Question 128:

Did Jesus know in advance that Judas would betray him? If so, then why did He not defend Himself?


Answer: According to the four Gospels, at the Last Supper Jesus says that one of the disciples will betray Him and hand Him over. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus refers to Judas, at least indirectly. This announcement of betrayal is foretold by the Psalm: Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted the heel against me (Psalm 41:10). The power of evil is potent even in Jesus closest circle of disciples.


Why did Jesus not defend Himself? Why did He not elude capture? It apparently became increasingly clear to Him that He would not escape a violent death if He wanted to remain faithful to His message of Gods unconditional love to all humankind. He will suffer the fate of Gods suffering servant (see Isaiah 53), who is rejected and killed, despite his innocence. Without resorting to violence Himself and without bitterness, Jesus accepts His death trusting in God. However, it is precisely this act that breaks the cycle of violence and contributes to the reconciliation of a world that is without peace. In obedience to God, Jesus follows the path of Gods suffering servant. He sacrifices His life for you and for all. He said this primarily at the Last Supper, and the Christian community celebrates this sacrifice when it celebrates the Eucharist. In the Eucharist Jesus invites the faithful to the dedicated service of others and gives them His strength in the power of the Holy Spirit to do this.


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