In our daily meditations at groupbiblestudy.com, we are thinking about the last week before the crucifixion of Christ, and especially on the person of Judas, the one who betrayed Christ. Scripture tells us that Judas did not believe (John 6:64; John 13:11). He never placed his trust in Christ, so he had not experienced an inner change in his life. In his mind, he had a mental agreement with the person of Christ, but at the core level of his being, he never received grace and forgiveness for his sin. A powerful deception was at work in his life.
Our enemy, Satan, a very real spiritual being, is at work in the world to keep hearts and minds blinded to the truth concerning Christ. He seeks to influence every person to deny the reality of the person and work of Christ. Like Judas, a person can have an acceptance of the facts of the Gospel, and there may even be an understanding of the great truths concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, but unless one receives the person of Christ, there is no change to a person’s inner nature. Our enemy works powerfully against people to try to hinder them from genuine repentance from their spiritually dead condition (Ephesians 2:1). Paul the Apostle writes about this spiritual warfare to keep a person blinded to the truth:
The god of this age [Satan] has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4).
In the invisible realm, there is a war that goes on in the thought processes of the mind and decision center of the inner man, commonly called the heart. All hell often breaks loose when people come under conviction of sin and their need for forgiveness. Paul writes further about the enemy's use of people for his purposes. He said that Satan and his demons are at work in the hearts of those who are against the Spirit of Christ. He calls Satan, "the ruler of the kingdom of the air":
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient (Ephesians 2:1-2).
Satan will even use our family and friends as his mouthpiece, those we love and cherish, to speak words to deter us from following Christ. They often do not realize why they say what they say; as the verse above says, there is an enemy spirit at work in those who are disobedient to the faith.
So, why did Judas continue to follow Christ if he did not believe? We cannot know his motives for sure, but perhaps, it was the love of fame in being one of the twelve. It can be a curse to be famous. Fame will keep a person from the humility of heart that God looks for in His servants. I wonder how many of the “Hollywood stars” will be seen in heaven. Judas was famous as one of the twelve. At the time of Christ, the “stars” of Israel were religious leaders and teachers, and for Judas to be one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, perhaps would have been a source of pride.
It may have been a worldly ambition to be seated on a throne when the Messiah's kingdom would come. Judas may have seen the Messiah as a political savior only. It is possible he thought himself well placed as one of the twelve to have money and riches, authority, and a throne upon which to sit next to Jesus and the eleven others when they would finally break the constraints of Rome. What kind of Messiah are you looking for? How about going His way, rather than wanting Christ to go your way? Keith Thomas
Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke. Click on study 58. The Betrayal of Jesus.