turn a deaf ear to him (see Matthew 27:3-4).
If Judas repents and turns from this sin, he will in no way jeopardize God's plan of salvation. Once Jesus has prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He will be willing to turn Himself over to those who seek His life. Jesus will go to the cross and death as the Father has determined.
The Lord can give no stronger warning than His words, "Woe to that man by whom He is betrayed." Woe is a word that foreshadows the agony and desolation of hell. Jesus clearly points out Judas' guilt in choosing this course-and reveals the end of this sad road if Judas will not repent and seek his Lord's forgiveness.
Our Savior's unfailing love is incredible. Even at the moment of the betrayal in the garden, He will try once more to bring Judas to repentance and faith. But in love God never forces us to repent and believe. He holds out the free offer of grace, forgiveness and eternal life, but He gives Judas, you and me the freedom to walk away, even to our own eternal destruction.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, forgive my stubborn waywardness, and bring me to repentance, faith and salvation. Amen.
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