Monday, October 31, 2016

Was Judas Possessed by Satan?

Luke 22
3 Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, 4 and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. 5 They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. 6 So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren’t around.

As Luke's gospel heads into the "passion of Christ", today we see Jesus with his disciples at the Last Supper. But before this, is the verse above where it reads, "Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples." The first question I have when i read this is, "Was Judas possessed by a demon." What did it mean for the Satan to "enter him"? It obviously seems more than just a temptation, which comes from the outside of a person.

In John's gospel he says it a little differently, "It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus." John 13:3

John Piper says this about this scene, "When it says in Luke 22:3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” how are we to think about the will of Judas and the power of Satan? Judas was not an innocent bystander when Satan entered into him. The apostle John tells us in John 12:6 that he was a thief. When Judas complained that Mary had wasted money in anointing Jesus, John comments, “He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.”

It is always good to look at the whole bible as we seek to interpret it correctly. First, we know that although Judas was chosen by Jesus as his disciple, Judas never accepted who Jesus was as the Messiah. Clearly Judas had other plans for Jesus, and when Jesus did not fit the vision Judas had for him, the betrayal began. Second, we know that believers in Christ, can never be possessed by a demon. When we are in Christ, Jesus possesses us, and no one can overpower us and "take us over". But Christians can still be tempted and give into temptation, therefore giving him a foothold in our hearts and lives.

But in this case, Judas opened himself up to Satan's influence by willfully being an agent of betraying his master and lord. While Satan may have impregnated Judas' heart, at the end of the day Judas made the decision to betray him, thus fulfilling the scriptures.

Although we must be aware of Satan and not deny his existence, we don't have to be afraid of him either. Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. But we are also reminded to not dabble in things related to the darkness, or things that he has control over. If we do, we open ourselves up to his power and persuasion. This why Paul says our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers of this present darkness. Though we need not be afraid of the devil, we certainly need to be on the look out for his wiles and schemes. We should not be naive or surprised.

Everyday we make decisions to follow Christ, or follow our sinful nature. But God has given us the Holy Spirit. The same power that enabled Jesus to ward off the devil's schemes and strategies. As we turn to the Holy Spirit for his discernment in guidance we can be clear of the devil's infiltration into our hearts and minds. As a Christian you can't say, "the devil made me do it." When give in to sin when it is conceived in our hearts, convinces our minds, and then given into by our actions.

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