It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.
- John 13:2
The question arises as to whether Judas Iscariot was simply a pawn. What he did brought about the death of Jesus, which resulted in salvation for all of humanity, didn't it? Yes, but let's consider this: just because good came despite his betrayal of Jesus, it still does not justify it.
At the cross, two forces, so to speak, were at work. Both God the Father and the devil were moving toward the same event: the death of Jesus Christ. The devil wanted Jesus silenced and stopped. He wanted Him to cease and desist. On the other hand, God the Father's objective was for Jesus to atone for our sins. So the objectives were completely different, but in a sense, they moved toward the same event.
But here is what we need to consider: Judas was doing the work of the devil. It is also important to note that he initiated the betrayal of Christ (see Matthew 26:14). Judas initiated it. Judas set it into motion. No one forced him to do that. Judas was responsible for the decisions he made.
What came about was used for the glory of God, but it certainly was not the devil's intention. Judas was not the victim of circumstances or the passive tool of providence. He made this choice all on his own. Yes, the devil came along and inserted that thought into Judas' brain to betray Christ. We read in John 13:2 that "the devil had already prompted Judas, [a] son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus." Judas could have resisted that temptation, just as we can all resist temptation. The fact is that the devil found a willing tool in Judas. Judas took the bait, ran with it, and betrayed the Lord.
Remember, it is not the bait that constitutes temptation. It is the bite.