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

Judas, the Greedy Thief

We are continuing our meditation of the days before the crucifixion of Christ, looking especially at the person of Judas, thinking through what it could have been that prompted him to betray the Lord Jesus (Scroll further down for additional thoughts on Judas). Perhaps, it was the love of money that motivated Judas. He oversaw the finances for the party of disciples. When Mary, the sister of Lazarus, honored Jesus by pouring out her treasure (i.e. a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume) on his feet and wiping them with her hair, Judas was incensed at the “waste:”

4But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5“Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me” (John 12:4-8).

This event had happened just a few days before the crucifixion of Christ (John 12:1). Perhaps, the gentle rebuke added additional motivation as to why Judas would sell out Christ. There could have been some bitterness at the gentle rebuke, and the fact that he couldn’t get his hands on a year’s wages. He could see no value in someone’s treasure being poured out on the Lord’s feet.

Think of it. If one of your friends was just about to part with a year’s wages on some person’s feet, wouldn’t you see that as a bit excessive? It wouldn’t be if it was believed that this man was God in the flesh, which Mary did. The longer Judas was exposed to the truth about Christ and yet remained hard-hearted and unresponsive, the darker his heart became (Proverbs 29:1). How could Judas have seen Christ move in a gift of revelatory knowledge in knowing the name of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:5) and yet think that Christ would not be aware of his stealing out of the money bag?

Now, we return to our original questions about the responsibility and the intent of Judas.

What we have learned is that Judas was an unbeliever. A Christian has spiritual armor that is given to him that protects him against demonic attack and control (Ephesians 6:10-18), but someone who is not yet a believer can be used as a pawn in the enemy’s hands. Sometimes, even believers are not mature enough to deflect enemy thoughts and cast them down (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). An immature believer can be the mouthpiece of demonic attack on another. Jesus Himself had to confront Satan working through Peter. After the Lord told the disciples that He would be killed but would rise again, Peter took Jesus aside from the others for a chat:

32He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (Mark 8:32-33).

Satan could not enter Peter’s life as he did with Judas. He had merely cast a thought into Peter’s mind, and the ever impulsive Peter had acted on the thought, and spoke those words to Christ. Jesus immediately recognized that Peter was being used by Satan to deter Him from carrying out the Father’s plan. He rebuked the enemy for using Peter as a mouthpiece, much to the surprise of Peter. The enemy looks for every opportunity to cause disunity, and he certainly does not steer clear of churches. He joins them! Satan does more harm against God’s people by sowing weeds in the midst of the wheat (Matthew 13:25). Satan whispered into Judas’ ear and he obeyed him.

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