“Judas conspires”

Luke 22:1-6

The night before the big event we remember this week, the crucifixion of Jesus, all the characters for what is to unfold have gathered in Jerusalem.  The crowds have come to Jerusalem for the Passover and have been cheering Jesus so far.  That scares the teachers of the law and the chief priests who are looking for a way to kill Jesus.  The disciples are there with Jesus to celebrate also and are pondering among themselves what their role will be in the new kingdom.  There is one more participant not usually mentioned.  “Then Satan entered Judas.”  Satan is a fallen angel, not God.  He is not present everywhere.  He is not all knowing.  He is not all powerful.  The Bible calls him the Father of Lies, the Deceiver, the Devil, the Tempter, Ruler of Demons, Beelzebul, the Evil One, and more.  We often generalize and just talk about “evil.”  He is a spiritual being, a fallen angel, at war with God.  He now “enters” Judas and uses him to develop a plan with religious authorities for capturing Jesus without the people knowing.  Judas presents the plan to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard.  Judas is conspiring with “evil” and with religious authorities!

         “The devil made me do it!” is a common saying for claiming innocence.  It is different from “I didn’t know the gun was loaded” for the latter owns agency of the deed but the former is an abdication of personal intent, agency or even involvement.    We are claiming that an evil power overwhelmed us and we were helpless.  History has debated what was going on with Judas that allowed him to play the role he played in the arrest of Jesus.  Some have felt that Judas was really just trying to force Jesus’ hand because the arrest would necessitate the confrontation that would bring about the defeat of Rome.  Others feel Judas was the victim of demonic manipulation.  What we do know is that evil, Satan, directly confront good, God, Jesus.  Please do not sugar coat this fact by focusing on the approaching Easter.

     For the next three days, we will see this drama unfold.  Tomorrow Thursday is called Maundy Thursday after the Latin word “mandatum” or mandate, rule.  Jesus washes the feet of the disciples, institutes communion at the Last Supper, and tells the disciples on the way to Gethsemane, “A new command I give, love one another.”  Friday goes from the Garden of Gethsemane to the trial to the crucifixion.  Saturday we sit in silence.  We grieve the evil events of the past, of the present, and personal.

         The question to reflect on today, though, is to examine our hearts and consciences to ponder if we have been drawn into schemes, feelings, thoughts, or perhaps habits that we know do not glorify God.  Are there ways that evil has tempted us to be less than our better selves?  Care we conspiring?  Now is the time to repent and turn from evil.  Be honest.  Blessings!

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