Lessons from a Betrayer: Luke 22:1-6

Read the Transcript

As we have moved through the final week leading up to the cross, we have just one more stop to make before zooming in on the night Jesus was arrested. By this point in the week, the disciples likely knew and realized that Jesus was leaving them, but they didn’t fully grasp how or really why. However, they did ask some good questions that help us understand what the world would be like leading up to His return.

However, before the gospel writers shift onto the details of the last supper, both Matthew and Mark chose to include the supper we began our year and week with. This supper was when Mary anointed Jesus’ feet. While neither Matthew nor Mark tagged Judas as the disciple who was offended by Jesus’ actions, both of these gospels describe what Judas did right after this supper, and Luke summarizes both the introduction and response, and Luke rightly attributes Judas’ actions to their true source.

Let’s read about what happened from Luke’s gospel. Our passage can be found in Luke, chapter 22, and we’ll be reading from the New Century Version of the Bible. Starting in verse 1, Luke tells us that:

It was almost time for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover Feast. The leading priests and teachers of the law were trying to find a way to kill Jesus, because they were afraid of the people.

Satan entered Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. Judas went to the leading priests and some of the soldiers who guarded the Temple and talked to them about a way to hand Jesus over to them. They were pleased and agreed to give Judas money. He agreed and watched for the best time to hand Jesus over to them when he was away from the crowd.

About the only think Luke doesn’t tell us in this passage is why Judas Iscariot let Satan enter him. The other gospel writers fill in this detail and it was because Jesus pushed back at Judas’ condemnation of Mary for her expensive gift the night that we started this year by focusing on. John even tells us in his gospel that Judas’ remark wasn’t because Judas cared about the poor, but because he helped himself to the money and this gift could have helped his not-so-secret thievery.

Judas Iscariot appeared to resent not being included in the inner circle of disciples, and He wanted to make a name for himself. However, Judas runs into the challenge that most everyone faces when they want to be known: Will you be known for your good deeds or for your bad deeds?

When we look at the disciples and which ones we can recognize or name easily, we have the three closest disciples, who were Peter, James, and John. Most everyone who knows disciples knows these three first. But after these three, only four other disciples are easily recallable, at least to me.

First is Andrew, and his claim to fame is bringing people to Jesus. Andrew brought Peter to meet Jesus, and he also brought the boy with a lunch to Jesus when there was no other food. Andrew is known for bringing people to Jesus – and this makes him a fisher of men while also being a fisherman.

Next is Thomas, and his claim to fame is his doubt. While his story doesn’t end with doubt, his big statement about doubting the word of the other disciples after Jesus’ resurrection brings him his fame and this title. Even if Thomas was satisfied and believed after seeing Jesus personally, He represent all those who have a tendency to doubt if they haven’t seen something personally.

Aside from Judas Iscariot, the only other disciple that stands out is Phillip, and he is known for occasionally speaking up and asking the questions that others are probably thinking but to afraid to ask.

Lastly, we have Judas Iscariot, who is infamously known for his betrayal. While searching for a way to be known and to make a name for himself, Judas could have chosen any of these other three roles. Just because Andrew was known for bringing people to Jesus, Judas could have chosen this role as well. In the same way, Judas could have joined Phillip as being one who asked challenging questions.

However, Judas let his desire to be known lead him to be known as the betrayer. While being known as the betrayer fulfills his desire, it is probably the least desirable way to be known.

The temptation Judas faced is a temptation we all face in varying degrees. This temptation is the desire for fame and glory. This is the root of Lucifer’s transition into Satan in heaven, and while Lucifer had the status and the glory, he became bored with it and wanted more. In our star-crazed culture, we face a similar temptation.

Unfortunately, it’s easier to be known for bad than it is for good. But while this is the case, most of those who are known for bad are only known for a limited time. The bad they did will eventually fade into history.

However, those who choose to be known for good will be remembered forever. Even if our memory fades or if we didn’t know the good at the point it happened, those who have focused on loving others and helping where they can are remembered by God, and they actually model a part of His character.

When we look at God and how He acts in the world today, we don’t find Him stopping every evil thing. While this might cause some to doubt, it is only because they don’t understand why God might choose to do this. However, tucked within the bad that God allows are amazing opportunities for good. Whenever a disaster strikes, good people mobilize and jump in to help. One terrorist or natural disaster reveals dozens, if not hundreds, of people stepping up to help where they can.

Part of God’s character is the amazing ability of bringing good out of bad situations. While I don’t fully understand how He always is able to do this, I’m sure Satan hates this fact.

The details in our passage lay the foundation for this very truth. While it seems tragic from an earthly perspective that Jesus would let a betrayer into His group of disciples, or that someone who had been with Jesus for 3+ years would let Satan enter him so easily, the facts that this happened don’t speak negatively about God or about Jesus.

God and Jesus gave Judas Iscariot every opportunity to change his heart and his life, but he refused. When we look at our passage and the religious leaders, we discover that God’s timing supersedes our timing. The religious leaders didn’t think they would be able to arrest Jesus during the festival, and they planned to wait until afterwards. Without Judas’ betrayal, Jesus’ crucifixion wouldn’t have happened in the same way it did.

However, through the negative of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal, we have Jesus’ sacrifice for us, and we have the amazing news that His death gives us the opportunity for a new life with Him. God is able to turn negatives, even the betrayal of His own Son, into amazing good for His Story of redemption!

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

Always seek God first and trust that He knows what He is doing from an eternity perspective. While things might not always seem to make sense from our perspective here on earth, trust that when we reach heaven, He will be able to answer every question to our satisfaction.

Also, always pray and study the Bible for yourself to grow your personal relationship with God. While a pastor or podcaster can share ideas with you, always take what you hear or read and go back to the Bible to confirm or deny its validity.

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or fall away from where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Year of the Cross – Episode 20: When the gospel writers tell us that Judas Iscariot let Satan enter him leading up to betraying Jesus, discover some things we can learn from what happened so we don’t fall to the same temptation or trap that Judas did.

Join the discussion. Share your thoughts on this passage.

Share Your Response

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.