************ Sermon on Luke 22:1-6 ************

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This sermon was preached on March 31, 2019

Luke 22:1-6
"Satan Entered Judas"
Lent 2019

I The Sovereign God
A Who was responsible for the suffering and death of Jesus? A surface reading of Scripture tells us Satan was responsible; that he used the religious leaders of Israel, the Roman governor, and Judas to accomplish his purposes.

Was it Satan's plan and Satan's purpose that was being carried out at the cross and the grave? Absolutely not! The message of the Bible is that everything happened according to God's set purpose and foreknowledge (cf Acts 2:23). Everything done by Satan, Pilate, Judas, and Israel's religious leaders was done according to the plan of God. Jesus' death was planned by God before the foundation of the earth (Rev 13:8). Jesus did not die because the Jewish leaders hated Him. He did not die because He disturbed the Roman peace. He did not die because Judas betrayed Him. He did not die because Satan planned it all out. He died because this is God's plan.

We see this in the opening words of our Scripture reading. Luke tells us, "Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching" (Lk 22:1). Why is this important? We need to realize that the cross and grave happened at the time set by God. Paul can tell the church at Galatia that God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law "when the time had fully come" (Gal 4:4). Jesus' coming was according to God's schedule. So was Jesus' death. Effort after effort was made to kill Him before the cross. When He was an infant Herod tried to kill Him. More than once during His ministry there were those who wanted to seize Him and kill Him. None of this was successful because it was not according to the plan of God.

"Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching" (Lk 22:1). When all the Jews brought a sacrificial lamb at Passover, God also brought a sacrifice -- His own Son as the Lamb of God.

The leaders wanted to kill Jesus. But not during the Passover because they were scared of the people (Mt 26:2-5). So what was their plan, then? They wanted to arrest Him, imprison Him out of sight until the Feast was over and all the people were gone, and then kill Him. That was their plan. But it was not God's plan. God's plan was for Jesus to die on Friday, when the Passover lambs were being slain. And, God's plan was for Jesus to rise on Sunday.

B If it is God's plan, what role is played by the Jewish religious leaders, Satan, and Judas? Let me quote what Peter said on Pentecost:
(Acts 2:23) This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
God's plan means Jesus was handed over to the religious leaders, Judas, Pilate, and even Satan. It is all part of the plan of our sovereign and almighty God.

God is sovereign. God is in control. Of everything. Nothing about the cross was unexpected because it all happened on God's schedule and according to God's plan.

So the whipping did not kill Him. The nails did not kill Him. The spear did not kill Him. The loss of blood did not kill Him. God took His life because He is God's Lamb. Christ died to be God's satisfactory atonement for sin. Christ died to satisfy God's justice. Christ died so ours is the forgiveness of sins. That was the plan. And, without realizing it, Judas and the religious leaders and Pilate and Herod and the soldiers all played a role in this plan of God.

II The Religious Leaders
A The religious leaders of Israel are the next participants mentioned by our Bible reading. We are told they "were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus" (Lk 22:2). But they wanted to do it without causing a riot. Who are these leaders and why did they want to kill Jesus?

Let's start with Caiaphas, the high priest. Caiaphas was all about the politics of keeping peace with Rome. He was corrupt and wicked. He ran the Temple like a business that turned the house of God into a den of robbers. He used the money changers and the sellers of sheep and cattle and doves to take money from any who came to the Temple for worship. He hated Jesus because Jesus was bad for business. According to John's Gospel, when Jesus first started His ministry He took a whip and drove out the sheep and cattle being sold; He scattered the coins of the money changers; He ordered those who sold doves to get out (Jn 2:12ff). On Palm Sunday Jesus did the same thing again, overturning the tables, throwing people out (Lk 19:28ff).

The Sadducees were the theological liberals who denied the supernatural. They had real problems with things like angels, resurrection, and life everlasting. Jesus angered them when He raised the dead and taught about the resurrection.

The Pharisees hated Jesus because He preached Gospel rather than Law, salvation by grace rather than salvation by works. They hated Jesus because He poked holes in their holiness and ignored their rules.

B Do you know what happened next? Matthew tells us the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of Caiaphas the high priest (Mt 26:3). There they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill Him. "But not during the Feast," they said, "or there may be a riot among the people" (Mt 26:5).

This is not the first time the leaders met about Jesus. John tells us they met right after the raising of Lazarus too. They hated Jesus. They feared what Jesus would do to both their power and their nation. But they couldn't agree on what to do. It was Caiaphas who came up with a solution:
(Jn 11:50) You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.
It wasn't his intention to talk about the substitutionary death of Jesus. But that is exactly what he did.

God. God put these words into the mouth of the high priest. The sovereign God used the politics of Caiaphas to put truth into his words. Out of ignorance and hatred, Caiaphas actually spoke a true prophecy. "So from that day on they plotted to take his life" (Jn 11:53).

Yet, they were careful about this because they were afraid of the people. You need to realize our Bible reading takes place right after Palm Sunday. There are upwards of two million Jewish pilgrims celebrating the Passover. As far as the religious leaders are concerned, it seems as if all two million were going after Jesus and believing Him. As far as the religious leaders are concerned, it seems as if all two million pilgrims were waving palm branches and yelling Hallelujahs on Palm Sunday.

Hindsight is 20/20. It turns out the religious leaders had no reason to fear the Palm Sunday crowds. It turns out the crowd was very fickle. Because only five days later many of those very same people were yelling, "Crucify Him. Crucify Him." Because only five days later they wanted Barabbas rather than Jesus.

III Satan
A This brings us to Satan. John's Gospel tells us that the leaders of Israel were children of the devil (Jn 8:44). Now we are told Judas joins their group. "Satan entered Judas." What did this do? With Satan inside him, Judas was no longer held back by conscience or any other kind of restraint.

This might lead us to think Satan is behind the cross and the grave. The leaders of Israel are children of Satan. Judas is a child of Satan. So Satan is behind it all. If that is the case, why did Satan attempt to kill Jesus as a baby? If that is the case, why did Satan tempt Jesus to receive a crown without the cross and the grave. What I am saying is that Satan wants to stop the crucifixion. Satan does not want a Jesus Who dies on the cross for our sins. Satan does not want a Jesus Who makes atonement for us sinners. Satan does not want a Jesus Who satisfies the requirements of God's justice. Satan's entire goal, starting with Cain & Abel already, is to kill off the Messiah's bloodline so there is no cross and no grave. That's why there was the bondage of Egypt and the death of the Hebrew boys in the River Nile. That's why Balak and Balaam tried to curse the children of Israel. That's why Haman tried to kill all the Jews in the Persian Empire during the days of Esther. No, Satan does not want Jesus going to the cross.

In Matthew 16 Jesus predicts His suffering and death. Peter says, "Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!" Do you remember Jesus' response? "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men" (Mt 16:21-23). There you have it: Satan does not want the atoning death of Jesus. Satan does not want the saving of souls by the blood of Christ.

So Satan tempts Jesus in the Garden not to drink the cup of God's wrath. Whatever it was Satan hoped to accomplish, he enters Judas to stop the crucifixion, the atonement, the forgiveness of sins.

B So Satan entered Judas. Now, we must never forget that the devil is God's devil. I don't know who first came up with this phrase -- but what a wonderful phrase. Satan can only work within the boundaries set by God. God is sovereign over Satan, absolutely sovereign.

God's sovereignty over Satan was established already at the beginning of time. After all, it was God Who created Satan. And, when Satan rebelled against God, along with a third of the angels, he was thrown out of heaven. And, for the future, God has prepared a lake of fire where the devil and his angels and all those who don't believe in Jesus will burn forever. So let me repeat, the devil is God's devil. God is sovereign over Him.

There is a big misconception when it comes to Satan. Some people think of him as God's opposite and equal. They think Satan operates independently of God and God reacts to Him. This view thinks Satan is able to work out his own plan and will, apart from any purpose of God. To say this or to believe this is heresy because suddenly God is no longer sovereign, suddenly God no longer is in charge, suddenly God is no longer God.

Satan can't do one thing outside the will of God. Satan did not want Jesus dead. He did not want Jesus on the cross. But God did. So that is exactly what happened.

IV Judas
A Our fourth participant is Judas. I mentioned earlier that the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of Caiaphas the high priest and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. Guess who showed up at their meeting? Guess who suddenly showed up and shocked them? Our Bible reading tells us:
(Lk 22:4) And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.
Judas made them an offer they couldn't refuse. He was willing to betray Jesus. He was willing to tell the religious leaders how they could arrest Jesus without the crowds knowing about this. What an opportunity to get rid of Jesus.

So the leaders "agreed to give him money" (Lk 22:5). In other words, Judas asked for money. "How much are you willing to pay me to betray Jesus? How much is it worth to you?" The price they agreed upon was thirty pieces of silver.

B How can Judas do this? Luke identifies Judas for us as "one of the Twelve" (Lk 22:3). As one of the Twelve. Judas was called by Jesus. Judas walked and lived with Jesus for three years. Think about this. For three years he saw miracle after miracle: he saw the dead raised, the blind receiving sight, the deaf hearing, the lame walking, the sick being cured, the demon-possessed being set free. For three years he heard Jesus' wondrous teaching. For three years he was given proof that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

So why did Judas do this? Because Satan was in him. Because he was an unbeliever. Because he was a fake and a fraud. Because he was a lover of money, greedy, who stole from the money bag.

Yet, I trust you all realize we need to say more than this. We also need to say the betrayal was according to the plan of God. In the Old Testament there are passages in which God states this will happen:
(Ps 41:9) Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.
Zechariah speaks about thirty pieces of silver (Zech 11:12). There is a reference to Judas in Psalm 55:12-14. According to the plan of God, then, Judas betrayed Jesus into the hands of sinful men.

The religious leaders were not planning on arresting Jesus during the Feast because of their fear of the people. But God sent Judas to them on His time, not theirs. According to God's plan, it had to happen during Passover week.

Our God, our God, He is so great. He uses the hatred of the religious leaders, the power of Satan, and the greed of Judas. So that they all are players in the divine plan. This doesn't mean they aren't responsible for their rejection of Christ and their own sin. But they will not thwart the purposes of God. Instead, they are used by Him to bring His plan to fruition.

We need to see ourselves in this story. We, too, come under the plan and sovereignty of God. But is God using our faith and our works or is He using our sin and our hatred to accomplish His goals? Do we stand alongside Satan and the leaders of Israel and Judas? Or, do we stand alongside the crucified Lord?
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