20 “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
If you hate Judas and believe he is rotting in hell then you will read this verse as Jesus condemning him to that fate.
But I don’t hate Judas and I don’t believe he is rotting in hell neither do I think Jesus condemns him there.
There are no doubt arguments for both sides. Some say that because of the translation it looks like Jesus is speaking of the one person, Judas. When others say in the original It can show that Jesus was speaking of 2 men, him and Judas. “It would be better for him (Jesus) if he (Judas) had not been born.”
What do I think this morning?
There are many people who have made such a mess of their life, the decisions they have made have been momentously destructive and have sentenced them to a life in prison (whether they are there literally or not). They have wasted their life. It would seem to them that it would be better if they had not been born. That is the powerful woe on whatever is left of their life.
Why did Jesus say this? Even this is harsh isn’t it?
It is harsh, without the help of Matthew, “Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “You have said so.” (26:25)
Matthew shows us that the conversation between him and Judas must have been whispered because if the others had heard they would have set upon Judas there and then that is for sure.
Therefore, Jesus in a last hour effort gives Judas the opportunity to repent and stop doing what he had planned to do.
It is like Jesus purposely says to Judas “what you are about to do will bring such sorrow and distress you will wish you had never been born.”
That’s how Judas ended prior to his suicide.
Maybe the Church should warn others not of eternal damnation (we seem good at that) but that there is no depth a man can plummet but it will only bring great sorrow into his life and that today is the day to opt out of that destructive path. There is a way that seems right to man but in the end it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12). It is only a life with Jesus that brings the true purpose for our existence. He makes sense of it all.