How Was Judas Influenced to Betray Christ?

We are continuing from the last few days thinking through what it might have been that influenced Judas to betray Christ. We are concluding that Satan had made inroads in Judas’ life by his habit of stealing (Scroll down for previous meditations). In the normal course of things, there is a natural barrier in the human soul that prevents spiritual attack. Long ago, even before Abraham, Satan had a hard time with a righteous man named Job. He couldn’t do anything against Job without God’s taking down the “hedge” that protected him.

8Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”  9“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land” (Job 1:8-10).

In this incident, for His own purposes, God allowed Satan to go beyond the hedge of protection, in order to test Job’s faith by allowing Satan to attack Job’s children, his possessions, and later, his health as well. The result was that Job’s faith was found to be strong, and his blessings were returned and multiplied to him. This passage teaches us that God has a protective hedge that Satan cannot penetrate without God’s knowledge, permission and control. If Satan had total authority on earth with nothing to hold him back, chaos would reign completely. After all, he comes to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10).

There are things, however, that can lower our defenses and invite satanic activity in our lives. For example, being involved in the occult opens the door to the enemy, but the main way Satan gets access to a life is through habitual sin. The enemy seeks to get a toehold into the door of our lives, and then a foothold, and after a foothold, a stronghold. The more territory we release to him through habitual sin, the more he will take. Give him an inch, and he will take a mile. The temptation occurs first in the mind, and the more we yield to the thought, the more ground in our actions the enemy takes. The more we yield our will to sinful thoughts, the more a compulsion becomes set in our character. God spoke to Cain after he had murdered his brother Abel and said:

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:7).

Judas was not coerced into doing what he did. Satan did not use external force to move Judas’ feet to the religious leaders. Judas willingly went along with the inner motivations that Satan sowed into the ground of his heart. These thoughts came to him as he had listened to the enemy’s voice. A person becomes a slave to the one whose voice he obeys:

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16).

As Satan repeatedly whispered and appealed to different motives that he had found in Judas, he became a willing tool of the enemy, ready to do his will. Jesus had tried through his teaching and through outright warning to the disciples that one of them had been infiltrated by the enemy:

70Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71(He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.) (John 6:70-71 Emphasis mine).

The mind is the seed-bed of our character and actions, and Judas had allowed the enemy to visit and sow seeds of destruction into his heart. To have evil thoughts come at us is not in itself sin. It becomes sin when we harbor those thoughts and act upon them. It has been said by one wise person that we cannot stop a bird from flying around our heads, but we can stop it from building a nest there! Francis Schaeffer once said, “The spiritual battle, the loss of victory, is always in the thought-world.” A man is not what he thinks he is, but what he thinks, he is. Judas’ natural barriers had been worn down through the enemy’s nesting in his mind and heart. Let this be a warning to all of us to keep our thought life pure.

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. To view, click here. Click on study 58. (Luke 22:1-6). The Betrayal of Jesus. Keith Thomas