Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching. The chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people. And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them. They were glad and agreed to give him money. So he consented, and began seeking a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the crowd. Luke 22:1-6 (NASB)
The final betrayal of Jesus is set in motion as Judas, one of the twelve disciples, approaches the religious leaders of Israel. Like many in Israel, Judas was looking for a different kind of Messiah, one who would come and remove the oppression of the Roman empire and return Israel to its past glory. It is likely that Judas had disillusioned thoughts after the Triumphal entry when Jesus failed to establish His kingdom right away. Perhaps it was this disappointment that drove Judas to seek out the religious leaders and betray Jesus. However, Judas is not the only enemy of Jesus in the above passage. There are, in fact, three enemies at work against Jesus this Wednesday of Holy Week.
The first enemy at work were the unbelieving religious leaders. While the people were in the streets openly preparing to praise God for His delivering power and the saving of life, the unbelieving religious leaders were behind closed doors plotting to murder the very One who had come to be their great Savior. The unbelieving religious leaders plotted to use deception and lies in order to kill Jesus. The unbelieving religious leaders sought to get rid of Jesus because they feared the people. This means that they feared both losing the support of the people and the reaction of the people against them if the people knew they were killing Jesus.
The second enemy at work is the work of Satan. Satan is the spiritual being who is out to destroy the relationship between God and men. In wrath and bitter hostility, he opposes God. Satan is seen entering Judas, stirring him to strike up a bargain to betray Jesus. Later Satan will enter Judas again and urge him to go ahead and finish his work of betrayal. The point is, if Satan could destroy Jesus, keep Him from fulfilling His work on earth, then man could never be saved. Satan, of course, had no idea that God was going to save the world through the death of Jesus.
And the final enemy at work is, of course, Judas. There are some important details we must take note of concerning Judas. First, he was a professing disciple. Judas has spent the past three years traveling with Jesus, listening to His preaching and teaching, seeing firsthand the miracles of Jesus and had been taught and warned about sin by Jesus Himself. Secondly, Judas communed with the world. In short, Judas was worldly. His heart and mind were upon acceptance, position, recognition, prestige, influence, power, and wealth by and withing the world system. Judas approached and communed with the world, the chief priests of the world. He thought they who were of the world were the winning side and could offer much more than Jesus
.Judas coveted the world and its money; his gnawing sin was the love of money and his greed was a growing sin! His heart was set on greed and worldly ambition. He felt that wealth, power, and position would be his when Jesus set up his kingdom. Judas filled his heart with the need for more and more greed, rather than filling it with Jesus. Finally, Judas made a covenant with the world. He promised the religious leaders to find an opportunity to betray Jesus and hand Him over to them. Peter warns us to be aware of our enemy, the devil, because he prowls around looking for whom he might devour. This is the picture of Judas, that of being on the prowl, searching and seeking, looking here and there for the right moment. Judas’ heart was set, full of intrigue, plotting evil and planning its strategy. He did not believe, but unbelief was not enough. He willed to do evil against Jesus, to hurt Him, to destroy Him. And he sought opportunity to do so. Just how deceitful Judas was can be seen by noticing that immediately after bargaining with the authorities, he sat down to eat with Jesus. He sat at the very table where the Lord’s Supper was being instituted.
As we grow closer to the Passover, we must examine ourselves. So, where do you see yourself in this picture of Judas? As a professing Christian, where are you betraying Jesus? Is your heart set on worldly goods, wealth, position and recognition? Have you made a covenant with the world, filled with the promise of wealth and position? Are you filling your heart with the need for more and more greed, rather than filling it with Jesus? Take some time this Holy Week and ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you are betraying Jesus, repent and ask forgiveness and turn from your sins, returning to the arms of Jesus, the Lord and savior of the world.