Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him for they feared the people. Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude. Luke 22:1-6 (NKJV)
Here we have a defining list of the sins of man. We see the hold of money, the lust for power and fame, the ugliness of jealousy, the loftiness of self, and a plan of darkness. So dark it had to be developed in secrecy. There is nothing good here, only evil, coming from prideful arrogance.
With focus on themselves, these men missed the very magnificence of the Lord God Almighty. The long-awaited Messiah was here in their midst and they were so tuned into themselves, His truth and glory went unseen. All their study had been for nothing, it seems. And Judas, the one who had walked closely with Jesus for three years, witnessed His miracles, observed His love, and heard Who had sent Him, gave it all away for a few silver coins. Had the blindness of Judas’ heart been of his eyes instead, he would have known not one glimmer of light.
These, the privileged, had handed over wisdom and precious opportunity for personal increase. So centered on themselves and their gain for things of the world, they missed the greatest gain of all. These men could have been proclaiming His majesty and power, had they not been proclaiming their own.
And Judas allows Satan in. Judas had been chosen by the Lord as a friend and disciple, yet Judas chose greed. He had not clothed himself in the riches of Jesus’ grace, nor put on the armor of holy righteousness, but stood naked in human self-indulgence. He made himself readily available for Satan to take control.
It is a picture of what happens to humankind when we take our eyes off Jesus and hunger after the world instead. We will always have an object of worship, so if not Jesus, it will be ourselves in some way.
These priests and scribes, who were puffed up with arrogance, betrayed their titles and betrayed their people. They fell deep into the pit of conceit and foolishness. Judas traded in three years of close companionship with the Savior and eternal life, for about a month’s wages.
We can debate long and hard over their behavior, but it will change nothing. What they did is history. It serves only as a reminder of the forces always at odds. It calls us to examine ourselves and determine where we stand. Are we for God – or against Him? What is our testimony today? What will our story be when it is but a record of history?
Father, as we walk toward this Easter season, teach us anew the lessons of Your Son’s journey. May His work on earth not be lost in accounts we have heard so many times that we lose sight of their meaning. May we prepare our hearts for fresh blessings of wisdom and truth. Holy Spirit, take us deeper in our understanding of the Holy Scriptures. As we breathe them in, may they be established in our lives, that our records will reveal we chose Jesus, and walked with Him all the way to heaven’s gates.