As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, we’re approaching the time of the crucifixion. The battle lines are being drawn.
Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people.
Luke 21:37-22:2 NIV
This section of Scripture shows us the two different groups. You have the people who are waking early to hear Jesus teach every morning in the temple. Then, you have the religious leaders plotting to kill the Lord, but afraid of the people.
This was a sad point in Israel’s history. Who Jesus was is less important than their political agendas. Of course, we have the same problem with this today in some Christian circles.
These leaders needed something to break the deadlock.
Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.
Luke 22:3-6 NIV
I think that Judas gets a bad reputation sometimes. We think of him as an evil, backstabbing, reprobate. I’m not so sure this is a fair assessment.
Look at some facts about him. He was one of 12 apostles, hand chosen by Jesus Christ (Luke 6:12-16). He healed the sick and cast out demons by the power of God (Matthew 10:1-8). Throughout his time as an apostle, he agreed with Peter’s confessions that only Jesus had the words of eternal life, and that Jesus was the Christ – the Son of God.
When the above verse says that Satan entered Judas, it brings up a number of thoughts. It’s a simple statement, but what does it mean? Was Judas possessed by Satan? There was a Greek word for possessed – the word used in this verse is not that word. The fact is that “entered” can mean a whole host of things.
I don’t believe that the Apostle Peter was possessed by the devil, even when Jesus said to him, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matthew 16:23). The devil’s idea may have entered Peter’s thinking, causing him to say this.
I believe this is the case with Judas. Satan’s thoughts entered him, and he acted on them. I think the following verse bears this out. It was at the last supper.
The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus.
John 13:2-3 NIV
This translation makes it sound different than the original. The actual Greek words say that the devil threw into the heart of Judas to turn over or surrender Jesus. In this verse the devil doesn’t possess Judas. He merely places the desire to hand over Jesus.
Why would Judas do this after all he saw and heard? I think it’s a matter of selfish desire. He wanted to see Jesus on the throne and the apostles ruling with Him.
I believe that Judas was trying to force the Lord’s hand. He felt that if Jesus was arrested, then the Lord would reveal His glory and claim kingship over Israel. Judas would not be the first person to do something evil with good intentions.
This should speak to us. Be careful of what you say or hear “in Jesus’ name”. Make sure it lines up with the known Word of God. Only then can you be assured that you’re in the will of God for you.
Question: When have you done something wrong with good intentions?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi
December 12, 2022 at 10:26 AM
Very Convicting! Oh how large is our need for the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.