Prepare to Listen. As we begin Holy Week, be still and reflect with these words: I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. (Psalm 118:21)
Prayerfully Read Luke 22:1-6
Now the festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was near. 2The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people. 3Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; 4he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. 5They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. 6So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present.
I debated ending Lent with this rather sinister passage. After all, today is Palm Sunday, the conclusion to Lent and we’d all rather read again the story of Jesus’ humble ride into Jerusalem. But I decided to stick with this odd passage because it alerts us to the evil in the background of Jesus’ last week. The passage, after a brief introduction giving the date, is bookended by two similar verses. In the first, “the chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people.” The story ends with Judas who began looking for a way to betray Jesus when the crowd wasn’t there. In the middle is the sinister statement about evil that comes in the form of the satan who entered Judas, “one of the twelve.” He knew Jesus well.
Luke doesn’t explain why the satan chose Judas or why Judas willingly became Jesus’ betrayer. Through the ages, the Church has made varying suggestions, but the truth is we don’t know and never will. Fred Craddock’s conclusion is, therefore, worth attention. He writes, “There would be no value in attempting a new theory to explain Judas. The church is at its best when it stops asking, ‘Why did Judas do it?’ and instead examines its own record of discipleship.” It’s not our task to judge Judas, but to live faithfully, in ways that don’t, even inadvertently, betray Jesus and his truth.
We may never allow Satan to take us over the way Judas did, but we might betray him in other ways. Take a few moments to think of your life and whether it leads people to or away from Jesus.
Respond to Jesus
Give me strength today, Jesus, to resist living in ways that betray or distort the truth of who you are. Amen.
Live obediently. Live the truth of Jesus and his Way.
 Craddock, Fred B. Luke. Louisville, KY. 1990, p. 253.
I began reading my Bible when I was 8 years old. I loved it then (albeit didn't understand much) and I still love reading and studying it. I may understand a little more but I keep learning new stuff, seeing things I missed for years. This journey with Luke during Lent has been another new learning experience for me, deepening my relationship with Jesus. I pray it will do the same for you.