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272 - Judas, the Traitor

The different religious leaders in Israel did not agree on many things. However, one thing they did agree on was that they wanted Jesus dead! They were desperate to come up with a way to do it without causing a riot. They realized that Jesus spent every day during the Passover week in the Temple courtyards. But he was always surrounded by crowds of people. To arrest him publicly could trigger an uprising and cause the Roman military to intervene. This would be disastrous. They needed to figure out a way to maintain the fragile peace and still get rid of Jesus. As the chief priests and officers of the Temple met to discuss what could be done, the answer they were looking for walked in the door. It was Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ disciples. The first thing he asked was, “What will you give me if I hand Jesus over to you? The religious leaders were shocked and ecstatic. They counted out 30 silver coins (the value of a slave—see Exodus 21:32). They offered it to Judas if he could find a way to deliver Jesus to them when there were no crowds around. Judas pledged to provide the right opportunity. Under the law, this agreement obligated him to sign an indictment, show up at the trial, and testify against Jesus. What could possibly have caused one of Jesus’ handpicked followers to become a traitor? The Bible tells us that before Judas went to the chief priests and officers, “Satan entered him.” That doesn’t mean that Satan randomly selected him, invaded his mind and body against his wishes, and then caused him to betray Jesus. No, Judas had previously made several decisions that allowed Satan to plant the idea of betrayal in his mind. We already know that Judas was greedy and dishonest. He stole from the other disciples (see John 12:4-6). And the first thing he said when he walked into the meeting with the chief priests was “What will you give me if I hand him over to you?” So, we know he was in it for the money. Also, just a few days before, when Judas had been upset with Mary for “wasting” expensive oil to wash Jesus’ feet, Jesus had rebuked him in front of all the other guests and his fellow disciples (see #266 - September 23). So maybe Judas was holding a grudge. Or maybe he was disillusioned. Perhaps Jesus’ ministry and his “cause” were not turning out to be as prestigious as Judas had hoped. He was probably one of the disciples expecting Jesus to overthrow the Roman government and become the king of Israel. But instead of becoming king, Jesus was now talking about being crucified. Whatever was happening inside Judas, his sinful thoughts made him vulnerable. It was easy for Satan to manipulate him. And Satan took full advantage of the situation. He planted a sinister idea in Judas’ head. Rather than rejecting it, Judas followed through. He initiated a meeting with the chief priests. He had already betrayed Jesus with his thoughts. Now he was betraying him with his actions. He was completely responsible for the decision he made and for his actions that followed.

If Satan was looking for a weakness in your life to exploit, what would it be? How would he attack you? What do you need to do to keep this from happening?

272 - Judas, the Traitor
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