Judas Iscariot had freewill just like every other human that ever lived. Judas also had to face dealing with his own arrogance – just like every other human that ever lived.
Judas had at least 4 previous lives where he studied and grew in spiritual understanding. In these 4 previous lives, his heart and mind were open and his open spirit and consciousness were developing. Previous to his life as Judas though, he also had a life as a prince in a nearby area of the Middle East (east of Israel, eastern Saudia Arabia to Iran). He had grown in consciousness from the spiritual learning during the 4 lives, and had been able to be born into a role as a prince whereby this learning could have benefited his people.
But, he took a skewed path. As the prince, with his innate spiritual intelligence, and his political position and lineage, he became arrogant, seeing himself as better than his subjects and seeing himself as above others. He thought more of his own position than he did of others well being. He believed more that he knew better how to decide people’s lives instead of them deciding for themselves because he thought of himself as being so much smarter than others.
This motivated his choice to be a Zealot during the life as Judas, as well. As a prince in a previous life, he made the political choices of his land. With the Romans in rule over the land now, it conflicted with what he thought the way things should be. He opposed Roman rule, opting instead for Jewish rule. (He sought Jewish rule even unconsciously and eventually consciously to the point of Judas imagining being back in political power in a position of influence under Judas’ vision of having an Earthly kingdom with Jesus as king.)
In the life as Judas then, spiritually speaking, he did have the spiritual understanding to be one of Jesus’ Apostles. But, arrogance was his issue that he was meant to face and overcome. (Each Apostle had a specific dominant issue that had to face and overcome.)
This arrogance also came through in what Judas told his own followers. Judas saw himself as an elevated person once again, and passed this perspective on to his own followers – hence the Gospel of Judas points to Judas as being in a “special” position. Jesus tried to give Judas warning of what Judas’ path would lead to, but was unable to influence Judas to resolve this issue of arrogance enough to change Judas’ intentions, Judas’ beliefs as a Zealot, and Judas’ attempt to rid the area of Roman authority.
Judas’ decision to betray Jesus came from this arrogance – believing that he knew better than others what path the Jewish people should take. He believed that a physical king was what the Jewish people needed, instead of Roman rule.
Believing that Jesus was going to be around for a long time, he sought to force Jesus to take the throne. Judas knew that Jesus wouldn’t go up against the Romans on His own. Instead, Judas believed that Jesus would “defend” his place on the earth in order to stay on earth. So, Judas sought to force His hand.
Jesus had shown his ability before to avoid being caught or hurt by those that were against him. When Jesus gave Himself over willingly to the Romans, Judas was as surprised as anyone could be. He had seen before Jesus avoid others that sought to hurt Jesus.
As the hours passed, Judas realized what he had done and how he, himself, had destroyed everything he had tried to force to make happen. Judas could not live with what he had done to Jesus. Judas chose Judas’ will, rather than God’s will for Judas – God’s will for Judas being to sacrifice his own arrogance. With the awareness that he, Judas, had destroyed all that he had wanted to have happen, he took his own life.
Had Judas chosen to face his arrogance and overcome it, this would not have stopped Jesus’ crucifixion. Those that sought to end Jesus’ presence in the land would have found another way, and within a very short time. Jesus had enemies from among those that feared losing their positions of authority. They found Judas to be a willing convenience, but until he came forth, they were working on coming up with what way would work best for them to seize Jesus.
History has Judas as being an evil accomplice, but Judas was really guilty of misunderstanding the role of Jesus as well as misunderstanding the role of himself. Judas is guilty of attempting to force his choice of the political way that people would go. Judas was still thinking he was the prince of that previous life – placing himself above others – choosing others lives for them – forcing Judas’ ways and choices onto others.
All the Apostles had issues to face and overcome. Judas’ was arrogance, thinking he knew better than God how this world should move forward.
We can see in many places all across the globe that this still happens among us all – when we think we know better than God how things should happen, and when we think we know better than God how other people’s lives should unfold. But, more and more people across the globe, we are learning that self-determination is a human right, too, and human rights are innate to all.
Arrogance is when we place ourselves above others – thinking we are greater than others – and therefore, we are better at deciding others lives for them. However, humility, is not thinking that we are less than others. On the contrary, humilty is when we recognize that we are equal to every other human being – equal in the spirit that God has created within each of us – equal in the capacity for good or evil – and equally loved by our Creator.