After today's blog post there will be two more days left of the Luke challenge and then we would have Christmas day. From Luke 22 the events that will define whether Christmas fulfills its purpose was been introduced here. The events that will lead to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ was been shaped in this chapter. Judas is about to swing into action, the son of man was about to be crucified, and the purpose of his birth was about to be accomplished! Without the death and resurrection of Jesus, the purpose of Christmas would have been defeated!
THE FATE OF JUDAS
And in the same breath, I am wondering without Judas fulfilling his part in this historic event, we probably would not have had Jesus died, and without his death, no resurrection and without the resurrection, our faith would have been fake and be in vain!
I am wondering about Judas. Could he have avoided his fate? Jesus speaking here said:
"And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! Luke 22:22 KJV"
It was determined that the Son of Man would go and it was also determined by the hand of whom he would go - Judas Iscariot! What a cruel fate! Was Judas always a devil even when he was the follower by Jesus? The Bible didn't suggest this outrightly.
There are a few things that are written about Judas in the gospels. Luke wrote little about him, just like the other writers of the gospel. I want to believe these men of God wanted us to focus more on what happened at the cross than how Jesus got to the cross. Still when we piece together from the scriptures all that was written of Judas we can sequence his life.
Thus, although Luke’s account of Judas is sparse, we can see this sequence of events in the New Testament pertaining to Judas:
(1) Judas was chosen as one of the twelve
(2) Judas sent out as one of the twelve
(3) Judas’ betrayal foretold by Jesus
(4) Judas’ exposure to the teaching of Jesus, not only as to His up-coming death but also on the danger of loving
(5) The “last straw supper” when Judas was angered by the waste of money on the worship of Jesus, and at which time Satan tempted him to betray Jesus
(6) Judas’ seeking out of the Jewish leaders, who wished to be rid of Jesus, his striking a bargain with them, and receiving payment for his betrayal
(7) Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and His pattern of teaching in the temple and returning to the Mount of Olives at night
(8) The last supper, at which time Jesus again foretold of His betrayal, indicated that Judas was the one, and warned him of the danger
(9) Satan’s entry into Judas, after he took the bread from Jesus
(10) Judas’ betrayal of Jesus in the garden and Jesus’ arrest
(11) Judas’ remorse, suicide, and replacement
And from all these events we can observe the following about the life of Judas. And really when we read this what becomes glaring to me is that anyone can become a Judas. The truth is, Judas the traitor, was first Judas the Apostle!
THE MAN JUDAS
(1) Judas was a man who seemed, for a good period of time, to be a genuine follower of Jesus.
(2) Judas was a man who had experienced and had been a channel of God’s power.
(3) Judas was very much like the other disciples, who did not stand out from them, nor was he ever suspected by them as a traitor.
(4) Judas seems even to have been somewhat of a leader among the disciples. He held one of the posts, he was a treasurer.
(5) Judas’ downfall came from a flaw evident earlier in his life, in secret sin.
(6) Judas was a man who seems to have loved money too much and Jesus too little.
(7) Judas was a man who heard Jesus’ teaching but failed to obey it.
(8) Judas’ failure was progressive, taking place over a period of time, and by means of a sequence of decisions.
(9) Judas was not forced to sin by Satan but was sorely tempted and assisted in his fall.
(10) Judas was made vulnerable to Satan’s involvement by his sin of greed. Satan was able to get a “death grip” on Judas by means of his fleshly desires and their dominion in his life.
(11) Judas did not choose to follow Satan, but to follow his own lusts.
(12) While it is clear to the reader that Judas became possessed by Satan, we do not know that Judas was ever consciously aware of this. To put it differently, Judas made choices that resulted in his possession by Satan, but we are never told that he actively sought to be possessed.
(13) From Judas’ twisted point of view his sin was not all that bad (he merely pointed out Jesus), and it was justifiable (after all, he did deserve the commission—in his mind).
(14) Judas was a man who was not born a traitor, but became one, by a progressive sequence of wrong choices.
If our text teaches us a great deal about Judas, we also learn some important characteristics of Satan. Consider these characteristics:
(1) Satan can work freely through religious leaders, as well as through the secular powers (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
(2) Satan can work through believers (e.g. Peter, cf. Matthew 17:23; Luke 22:31; Acts 5:3) as well as through unbelievers.
(3) Satan is perfectly willing and able to work through secondary causes (like greed), rather than openly and directly. In particular, Satan works through the world (external pressure) and the flesh (internal pressure).
(4) Satanic possession does not always take the form of foaming at the mouth and unusual behavior. It may seem to act normal, even in a spiritual way.
(5) While Satan’s control is more evident to us in the life of Judas, he is ultimately in control of every unbeliever (cf. Ephesians 2:1-3).
(6) Regardless of Satan’s success in working through the lives of men, his activity is subject to the control of God and it ultimately produces that which God has purposed and promised. Satan’s plan to kill the Messiah was the purpose of God. Satan thought that killing Christ would thwart God’s promises, but it ended up thwarting him, forever. The cross of Christ has brought about Satan’s downfall.
I fear that while there are times that Satan is credited with things that are not of his doing, there are also times when Satan’s involvement is simply not detected. All sin, in the final analysis, is to his liking and is a part of his program and of his control over those who do not believe. Satan’s control in the lives of men and women seems to be strengthened over time, due either to his deception or due to the decisions that men make which give him a strong grip in their lives. Luke reminds us here that Satan is very much “alive and well on planet earth.”
I hope that we have seen that the way in which Satan worked in the life of Judas is like the way that he works in the life of every unbeliever. Satan promotes and entices men to act in a way that seems to be to their own best interest, but which ultimately extends his control over their lives. Satan’s way of working in the lives of the saints is not all that different. He seeks to influence us through the pressures the world exerts upon us and to stimulate the inner urges of the flesh so that he can have control of us indirectly.
This is why the word tells us in 1John 2:15-17 to not love the world nor the things that are in the world for when the love of the world begins to grow the love of God begins to die! The point at which the love of God dies in our lives is the point when Satan takes hold of us to be used of him, and sometimes we just don't realize, like Judas never realized!
How is it that the Christian can avoid the pull of Satan? How is it that we can win over the world, the flesh, and the devil? If the warning of our text is that Satan can work on (Luke 22:31) and through (Matthew 16:22-23) a Peter, the encouragement is that while a Judas will fall hopelessly, never to be restored, a Peter will fall only temporarily. We should be warned by the similarities between a Peter and a Judas, Peter could have been a Judas too, Satan suggested many things to him many times, but He always found his way back to God. We must never be so lost in our way that we can't find God again!
EVEN SATAN WAS USED BY GOD
In the final analysis, Satan in all his craftiness still ended up been part of fulfilling God's plan for man's redemption!
Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad and covenanted to give him money. And he promised and sought the opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude. Luke 22:3-6 KJV
What do you think was going through Satan's mind when he enters Judas to set in motion the plan that would kill Jesus? To Satan Jesus was about to be murder once and for all, to God Jesus was about to be glorified forever! To Satan Jesus will die and leave the stage, to God Jesus would die and live forevermore. It was this revelation Paul saw and proclaim in Corinthians.
"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory". 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 KJV/
This is the mystery of God's word and this makes us understand the import of what Paul said again in Romans 8:28 that all things are working together for the good of them that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. When we are on course with God those who seem to oppose us can be used by God to facilitate the fulfillment of his plan and purpose for our lives!