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The new testament teaches Judas as a disciple/creation of Jesus is sadly never forgiven/blessed/prayed for in return for his devotion to Christ's commandments in John 13:27. - Although a creation of Jesus (based on Colossians 1:15-16), Judas may have seemed worthy to be saved like all of humanity - yet Jesus declares Judas is "doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled" (John 17:12) for helping Jesus make "peace through his blood, shed on the cross" (Colossians 1:20).

Why did Jesus create Judas only for the predestined purpose of becoming doomed to destruction - based on [Colossians 1:15-20] + [John 13:27, 17:12] ?

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  • It seems like this question combines a lot of individual questions together: 1. Is "The Son of Perdition" definitely a reference to Judas? (Cain?, Matthew 18:6?) 2. Was Judas pre-destined -- i.e. couldn't have chosen otherwise? 3. Did Judas choose according to his own desires? (if so, his free thoughts and desires might be worthy of destruction anyway -- even if his action was not free) 4. Could Jesus have done otherwise (not created Judas, or created him somewhere else)? 5. Would it have been better for Jesus to do otherwise? 6. Did Jesus do evil by not doing otherwise?
    – Xantix
    Apr 26, 2021 at 16:10
  • 1
    @Xantix - When compared to 1 Kings 22:22-23, the same event occurs in Judas. * If Micaiah in 1 Kings 22:22-23 was revealing true events, then Judas had no choice + Judas repents when realizing what he had been forced to do (unlike Zedekiah who instead of repenting assaults Macaiah). Apr 26, 2021 at 16:22
  • Is God restraining the world's evilness and simply loosening those restraints as 2Thess.2:7 ? Jul 7, 2023 at 20:36

8 Answers 8

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We Don't See the Big Picture as God Does

Perhaps we should recognize that God's foreknowledge does not demand predestination (yes, we were predestined to be saved if we appropriated that salvation through Christ (Eph. 1:11)). Rather, He always knew what Judas would do of his own volition, just as God did with Adam and Eve.

Such quandaries do not violate our free will merely because God knows about them; the choices we make are ours alone. In reference to John (13:18, 27), Albert Barnes once acknowledged:

"It does not mean that Judas was compelled to this course in order that the Scriptures might be fulfilled.”

We might also see another instance of this in the fact that Christ was delivered up to death by the determinate counsel and the “foreknowledge” of God (Acts 2:23). Nonetheless, those responsible for Christ's crucifixion were accountable for their malicious acts. It is incorrect for someone, perhaps a thief, to suggest: "I can't help myself; I was predestined to do this."

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  • 1
    So Judas was not destined to betray Jesus? - Why does John 13:27 illustrate Jesus nudging Judas to betray him, instead of reminding Judas that he still has a choice to not betray him? Apr 25, 2021 at 17:59
  • @Xeno Your answer is in a good tradition of Boethius' "Consolation of Philosophy" b. 5. I like ancient theology, for, as one good friend of mine, an expert in ancient fathers of the Church told me: "Theology is either ancient, or not theology". Apr 25, 2021 at 18:33
  • 1
    @חִידָה -- We are all predestined, but only in the sense that God already knows what we will do. That does not mean that we don't exercise our volition. Remember, Judas was a thief: "Now he [complained], not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it." Judas seemed on the periphery interested only in "making a buck." Fortunately, we appear to find him demonstrating contrition for his acts (Matt. 27:3-5). Many feel, as do I, Judas went to destruction, but I would suggest we don't know that for certain.
    – Xeno
    Apr 25, 2021 at 19:22
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    @חִידָה -- Allow me to quickly add that Judas had already conspired to betray Christ. It seems he was willing and able to do what he did, and was particularly susceptible to the Devil's influence. We can be like that if we allow "the world" to overwhelm our Christian principles. Judas was ripe for Christ to encourage him merely to complete what he had already started. When God needed someone to preach to the Gentiles, he raised a man like Paul (Acts 9) -- same sort of thing.
    – Xeno
    Apr 25, 2021 at 19:35
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    @Spirit Based on what I've learned, God (the Father) is totally omniscient. That is, there is nothing that God does not know. I view our world as analogous to a loaf of bread, where God sees the whole loaf. We experience our lives inside one of the slices. There's something else: An all knowing God can never learn anything because to do so would mean that yesterday, He did not know something that He does today. But, of course, in an eternal, timeless realm, there is no "yesterday." If there were, there would have to have been a day before that, and so on, indefinitely, and that cannot be.
    – Xeno
    Apr 26, 2021 at 5:09
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The question is a classical example of a logical trap called "complex question" (I do not say that you intentionally and malignantly make this trap, of course, far from it!), that is to say when a question implies a position, that is regarded as self-evident, while it is not at all so! Here, in this question is sneaked a position that Jesus created Judas with a purpose to betray Him; however this position is outright wrong ontologically and theologically (I used those terms interchangeably here) for all-kind God not only does not create anyone for the purpose of sin, but cannot create anything for the purpose of sin.

Oh, Calvin, poor Calvin, who poisoned your mind?! In turn, you have spread your venomous doctrine to half an Europe, from where it spread to Americas and this venom still works, it still destroys millions of souls through calumnious and impossible ideas about God of infinite and unrestrained goodness, who loves all men and wants all to be saved!

Why is this position utterly preposterous? That's why: sin is a privation of truth/goodness, but God is creator and cause of only truth and goodness, not of its privation. The privation of and deviation from a good purpose which God has for all His creatures without exception is grounded on nothing else than abuse of created free will. Thus, God did not at all create Judas with a purpose of sinning, and to claim this is a gross blasphemy on all-kind God, and even an insult to those famous sinners who sinned with a full understanding that they sinned on their own accord, on their own sovereign abuse of free choice, even while knowing and fully convinced that God's plan for them was not that. There is a certain demonic dignity in free sinning, but if you relegate this to God's plan, then you both blaspheme God and deprive the sinners of their demonic dignity, stealing a merit of sinning from them and giving even this merit to God, as Jan Calvin 'graciously' did.

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  • What is the final sentence meant to imply? Are you saying that Calvin taught that God is the author of sin? That would be a mighty big claim that needs justification.
    – curiousdannii
    Apr 26, 2021 at 9:30
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    Did Macaiah blaspheme God in 1 Kings 22:22-23? Apr 26, 2021 at 16:24
  • @curiousdannii Yes! listen to Calvin's own words: "Nothing can be clearer, that He blinds the minds of men, and smites them with giddiness, intoxicates them with a spirit of stupor, renders them infatuated, and hardens their hearts. Even these expressions many would confine to permissions as if, by deserting the reprobate, he allowed them to be blinded by Satan. But since the Holy Spirit distinctly says, that the blindness and infatuation are inflicted by the just Judgment of God, the solution is altogether inadmissible. He is said to have hardened the heart of Pharaoh and confirmed it." Apr 26, 2021 at 18:52
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Steve can help
    Apr 26, 2021 at 20:19
  • @חִידָה Macaiah here means the same as Moses when the latter writes that "God hardened the pharaoh's heart" (Exodus 9:12), that is to say, God allowed evil to happen, not caused it. The cause of evil in both cases - Moses' and Miccaiah's - is the evil heart of men and their succumbing to evil impulse. Apr 9 at 18:12
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The passage you are listing does not actually imply that Judas was doomed to destruction so that the scriptures might be fulfilled.

In the ESV for example

While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

Note the use of commas: I have guarded them, ... , that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

Here the verse is stating that Jesus kept and guarded the disciples in order to fulfill the scriptures. The fact that Judas was lost is mentioned as an aside/footnote and not as a necessary condition for the fulfillment of scriptures. So at least here, no claims are being made that Judas was predestined for destruction as part of a grand design.

I think to find the answer to the heart of your question, however, you should read Romans 9-11 (exerpt below)

10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion,[b] but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

EDIT

Upon request I will add a bit of my own interpretation here, although I would encourage the reader to form their own opinion by reading carefully, thinking deeply, and taking the whole council of scripture into account.

Additionally, a lot of arguments about Arminianism vs Calvinism and predestination/election boil down to these passages, and it is not my intent to engage in that sort of debate (volumes have already been written over this debate).

From my perspective, Romans 9-11 (as well as other passages such as the one mentioned in Tony's answer) seem to clearly point to the fact that God creates both vessels of wrath prepared for destruction and vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory. So why, as your question implies, would God make someone 'doomed for destruction'? This gets at the question's implicit framing of "free will" vs "determinism", but I personally think this is a false dichotomy, the answer, in my opinion, is both.

Very briefly/imprecisely: God created us and gave us free will. The Bible, however, is very clear that, out of our own free will, we all will choose sin over God, condemning us to hell. Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins and redeem us from this state, but, due to our sin natures, we all naturally choose to reject this atonement. God, however, out of his own grace, intervenes for some, allowing them to see the error of their ways and to repent.

The ones that choose sin willingly are the vessels of wrath and, of their own free will, are unrepentant. (the free will part) You could say God prepared [them] for destruction in the sense that he a) created them and b) knew before they were created that they would (freely) choose to be unrepentant. (the pre-determined part)

Now for the vessels of mercy we have the people that God a) allowed to see their true sinful condition (the pre-determined part) and that then freely chose salvation (the free will part).

So, in short, my answer would be yes. God, in a certain sense, creates vessels of wrath like Judas, and they do fulfil a purpose in his plan. This is not cruel or incompatible with free will, however, as these people freely choose sin and freely choose to stay in sin. From our side of the cosmic coin this looks like free will, but from God's side of the coin (outside of time and with perfect knowledge) this is all foreknown and thus looks like predetermination/predestination.

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  • Welcome, you started well, but then failed to 'highlight' the part of a long passage that references the point you want to make., and then to conclude with why it is important. We can all read Romans, your point is what this post is about.
    – Steve
    Apr 26, 2021 at 6:21
  • My mistake, I was trying to illustrate that the bible itself addresses this very kind of question and to point the poster back to the original source of truth. I know the interpretation of Romans 9 can be very controversial, and so rather than potentially engage in that debate I wanted to allow the poster to read it and come to their own conclusion. I also feel like I sufficiently answered the original question "does John 17:12 say Judas was doomed for destruction?" If there is a problem with this approach I can try to revise my answer.
    – Cole
    Apr 26, 2021 at 6:34
  • :) like i said, you started well! Maybe a hint for the second 1/2?
    – Steve
    Apr 26, 2021 at 6:41
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There is nowhere in the Bible a concept of a 'free will' except in the case of Adam and Eve prior to their fall, the angels, prior to their fall and the new Adam, Jesus the Messiah of God who never lost his free will. For us, therefore there is just a 'will' born enslaved to sin, until our wills are made free by being united into the new Adam at which point we also loose our free will being slaves to righteousness by participation with Christ's nature. This conversion, from slave to sin, to slave to God, is by faith in the gospel. Of course part of being a slave still involves 'a will'. This 'will' is just enslaved because we are not able to stop 'freely willing' certain things. We are not free outside of the power domain yet are free within it. In the first Adam we can't stop freely willing sin. In Christ, we can't stop willing love to God.

17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Ro 6:17–18). (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Prior to glory its a little complex because both (not free) 'wills' exists together, one the shadow of the other.

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Ro 7:21–25). (2016). Crossway Bibles.

So when we say, 'Why did God make Judas such-and-such'? or 'Why did God raise up Pharaoh for this-and-this'? We are asking why God choose, what he chose before creation, for the things we observed in time. We are asking why he formed 'slaves to sin' into certain destined shapes? We are not denying that he would rather that they be saved, that stand a unbendable given, due to his love for even his enemies (refer to Jesus as proof). The question itself, is in some sense, unanswerable because we can't fully understand why God does anything, as we would need to have an infinite mind to know. However the scripture does reveal some reasons for what God has done. They may not be all the reasons bu they are at least something we can understand.

For example why did Christ die for Judas even though he was destined to not benefit by his death? In some sense, he had no choice in the matter, theoretically at least, because the prophecy could not be made false in time what was determined before time. Just as the world could never have destroyed Bethlehem, before Christ came from that town, or the prophecy could never have been fulfilled. No, not everyone in the world united as one, could have ever destroyed Bethlehem wit their free-will, before it was the resting place of the Son of God born to offer salvation to even a vile Judas! Nobody really has 'free will' in this sense, so as to overturn Gods sovereign destiny assigned to us.

To the human mind this does seem unfair because we hate the idea. Even I partly hate it as I explain it because I am proud and foolish. But what does the scripture say?:

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? Romans 9:14-24

God has revealed one reason Judas was destined to perish the way he did. To further make known his glory (in one way or another) to us who are saved.

The problem with the fact of Gods sovereign choice and free will in his election of who will be saved, who will fall under conviction, who will be drawn to Christ, and who will be left blind, rejected and finally condemned to eternal punishment, is that we can't resolve this truth (and its is true) with other truths, such as God's love of his enemies, including Judas and Pharaoh.

Yet faith holds both to be true without needing an explanation knowing that God's mind is far past ours and not fully knowable. We let him resolve what we can't know and worship him in his lovely excellence, both in power and terrible might and in humble mild compassion and condescension. He punished his own son, in love, for us poor and miserable fools who know basically nothing at all. Yet we always point the finger back at him as being unjust. It's comical because we are so fully unjust yet he is so fully just. yet we still wag out ridiculous fingers at him, even the best of us cry 'it's not fair' like little toddlers on the playground of ideas. He patiently knows and comforts our doubts and test our faith because he know we are frail and weak minded.

The final answer can only be one thing, worship:

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

        34       “For who has known the mind of the Lord, 
  or who has been his counselor?” 
        35       “Or who has given a gift to him 
  that he might be repaid?” 

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Ro 11:33–36). (2016). Crossway Bibles.)

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  • It is a sobering realisation that even someone who spent over 3 years living alongside Christ, witnessing his miracles, signs, and words of truth (which are words of life), could still prefer to satisfy his own lusts (e.g. for money and political power) , and to betray one who had done him no wrong. Does that not show how righteous God's judgment of Judas was, and how depraved sinful human nature is?
    – Anne
    Apr 6 at 15:56
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    @Anne - yes very true.
    – Mike
    Apr 7 at 4:28
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Hold up a bit - not so fast! The Bible does NOT say that God creates for destruction and over-rides our free choice - it says the opposite! See appendix below.

Jesus' statement about Judas being "doomed to destruction" was a statement of simple fact on the basis of the choices he had made. Please do not confuse God's foreknowledge with any idea of God's forcing people to make a decision one way or another. Judas was free to choose just as much as was Peter and the others, and us.

APPENDIX - Fee choice of salvation

  • John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
  • John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave …”
  • John 12:32, “I [Jesus] … will draw all people to myself.”
  • John 12:47, “… for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”
  • Acts 17:30, “God … commands all people everywhere to repent.”
  • Rom 3:23, 24, “… for all have sinned … and all are freely forgiven...”
  • Rom 5:8, 10, “… while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. … if, while were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him by the death of His Son, …”
  • Rom 5:15, “But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s [Adam’s] offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to the many.” [Note the same word, “many” applies to all people.]
  • Rom 5:18, “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all people, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all people, resulting in justification of life.”
  • Rom 11:32, “For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.”
  • 2 Cor 5:14, “…we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.”
  • 2 Cor 5:18, 19, “…God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ …”
  • 1 Tim 2:3, 4, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
  • 1 Tim 2:6, “[Jesus Christ] gave Himself as a ransom for all people.”
  • Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God appeared bringing salvation to all people.”
  • Heb 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
  • 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
  • 1 John 2:2, “He Himself [Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours [Christians to whom John writes] only but also for the whole world.”
  • Isa 53:6, “We all like sheep have gone astray … and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Freedom of choice is another of the implicit teachings of Scripture. However, a few passages come close to being explicit. Let us examine a sample of the Bible data.

  • Gen 2:16, 17 – the original choice given to Adam and Eve to choose service to God.
  • 1 Cor 10:13 – God is gracious enough to only allow temptations that we can bear. This reveals that God recognises the effect that sin has on our will; sin weakens our will but God helps by both strengthening our will and only allowing temptations that we can bear.
  • 2 Peter 3:9 – God is patient wanting all people to decide for Him.
  • Gal 5:13 – We are given freedom by God but the privilege should not be abused.
  • John 7:17 – People can choose to do the will of God and such a choice bring further enlightenment.
  • Josh 24:15 – The Israelites were encouraged to choose God.
  • Mark 8:34 – Choosing to serve God involves personal sacrifice which is why it is such a serious decision.
  • Rev 3:20 – God wants to be with us but we must choose to allow Him into our lives.
  • Gal 5:16, 17, John 8:34-36 – Sin enslaves but the Christian life by the Spirit gives freedom.
  • Isa 55:6, 7 – Isaiah encourages the people to choose service to God over all else.
  • Deut 30:19, 20 – Moses encourages the people to choose between life and death.
  • Exe 18 – an entire chapter about the consequences of choice which ends with the plea, “Repent and live!”
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  • Interesting - So Judas cannot be forgiven for betraying Jesus after repenting, but Peter can be forgiven for denying Jesus (basically betraying him)? Apr 25, 2021 at 22:03
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    @חִידָה - I did not say that - Judas could be forgiven (Mark 3:28) but Judas did not want to be forgiven because his mission had failed to find a significant position in anew kingdom (as he mistakenly understood it)
    – Dottard
    Apr 25, 2021 at 22:05
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Does God restrain evilness in man and is God required to restraint evil in man? Is not all mankind freely choosing evil over the Lord on their own wills .

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I believe that the devil made a conjecture with the punishment of Judas so that the spirits would become misguided by feelings of a lack of net worth due to his holding the money bag. The levites who put Christ on the cross also committed Jesus to a life of going back and forth between heavans and hells to gather his disciples who all need to be forgiven. We all need to be forgiven.

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  • Genesis 4:7 states explicitly Cain had the ability to rule over sin and chose not to. How is that not free will? Apr 5 at 16:06
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Even if one wants to take the extreme position the OP suggests, Jesus created Judas only for the predestined purpose of becoming doomed to destruction, we must not forget the Law provided a means for atonement. When Judas realized his sin he appealed to the Law:

Matthew 27 (ESV):

3 Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”...

Judas went to those whom the Law required to make atonement. He confessed his sin. At this point the chief priests should have gone to Pilate to stop the execution of an innocent man. Then they should have instructed Judas on the proper offering. Instead of fulfilling their duties......They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” (Matthew 27:4)

The chief priests demonstrated the deficiency of the Law.

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