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Who was to Blame if Satan was the Instigator of Judas’ Actions?

24Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, "Ask him which one he means." 25Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?" 26Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. 27As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him (John 13:24-27, Emphasis mine).

There has been much speculation as to the motive of Judas in betraying Jesus, prompting questions such as, If Satan entered into Judas and prompted his actions in betraying Jesus, was Judas really at fault? Another question is, "If all that happened was meant to be and Jesus knew that Judas would betray him, then did Judas have a choice in the matter?" Furthermore, "Did Judas truly repent and receive forgiveness for what he did?"

Although we are unsure of these answers, we will examine some possibilities. First, we are told in Luke 22:3 that "Satan entered Judas, one of the twelve." Does that mean that Satan controlled his actions, and if so, was Judas culpable (at blame) for his actions? Even the most demonized person in the Bible, the man of Gadara, who had the evil demon calling itself Legion, could still run toward Jesus as soon as he saw Christ (Mark 5). He would have run away from the Lord if the demon had complete control. No, all of us are responsible for the wrong actions and motives we undertake. On the Day of Judgment, we cannot say that Satan made us sin. As to Judas' repenting, Jesus said, "The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born” (Matthew 26:24).

Judas could not hide his betrayal from the Lord. He was very good at looking like a believer, doing the same things, attending the same meetings, and dishing out bread to those who were hungry, but at the core of his heart, there was no change in his life. Jesus clarified the need for an inner transformation, saying, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). Judas was with Christ for over three years. In that time, he saw much evidence of Who Jesus was, yet his heart grew darker as he hardened his heart to the Spirit’s promptings. In fact, in one place, Jesus called Judas the embodiment of the devil: “Then Jesus replied, ‘Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!’” (John 6:70). The Lord knew early on in His ministry just where Judas’ heart was:

“Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him (John 6:64).

Can I ask you, dear reader, do you believe—are you trusting Christ with your life? Or is it all a sham in front of others? Only you and the Lord know the correct answer to that question. We all need a change in our inner person—you must be born-again or born from above (John 3:3). Keith Thomas.

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke. Click on Study 58. The Betrayal of Jesus.


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