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Bible Gem 1190 - Playing with Fire (Luke 22:3-6)

July 18, 2019

 Satan entered into Judas and he goes to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus. Seemingly, Judas willingly becomes a pawn in the hands of the leaders to betray his Master. What would possess him to do that? Was it that he became demon possessed and satan took him over? Or was there a more gradual process? If it was a sudden demon possession, what precipitated the event? 


What is the meaning of satan "entered into" Judas, "took possession of" Him. Some see this as meaning that Judas didn’t have any options, Satan took him over. That is very convenient isn't it? It is not my fault, Satan made me do it. Yes, the notion of demon possession is true, I have seen it first hand. But to suggest that it is not our responsibility is nonsense. When we dabble with the things of the devil we can be under the delusion that it doesn’t matter. I can always just stop when I want to. Don't believe it. Another whispered lie of the devil who came to rob, kill and destroy. When we allow the devil or devilish things access to our lives we yield control, if not directly to the devil in the sense of demon possession then certainly to the habits that have been formed that consume us. I sense Judas was playing with fire, always thinking he could control it. I have heard testimony from people to the extreme extent where they thought they could enter into a deal with the devil, giving themselves over to demons or the demonic always believing they could use it to their own end. No no no. You don't use satan for your own purposes – he uses you. 


Some see Judas' initial motivation as being that of money. Notice all three gospel writers pick up on the matter of money. The chief priests and officers are looking for a way to kill Jesus at the time Judas goes off to discuss with them how he might betray Jesus. How incredible! One of His own switches sides and arranges to hand Him over.  Notice how Luke puts it different from Matthew and Mark who record Judas as one of the twelve. Luke however writes "belonging to the number of twelve". With that construction he has skillfully indicated that although he was numbered with the twelve he was not really part of them in his heart, in terms of his loyalty. Maybe his lips were with Jesus but his heart was far from Him to borrow the words from Isaiah.  


This has been no sudden betrayal. This has evidently been building up in Judas. There is no indication in the text that after satan entering into him, Judas was not operating out of his own desires or willful intentions. There is no demon possession here to the point that "the possessed" lost all ability to reason or make his own decisions. John makes it clear that this was a process over a longer period of time. John 6:70-71, 13:2 and 13:27. Can you find anything that might have set Judas on this course of betrayal?


But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, *said, 
"Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?" 
Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.
(John 12:4-6)


We tend to think that it was Judas who said it was a waste and became indignant but it was all of the disciples not just Judas. However John words indicate to us that something was not right deep in Judas heart.  While he had control of the money box as the treasurer for the disciples it seems that satan had already made a play for his allegiance earlier than the meeting with the chief priest and officers of the temple guard. There was a darkness stirring there already. 


Some don't see it as a blatant betrayal. They appeal to the fact that word [paradidōmi] has the sense betray but there are other multiple senses:  to surrender,  yield up,  transmit,  bring forth, cast, commit, deliver (up), give (over, up), to hazard,  recommend. Maybe Judas was not deliberately betraying Jesus but rather was pushing Jesus to pick up the scepter and rule. Many has tried to make Jesus king. To push Him into the role they want Him to assume. They figure He has come to rule and therefore to overthrow the Romans. So let's help Him and push Him to show His hand. Was that Judas' motivation? Or was it purely sinister and came from the dark world? Was it motivated by money and avarice? Hardly, 30 pieces of silver would not be enough to compensate for the fallout.    

Remember that John tells us that the disciples themselves didn’t immediately suspect Judas. It was not like it was obvious. (John 13:21 – 25) It was not like Judas was the obvious choice among the disciples because he had been acting in a way which aroused all their suspicions. In short, be careful with the pacts or the life direction you set for yourself, it could come back to bite you. 


Notice the fact that "betray" is mentioned twice, once in verse 4 and again in verse 6. Much and all as some might like to explain away Judas' complicity in this act the strength of Luke's focus is betrayal. If he had planned to force Jesus hand to pick up the kingship,surely the fact the officers of the temple guard were present would have indicated to him something more was in the planning. I am sure the chief priests wouldn’t have hidden their delight and would have betrayed their true feelings. 


No, Judas entered into this agreement with the devil and with the chief priests knowingly and willing. It is only later, after the event that he realized the enormity of what he had done.  Now of course his name is synonymous with betrayal – of being a Judas. Just as well the text makes it clear which Judas it was who betrayed Jesus. Remember there were two of them. Fortunately we know the betrayer to be Judas Iscariot, Judas from Kerioth. 


Let it be a warning to all of us, to watch out for yourself. Don't let anything take hold in your heart which you can cannot be comfortable with if it were brought into the light and clear for all to see.

There is more to come on this theme. Watch for it too.  



If you're betrayed, release disappointment at once so  that bitterness has no time to take root.


Be careful of  rationalizing. We find “good reasons” to justify the betrayal. He tells us he only lied because . . .  We make excuses for them but betrayal is betrayal. 


For there to be betrayal, there would have to have been trust first.


You won't be able to ask Judas why he did it when you get to heaven; he won't be there.  







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