Sympathy for the betrayer #LukeActs2014

Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. (Luke 22:3, NIV)

I am struck in reading Luke 22 this morning by the clear role of Satan in the betrayal of Jesus and the denials of Peter.

 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32, NIV)

I hear echoes of the testing of Job in Satan’s request to sift the disciples as wheat.

In this chapter, I hear Luke casting the entire passion in terms of a spiritual battle. Satan’s role as an active agent of betrayal and testing is more pronounced here than I recall him being in Matthew and Mark. John, of course, has Satan enter Jesus when he takes the bread fed to him by Jesus (John 13:27). What a strange passage that is.

Here in Luke, the trials of the passion strike me as being a continuation or extension of the testing that Jesus encountered in the desert. Now it is the hour for his disciples to be tested.

Does Judas fail the test? Is that why Satan entered him? Or was he powerless to resist? Luke describes a terrible end for Judas (Acts 1:18-20), but the overall tone does not have the same sense of guilt and remorse as Matthew’s account of the suicide of Judas (Matthew 27:3-10).

So, I find myself wondering how to react to Judas. In Luke, at least, he seems much less a scheming betrayer and much more a pawn of Satan, the one who fell like lightning from heaven (Luke 10:18). I find myself having sympathy for Judas.

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2 thoughts on “Sympathy for the betrayer #LukeActs2014

  1. I’m not sure I feel sympathy towards Judas….except possibly to the extent that I can sometimes identify myself with him as a sinner. I read of his story and am reminded of the subtlety of the schemes of Satan and my tendency to get ensnared. We know that Satan in the desert wanted Jesus to mistakenly believe that God’s protection of him was absolute (sounds familiar to each of us from time to time I would imagine), when it was actually relative to his faith in and OBEDIENCE to God’s Word. We all love to proclaim our beautiful faith and proudly wear our faith badges for all to see….but what about obedience to God’s Word?

    If we agree that Jesus needed to remain in the will of God to assure himself of protection, surely we do too. We know that sin in the life of a Christian is a primary cause of his vulnerability to spiritual defeat. If Satan can get a believer to act contrary to the will of God, it appears that this gives him an opportunity to step in and afflict him. Seems to me this might be the very trap Judas entangled himself in. I mean….he was one of the 12….he must have known that meant something. Would it be a far stretch to imagine him believing he could somehow manipulate the “story” and get away with it?

  2. MyTake:
    When I read all the passages related to Judas ….sympathy tends to evaporate.
    Peter, in the Book of Acts, reminds us this was a prophetic event.
    In the books of Zechariah and the Psalms we read the insulting price paid for the life of Christ.
    Thirty pieces of silver, an insult, a cheap price that would be returned to the potter.

    4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.
    John 12:4-6 NKJV

    Judas had no concern for the poor he was filling his own pockets and Judas shows nothing but contempt for Christ. When Judas asks, “Is it me Master?’ he is being sarcastic and a smart mouth. He knows it’s him and he is mocking Jesus. After all Jesus was the man who heals, sees and knows. Does Jesus know he has been betrayed?
    Any remorse Judas had was most likely related to the realization he was doomed. His sympathies were for himself.

    Jesus would have known all along he would be betrayed. Jesus knew the scripture.
    Sympathy and sorrow is seen in the actions and words of Jesus. The same sorrow and sympathies God has for all who are going in the wrong direction.

    In the Book of James we are told:
    7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 
    This shows who is in control. The passage has a dismissive sense to it. Influence on the
    Christian is minimized, nothing to worry about. The Christian is in control under God’s authority and it is the person who is held accountable. (Matthew 12:36)

    What I like about your posts is they are a reminder of person’s and events I may not have considered lately and need a second look.

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