”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.” Luke 22.1-6
It’s the greatest betrayal in the history of the world. Nothing compares to the moral compromise Judas made to turn Jesus over to the Jewish ruling class of religious leaders. He was one of his trusted advisors, one of the chosen twelve. He was recruited to become a disciple, to learn, to love, to then in turn make other disciples. But in the end, he gave it all away for a measly amount of money and a name that would be tarnished forever.
When Satan entered Judas, v.3, he went to turn over Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior of the World. When Satan entered Judas, he became someone different. He was filled with greed, envy, jealously and sin. When Satan entered Judas there was an indwelling. Judas was no longer a disciple, no longer the man he was created to be, he became a tool for the devil.
It’s not good news for Judas or Jesus. If Jesus had been accepted by the Jewish ruling class would he have had to die? If Jesus had been welcomed by sinners, would he still have gone to the cross? Would Jesus have had to suffer if Judas had not betrayed him? We often say that Jesus was born to die and this is true. He was the Lamb of God. But it need not be so if each of us, starting with Adam and Eve in the Garden, had said “yes” to God rather than the wiles of the devil.
The Jewish leaders also entertained the devils schemes by approaching Judas with a bribe. They were fearful of the people (v.2), and of losing their position and influence. They too were filled with greed, fear, evil and self-righteousness. They left God a long time ago and like Judas, said “yes” to Satan.
Every moment of every day we are given choices to follow God or the devil. Hopefully, if we’ve accepted Christ and chosen to follow him, the temptations lesson as we put on the armor of God, are filled with the Holy Spirit, and live daily with the Risen Christ in our hearts. But the temptation remains even for believers. Paul speaks about the battle of his flesh in Romans 7.19, “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” And this was Paul. Are we any stronger than Paul?
The good news remains that we have a helper, the Holy Spirit. And we have the promise of 1 Corinthians 10.13, also written by Paul, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Though we may be tempted, we need not give in to sin. Just say “no” to the devil and “yes” to the Christ.
Even though Judas failed miserably, this does not have to be our story. The indwelling of God in the hearts of believers is more than enough to defeat the enemy and win the battle. For this is why Jesus came, to redeem us. To cleanse us. To help us. On our own we were like lost sheep who had gone astray, but with Christ, we are confident and strong children of the King.
Will you live as a Child of the King this day?
”O Lord God, you are so good. I find myself tempted daily to turn from you. But your way is best. You are my provider, sustainer and good Father. Come now, Lord God, fill me with the power of your Holy Spirit that I might share the contagious love of your grace. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen