JUDAS IS THE SUPREME EXAMPLE OF WHAT IT MEANS TO BETRAY JESUS CHRIST
Are you a friend or foe of Jesus? You might counter that this is a silly question. You spend every Sunday in church. You read your bible. You hang out with some Christians. Yes, but are you a friend or foe in terms of your loyalty to Jesus Christ? Judas serves as the prime example of treacherous betrayal. If ever there was one so privileged with the opportunity of being a friend of Jesus, it was Judas. He was personally selected by the Master to be one of His 12 closest confidants. He was discipled along with the other 11 to the point where he should have been fully trained to assume a leadership role in the new church movement. He was trusted to hold the treasury bag. We could do a topical study of Scripture to see what constitutes friendship with God vs. what constitutes being an enemy.
What went wrong? You could try to blame the influence of Satan – for surely we find in this passage that “Satan entered into Judas.” But he remains culpable and morally responsible for the many little decisions in his life that led him down the road to this major decision to become the chief instigator in this plot to send Jesus to the cross. Ultimately his heart remained wicked and his materialistic motivation led him to contract with the chief priests and scribes to hand over Jesus in a secluded area apart from the influence of the multitude of pilgrims visiting Jerusalem at this time and listening with interest to His teaching.
I. (:1-2) PASSOVER PLOTTING – GOAL = KILLING JESUS
A. (:1) Opportunity – Passover Approaching
“Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching.”
Donald Miller: Although technically the Passover, which lasted one day, is distinguished from the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which came on the seven days immediately following, the two were popularly named as one (see Matt. 26:17).
B. (:2) Obstacle – Popularity of Jesus
“And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death;
for they were afraid of the people.”
Anyabwile: Holy dates are coming; hateful men are scheming. What a shocking contrast between the celebration of verse 1 and the sinister darkness of verse 2.
II. (:3-4) BETRAYAL INITIATED
A. (:3) Satan Recruits Judas to Betray Jesus
“And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve.”
Donald Miller: The mystery of sin is known only to God. But Judas is a warning that no position of Christian privilege is immune from temptation, and fall. He illustrates Bunyan’s comment that there is “a way to hell from the very gate of heaven.”
Geldenhuys: The history of Judas, who, although he occupied such a privileged position as one of Jesus’ twelve apostles, nevertheless betrayed the Master, serves as a permanent and powerful warning to every member of the church of Christ – there is always the terrible possibility that even among us who apparently live in the closest connection with the Lord there may be those who are inwardly false and are busily engaged in betraying Him.
John Martin: Satan’s part in Jesus’ death was actually his own downfall, for through dying Jesus conquered Satan and death (Co. 2:15; Heb. 2:14).
Calvin: Though Satan drives us every day to crime, and reigns in us when he hurries us into a course of extraordinary wickedness, yet he is said to enter into the reprobate when he takes possession of all their senses, overthrows the fear of God, extinguishes the light of reason, and destroys every feeling of shame.
B. (:4) Judas Starts the Betrayal Process
“And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers
how he might betray Him to them.”
Piper: Satan does not take innocent people captive. There are no innocent people. Satan has power where sinful passions hold sway. Judas was a lover of money, and he covered it with a phony, external relationship with Jesus. And then he sold him for thirty pieces of silver.
III. (:5-6) BETRAYAL CONTRACTED
A. (:5) Contract Proposed
“And they were glad, and agreed to give him money.”
B. (:6) Contract Put Into Operation
“And he consented, and began seeking a good opportunity
to betray Him to them apart from the multitude.”
Morris: Since Jesus had such popular support it was important that He be arrested when there were no crowds present to start a tumult.