“The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.” Mark 14:21

Nearly thirty years ago I and a few of my friends went to see the highly controversial movie “The Last Temptation of Christ,” by Martin Scorsese. While I could list a number of biblical and historical inaccuracies that would give justification for placing this film on the short list for the all time worst movies about Christ, there is only one scene I want to consider today.

In Scorsese’s movie there’s a scene where Jesus approaches Judas and convinces him to go to the priests and betray him to them. Judas doesn’t want to do it but ultimately submits to doing what Christ has asked him to do.

Here’s the thing about this scenario that Scorsese concocted. It completely removes the element of betrayal. Judas’ actions are ones of obedience not betrayal.

But Old Testament prophecy and Jesus own words predict that he would be “betrayed” and that the one responsible would carry such a load of guilt that “It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.” This would not have been true if Jesus had had to convince Judas to do the deed.

When we set out to make trouble and then find that we have gotten ourselves, and perhaps others, into trouble neither Jesus, nor his Father, nor the Holy Spirit are ever responsible for the trouble and associated guilt we’ve gotten ourselves into. The Godhead may foresee and know what foolishness we’ll get ourselves into but at no time will they ever share in the planning and execution of the wrong doing. We sinners are responsible for the sinful actions we take, not God.

But it’s so like the mind of Satan to inspire someone to try and paint the acts of sinners against Christ as being something different than what they really are. For if he can sow the seed that leads us to believe that we’re not really sinful we’ll never make the decision to reach out to Christ for salvation.

Only as we simultaneously admit our own guiltiest and confess Christ’s love and willingness to save will we ever be able to trust in him to be our Savior. And that ultimately is our fundamental need.

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