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God’s Word for You

Luke 22:1-4 Then Satan entered into Judas

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, March 13, 2019

22  Now the festival of Unleavened Bread called the Passover was near.  2 The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to do away with Jesus, for they were afraid of the people.  3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve.

About possession by the devil, our dogmaticians Adolf Hoenecke says: “A distinct work of Satan is possession, when he completely has a person in whom with his power he is working bodily and making him into an obedient tool, likewise when he enters into a person and fills his spirit, ruling him according to his will” (Ev. Lutheran Dogmatics II p. 290). For bodily possession, we note Matthew 9:32, Mark 9:17-18 and similar passages. For spiritual possession, see Acts 5:3; Ephesians 2;2, and the verse before us in the case of Judas (Luke 22:3). Since Satan cannot stand before God and must submit to God’s holy will (Job 2:6, etc.), a person who is possessed must no longer be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Jesus warned: “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes in with seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first” (Matthew 12:43-45).

Hoenecke goes on to say: “Possession is a judgment of God, and this spiritual possession appears to be a kind of sin against the Holy Spirit, for which Judas justly serves as an example (John 13:27)” (II p. 290). Note that Professor Hoenecke does not say this of bodily possession, as in the case of various children and others in the time of Jesus, but about spiritual possession, where a willingness on the part of the one possessed is a factor. How could a person ever be willing to let the devil possess them? As with so many of our questions about such teachings of the Bible, it is far better to keep wondering than to find out the answer first hand.

4 He went and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple guard as to how he might betray him to them.

Let’s put some facts together from the Gospels to understand the way Satan tempted Judas. When the people of Nazareth tried to kill Jesus by throwing him off a cliff, he effortlessly walked through the crowd and went on his way (Luke 4:28). When Jesus faced demons that terrified everyone else, Jesus simply cast the devils out and made the fearsome maniacs into calm worshipers of God (Mark 5:15, 7:26). Whenever the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders tried to trap Jesus with words, he beat them hands down with their faulty logic twisting in the wind.

Couple these facts with Judas’ own greed. His fellow Apostle, John, says that “he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:6). If we put these details together, we come up with this recipe for the devil:

  a. Jesus could get out of any difficult situation without being harmed
  b. His follower Judas was greedy and could probably be bribed

The devil made Judas think that he had found the proverbial Goose that laid the Golden Eggs. Judas came up with a plan: He would betray Jesus’ location and get a bag of money, Jesus would get arrested but escape unharmed, and then Judas could set his master up again and make a pile of money for as long as all this lasted.

In the next two verses we will see the flaw in Judas’ plan, but we should never forget that God’s plans are flawless, perfect, and for the benefit of everyone who trusts in him. The devil can plot and connive and twist the truth into horrible lies, but the word of God stands forever, and our forgiveness can never be torn away. We are God’s beloved children. In him we have eternal and everlasting life.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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