What a haunting verse, “and Satan entered Judas”.
We aren’t talking about an outsider, we aren’t talking about Herod, a Pharisee, or a Roman guard. This is a disciple, one of the twelve (which Luke is quick to mention), of whom Satan has entered.
Throughout the gospels there really isn’t much about Judas Iscariot. There is no call story, only that he was the treasurer for the disciples (John 13:39). If they needed to purchase something, he was the guy. He held the money. They trusted him.
Curious that one of the twelve was a tax collector, Matthew. Why not give him the money, surely he could have been the resident treasurer. The problem with Matthew was that no one trusted tax collectors, so most likely the disciples adamantly lobbied Jesus for anyone but Matthew to be the treasurer.
Fast forward a couple of years and it’s the “untrustworthy” tax collector that penned a gospel account of Jesus that the church continues to cherish and love centuries later. Judas though? The one who the disciples trusted enough to handle the money? Nearly all the world knows he is the one who betrayed Jesus.
We must acknowledge, however, that Jesus is not caught off guard by the betrayal of Judas. In John 6:64 we are informed that Jesus knew from the beginning who would betray him.
But back to the whole Satan entered a disciple thing. This isn’t a demonic attack, Judas isn’t dealing with a demon, or demons. Satan himself, the father of lies, the murderer from the beginning, the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy has entered a disciple of Jesus. Three years ago Satan got it handed to him by Jesus in the desert, now Satan thinks he is going to finally exact his revenge on Jesus.
Instead of a disciple casting out a demon, as they were given authority to do, (Luke 9:1), the leader of demons has entered a disciple and is about to have a field day.
How did all this come to be though? How does Satan enter a disciple?!?
A few suggestions that perhaps give us some clarity.
First, Judas was not the only disciple to be attacked that week. Just a few verses later, in Luke 22:32, Jesus informs Peter that Satan was out to have him too, but Jesus prayed that his faith would not fail.
Amazing to see that the prayers of faith from one person have the power to intercede for the lack of faith in another person! If only we lived like this today! I suggest that prayer is a weapon against the possession of Satan, because we are submitting to God.
Second, Judas followed but was never transformed. Perhaps, Judas was a witness to all that Jesus said and did, but he never abided in Jesus. The sad truth is that Satan or demons usually enter people when they give permission in their lives. We give permission when we abide in greed, bitterness, withholding forgiveness, and other works of the flesh. Judas clearly had a thing for money and greed, Satan saw this and made his move.
Saints, we can know the stories, go through the motions, say the prayers, read the Bible, yet never truly be transformed. We can follow but never abide. We can have the form but not the power. This is a danger and we must be aware. We must not be ignorant of Satan’s schemes (2 Cor. 2:11) because he is always on the prowl (1 Peter 5:7).
Before the Passover, before the arrest, before the trial, before jail, before being tortured, before the cross, before death, Jesus was betrayed by one of his disciples.
+Put yourself in the shoes of Judas, what do you think led to his decision to betray his rabbi? Put yourself in the shoes of Jesus, why would you allow Judas to follow you all those years, just for him to betray you?
Luke is Pastor of Discipleship to the community of saints, in Christ, at Nashville UMC.