The Book of Luke, Judas the Betrayer - Lesson 226
Luke 21:37Ė22:6, And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives. 38And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him. 1Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. 2And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people. 3Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. 4And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. 5And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. 6And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.
This scene takes place in Jerusalem during the week in which our Lord was crucified.
It is the week of his suffering, sometimes called the week of His passion.
He is, as usual, engaged in His Fatherís business, faithfully fulfilling His will by teaching daily in the temple.
He knows what He is to face this week, for He is God, but he keeps on keeping on in spite of His suffering, for He had a sense of urgency to be about His Fatherís business.
Having no home of His own He leaves the city each evening to sleep on the mount of Olives and returns to the temple each morning where multitudes have assembled early to hear Him.
It is the time of the feast of unleavened bread, that old feast that celebrates the Passover.
This was the observance of that event 1500 years prior to the time of the Exodus from Egypt, when the first born was passed over by the death angel.
Luke inserts an aside into this passage of the devious desires of those who hated Jesus Christ.
It is an aside concerning the chief priests and the scribes who were not in a celebratory mood.
They took no comfort in this long standing Passover tradition which was supposed to excite their memory of Godís hand of mercy.
They were supposed to remember wherein He showed to Israel the Passover requirements of a covering of blood on the door posts in order to spare the first born from the touch of the death angel.
Tradition had so desensitized them from the real meaning of the Passover so there was nothing to hinder them from their perverse and insidious plans.
Tradition is like that for tradition soon overtakes the heart felt memory of that which is to be celebrated.
So they conspired together as to how they might put Jesus to death for they feared the loss of their place in Israel.
But they also feared His great following by the people so they conspired to kill him in some way where the peopleís influence would be kept at a minimum.
And as is the usual case with Satan, he was in their midst, ever at the ready to assist in their cowardly deed.
He had found someone who would find opportunity to betray this innocent and sinless man in the absence of the multitude.
I imagine he watched carefully as they rubbed their hands together in a conspiratorial way, while picturing their arch enemy suffering a cruel death.
Satan had just the right man to help them bring this about!
For years he had been encouraging him toward this action.
So Satan entered into this man, named Judas Iscariot, one of only twelve who walked with Jesus during his earthy sojourn.
Judas was one of only twelve who heard the words of Christ, one of only twelve who saw and experienced the miracles of this man who brought healing to many, who fed the hungry, and gave sight to the blind.
But Judas was a betrayer in his heart.
Judas gave lip service to Christ.
Judas clothed himself in righteousness rather than being clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
He was the hypocrite of hypocrites, the king of hypocrites, and you can be sure that the true nature of a hypocrite will surely be found out.
He was a traitor to Jesus Christ who called him to be a disciple, a disciplined one to the words of Christ.
But he was a betrayer in his heart from the beginning and it all came out during this week of the Lordís suffering.
There are few names worse than being called traitor.
Some say a traitor is worse than a murderer.
In Dante's Inferno, the lowest circles of Hell are reserved for traitors.
Benedict Arnold of the Revolutionary War and the WWII traitor Vidkun Quisling provide synonyms for the word "traitor."
But the treachery of Judas is so infamous it puts to shame any other traitor this world has seen.
For Judas, one of the privileged twelve who personally witnessed the words and the deeds of Jesus Christ, turned against this Holy One sent from God.
How could this be, for Jesus Christ himself called Judas to be his disciple?
Luke does not give much attention to Judas and there is not really an abundance of information in the other Gospels either but the Gospels taken as a whole do provide a sequence of events which lead to the ultimate downfall of Judas.
Luke tells us of the call of Judas along with the other disciples.
Luke 6:13-16, And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; 14Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, 15Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, 16And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.
In this account and the other two gospel accounts of the choosing of the twelve, Judas is identified as the one who would betray Jesus, and is listed last among the disciples.
In fact, in many cases in the Gospels whenever Judas is referred to, he is referred to as the Judas who betrayed our Lord.
This fact that Judas had a false heart toward Jesus Christ did not keep our Lord from sending Judas out with power and authority to minister in the same way he did the other eleven disciples.
We can read of this sending in Luke 9:1-2, Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
There is no indication in scripture that Judas failed in this duty and we can infer that he not only preached the "gospel of the kingdom," but that he was used of God to cast out demons and to perform healings.
It would seem that Judas was only one of a number who performed miracles in the name of our Lord, yet without really being a child of God.
This is not far fetched when we consider the word of the Lord in: Matthew 7:21-23, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
We are not given to know who partnered with Judas but from Luke 9:6 we know that they all went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.
They all came back to Christ and told Him all that they had done.
Judas, without knowing Jesus as the rest knew him, experienced the power of God working through him, but without any advantage to him.
I believe we could assume that some people even came to faith through the preaching of Judas, but Judas himself did not really believe what he proclaimed.
It is not who preaches the word of God but it is the word of God that does the work of salvation.
God honors his word regardless of who proclaims his word.
But the fact that he was an unbeliever was known early in Christís ministry for Jesus Christ spoke of His betrayer in:
John 6:70-71, Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? 71He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.
And again Christ identified Judas as an unbeliever in John 17:12, 12While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
In John 6:70 Judas was called "a devil," and we see the fulfillment of that description in our passage here in Luke 22 where we are told that the devil entered into him.
It is clear from scripture that Judas was doomed to destruction.
He was never a believer even though he was given power and authority to perform miraculous works in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Judasí actions in Bethany at the supper served by Martha reveal his heart to us.
This event seems to be that pivotal event which put Judas over the edge.
This was the last straw to be put on his back which caused him to utterly fail.
We best read of this account from the Gospel of John.
Note how close in time this event was to his actual betrayal of Jesus Christ to the chief priests and scribes.
John 12:1-8, Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. 2There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. 3Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. 4Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simonís son, which should betray him, 5Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 6This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. (WANTED TO HAVE OTHERS THINK HE HAD PURE MOTIVES) 7Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. 8For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.
In this account in the Gospel of Luke, Judas alone protests of the lavish use of the expensive perfume.
But it is clear from the other Gospels that he was not the only one of the disciples who protested its use.
But most likely he was the one who first voiced a protest, and the others followed his lead, because they too were thinking along the same lines.
This kind of thinking is very prevalent when a person totally dedicates his or her life to Christ.
They will usually face a question like this.
Why do you want to waste your life in Christian work, which can be interpreted why do you want to waste your life serving Christ?
Donít pour out your life on Christ!
Take your life and use it in more profitable ways and then give a little back to him.
That is what Judas was saying to Mary. Donít give all that you have to this man.
Now John tells us that Jesus was the honored guest.
The use of the perfume was an act of worship on the part of Mary.
For Judas to view the use of the perfume as a "waste" was to reveal his lack of appreciation for the "worth" of the guest of honor.
He only pretended that Jesus Christ was Lord.
In his mind Jesus was not worthy of a gift worth one yearís wages.
Judas may have been able to judge the worth of the perfume, but he had not rightly esteemed the worth of the Savior.
John opens the heart of Judas by telling us his true motive, for Judas was a thief, motivated by his love of money.
Judas was the "keeper of the bag," the treasurer of the group.
The money seems to have been used for meeting the expenses of the disciples, as well as for giving to the poor (cf. John 13:29).
But Judas guarded the bag carefully for he was taking money from the bag.
It appears that in his mind all transactions should include some money going into the bag.
Perhaps he viewed that which would be left over from the sale of the perfume as his "commission," his percentage, his fee.
No one else seems to have known he was helping himself to the funds until later.
He loved money more than his Master for he betrayed his Master for money.
Judas was deprived of his commission from the perfume, which could have been a large amount.
He seems to have justified in his mind his selling of the Savior as getting what was rightfully his.
How deceitful and twisted the human mind can become, especially with the deception and temptation of Satan as a catalyst.
It was, then, at this supper that Judas made one of the most disastrous decisions of his life, the decision to betray the Master for money.
Everything would snowball from here on, but the decision was made, the payment was accepted.
All that was needed now was for the opportunity to arise and for the act to be carried out.
The decision of Judas to betray his Master, and his proposition to the Jewish leaders, caused them to change their plans and to set aside a decision which they had previously reached ó the decision not to attempt Jesusí arrest and assassination during the feast:
We read of their intentions in Mark 14:1-2, After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. 2But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.
They reasoned that arresting Jesus during the feast was much too risky because of his popularity among the people.
So they determined not to make their move until the feast was over but they did not take into account the plan of God which was that Jesus must be sacrificed as the Passover Lamb, at the appointed time.
It was the unexpected offer of Judas which caused the leaders to set aside their decision.
For them this was too good a deal to pass up.
In this way, the sinful betrayal by Judas was used by God to achieve His divinely determined purposes, therefore fulfilling prophecy.
The verse John 3:16 does not describe some event which just happened to come about.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 came about by a direct act of God in giving his only begotten Son to mankind and Judas was an important part in that transaction.