This is a disturbing passage on a number of levels
Luke 22:1 – 6
Judas agrees to betray Jesus
22 Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, 2 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. 3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. 4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6 He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.
Jesus’ greatest enemy Satan is at work. Jesus had previously accused the religious leaders of doing the work of their father – Satan (John Chapter 8). The Bible tells us that this world is under Satan’s rule. We also remain under Satan’s rule unless we have come to Jesus in repentance, put our trust in him and he has become our Lord.
The religious leaders who should be the authority on God and his ways have completely missed the boat when it comes to Jesus. They have not believed him and have no intention of submitting to his rule as Lord. Their true intentions of hanging on to their status and power are evident – they want to get rid of Jesus. He is a threat to them. But instead of fearing God they fear the people. The many followers of Jesus would riot if they publicly tried to take him down. They need another way to do this more privately and Judas provides that opportunity. They become delighted when Judas provides the way to eliminate Jesus from their world. They are happy to pay him for the privilege.
What can we make of Judas? We are told that Satan enters him. How can that happen? After all Judas was one of the twelve, the inner circle who lived and ministered with Jesus for 3 long years. He heard the teaching; he saw the miracles. The religious leaders in cahoots with Judas were totally responsible for the death of Jesus and yet in his sovereignty God was orchestrating all these events to ensure that this Lamb of God would be sacrificed on this Passover day as part of God’s rescue plan for humankind, thus fulfilling the Scriptures that pointed ahead to this day.
As I consider Judas, the other disciple with a shaky track record, Peter, comes to mind. Later after he saw what his betrayal of Jesus led to; Judas acknowledges his sin. But the next step is the taking of his own life. After Peter disowns Jesus he cries bitterly, he sticks with the others and finds forgiveness and restoration in the risen Jesus.
Acknowledging that Satan rules this world we need to be alert to the influences this world has on our relationship with Jesus. Do we follow Jesus for what we think he will give us and then get disappointed when he fails to bless our plans? Or will we follow him simply because he is our Lord and in him, we find life?
Head: Is your head in a right relationship with Jesus: Do you know Jesus from the Bible – who he is? What he has done? How he fits into your life?
Heart: Is your heart in a right relationship with Jesus: Do you fear what people think? Or do you fear what God thinks? Do you delight in what God is doing in your world or do you delight only when things go your way?
Hands: What can you start doing this week to guard against the influence of Satan – or this world’s philosophy – in your life?
Dear Heavenly Father,
I find it disturbing that Satan could enter one of Jesus’ close disciples like Judas and lead him to betray your son in this way. It makes me wonder how easy any of us could be influenced by Satan in ways that would take us away from loving and following you. Please protect us from that. Help us to love you for yourself and not for what we might try to gain from you. Help us to delight in what you are doing in the world and in our church as your loving influence and your freedom from sin pervades the kingdoms of this world.
A song to listen to: See the Man
Living Church – Creek Road