Study Notes: Luke 22:1-6
22:1-6 What's in a Name?
There are names that people just don't give their children anymore - and some for obvious reasons. Adolf is a good example. Judas is another. Judas used to be a very common name among the Jews. Judas Maccabee fought against the Syrian army, and the victory is still celebrated today - we know it as Hanukkah. The gospel of Matthew tells us that even one of Jesus' own brothers was named Judas.
Matt. 13:55 "Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?
We read in Luke 6 that two of Jesus' twelve disciples were named Judas.
Luke 6:16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot...
There was also a rebel during this time in history named Judas of Galilee, who rose up against the Roman occupation (Acts 5:37). So Judas was a very common name. But no one ever comes to church and says, "These are my children, Mary, Judas, and Elizabeth." The name of Judas has become infamous throughout the generations of the last 200 centuries, and this morning, I'd like to take a concentrated look at the most famous Judas, the man named Judas Iscariot.
The Twelve Apostles
Jesus had many disciples that followed Him from place to place, hearing His teachings and doing the work of the ministry. But one evening, He spent the entire night on the mountaintop in prayer...
Luke 6:13-16 And when day came, He called His disciples to Him; and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James and John; and Philip and Bartholomew; and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
All night, Jesus had been seeking the heart of the Father in who to choose for His apostles. These were the guys. This bunch were Jesus' closest friends in the ministry. They were His inner circle, the elders of His church, you might say. These 12 were privy to miracles which no one else saw, teachings which no one else heard, experiences that no one else had. And it is amazing to me to think that one of them, who walked so closely to the Lord, could turn out to be so treacherous.
Now when Jesus wanted to get the gospel to many of the villages which were around, He summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, the demons, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of sickness and disease (Matt 10:1; Mark 3:14-15; 6:7; Luke 9:1).
Mark 6:12-13 And they went out and preached that men should repent. And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.
Jesus sent them out in pairs to preach the gospel - the gospel of repentance and forgiveness. Every one of these twelve guys had authority over demons and disease. Every one of them were commissioned to preach the gospel. Even Judas. He was given authority. He was empowered. He was preaching the gospel.
Now Jesus wasn't ignorant - He knew what was coming. At one point in Jesus' ministry, He was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. He said,
John 6:53-56 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him."
We'll investigate what He meant by that next week when we look at the Last Supper. But the result and the repercussions of this very difficult teaching were devastating:
John 6:66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore.
When many of His disciples had left,
John 6:67-71 Jesus said therefore to the twelve, "You do not want to go away also, do you?" Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God." Jesus answered them, "Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?" Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him.
Jesus knew what was in men's hearts. He knew that Judas would betray Him. But He called him anyway. That gives us insight into the character of God. That He is..
2Pet. 3:9 ...not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
When so many disciples left, Judas had a chance to bail out. So why would he stick around in the ministry if he wasn't where he wanted to be? I believe that the twelfth chapter of John indicates why.
Pilfering From The Box
When Jesus was having dinner at Mary and Martha's house six days before the Passover, Mary
John 12:3-6 ...took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii, and given to poor people?" Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.
Judas had no incentive to leave the ministry, because he was greatly profiting from the ministry. He was the treasurer - the one carrying the cash. And he was skimming off the top - pilfering from the box. Once again, Jesus was aware of it, but what an insight into the mercy and the patience of God. We have to ask ourselves, "Why would Jesus allow that to continue?" He once taught a parable to His disciples:
Matt. 13:24-30 ..."The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprang up and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. And the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' And he said to them, 'An enemy has done this!' And the slaves said to him, 'Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?' But he said, 'No; lest while you are gathering up the tares, you may root up the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn."'"
Why wouldn't the owner of the field allow the tares to be gathered up? He said, "No; lest while you are gathering up the tares, you may root up the wheat with them." God cares so much about His people that He will even allow a Judas to continue on in a place of prominence among them, lest in judging and uprooting the Judas, He cause any of the other disciples to stumble or fall away.
I wonder if the loss of that perfume money was the final straw for Judas. His "commission" on something that cost nearly a year's wages would have padded his pockets quite well for quite a while. Paul told Timothy,
1Tim. 6:9-10 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.
Do you realize that the love of money can turn you into a Judas? One who continues on in the church or the ministry, yet inside you're getting more and more bitter and rebellious against God. To the point that you'd actually sell Him out for a few bucks. That's a dangerous place. We must learn that...
1Tim. 6:6-8 ...Godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
This is the epitome of great gain - not cash, but godliness with contentment. Unfortunately, Judas didn't desire to be godly, he desired to get some money. Everyone knew that the chief priests wanted to have Jesus arrested and killed, and Judas knew that this was his chance to make the cash he'd been lusting after. He...
Matt. 26:14-16 ...went to the chief priests, and said, "What are you willing to give me to deliver Him up to you?" And they weighed out to him thirty pieces of silver. And from then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Him.
Thirty pieces of silver. This was a fulfillment of a prophecy that the Lord gave to Zechariah. He writes,
Zech. 11:12-13 ...So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. Then the LORD said to me, "Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them." So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD.
Thirty pieces of silver for a man's life. And just as it was prophesied, we're going to see that same silver thrown into a potter's field shortly.
This was written 550 years before it happened. You know what that tells me? No matter how bad things get, no matter what happens to me or to you, God already knew it would happen. And He's already prepared for what's coming next! "Oh no!" we think. "This disaster just came out of left field! I'm totally unprepared financially! I'm not ready physically!" God's prepared. God's ready. He knew and He knows. No one's ever been able to throw Him a curve ball. He's never been taken by surprise or caught unawares. He's still on the throne, and He's still in control. And whatever is happening, no matter how bad it seems, if we're one of God's kids, then Romans 8:28 tells us that God is causing all these things to work together for good to us.
The Last Supper
As Jesus ate the Passover with the twelve apostles, He said, "one of you will betray Me... (and) woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born." And Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" He said to him, "You have said it yourself."
Can you imagine God saying about you, "it would have been good for you if you had not even been born"? The only thing worse than dying without having the salvation that Christ offers is dying after hearing that message inside and out and blatantly rejecting it.
Now Luke 22 and John 13 tell us a sobering fact, that...
Luke 22:3 ...satan entered into Judas...
All through the gospels, we've seen instances of demon possession. But this is the first time we've been told that satan himself has possessed a man. Spiritual gifts and a supernatural ministry didn't help Judas from being a pawn of the devil. There is only one protection from supernatural oppression or possession: Jesus Christ must live inside your heart, for darkness cannot enter where the light is shining. If Jesus Christ lives inside you, then you need not fear the possibility of possession, for John tells us:
1John 4:4 ...Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
Later that same evening, after Judas had left, Jesus called a prayer meeting in a garden named Gethsemane. (Judas knew the place; for Jesus had often met there with His disciples.) When He had finished praying, He said,
Matt. 26:45-50 ...Behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!" And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up, accompanied by a great multitude with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, "Whomever I shall kiss, He is the one; seize Him." And immediately he went to Jesus and said, "Hail, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. And Jesus said to him, "Friend, do what you have come for." Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him.
Betrayal with a kiss. Zechariah prophesied that someday He will be asked,
Zech. 13:6 "What are these wounds between your arms?" Then he will say, 'Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends."
The betrayal of a friend is the "unkindest cut of all". Many of us have experienced this kind of betrayal. Someone you've opened up to, someone you've shared your heart with, someone who knows you intimately. But then they turn on you - lying to you, gossiping about you, tearing you down to others. Jesus knows this hurt very well. David did too:
Ps. 55:12-14 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it ; Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend. We who had sweet fellowship together, walked in the house of God in the throng.
I know of no greater cause of pain than the betrayal of a friend. And still, look at Jesus. He didn't kill Judas, or even kick him in the shin. He said, "Friend, do what you have come for." He offered Himself up as a sacrifice. Being Christlike when you're being attacked, injured, or betrayed is one of the most difficult lessons we will ever have to apply to our lives. But Christ is our example, that we would walk in this way.
After Jesus is arrested, beaten, and sentenced to death, Judas begins to feel bad.
Matt. 27:3-10 Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." But they said, "What is that to us? See to that yourself!" And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, "It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood." And they counseled together and with the money bought the Potter's Field as a burial place for strangers. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying, "AND THEY TOOK THE THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER, THE PRICE OF THE ONE WHOSE PRICE HAD BEEN SET by the sons of Israel; AND THEY GAVE THEM FOR THE POTTER'S FIELD, AS THE LORD DIRECTED ME."
The prophecy of Zechariah fulfilled - the thirty pieces of silver was used to buy a potter's field.
We read that Judas felt remorse for what he had done. Does that mean that he was saved? No. Jesus said it would have been better if he had never been born. And Paul the apostle wrote in 2Corinthians
2Cor. 7:10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
Judas was sorry - but did he repent, or did he die? He killed himself. He hung himself. And not only that, but Luke tells us in the book of Acts that after he'd been hanging there awhile, the rope broke, and...
Acts 1:18 ...falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.
No guts, no glory. Judas had a worldly sorrow that resulted in death. Remember, Simon Peter betrayed Jesus as well, denying three times that he even knew him. But when he wept bitterly, it was with Godly sorrow - he repented and turned back to the Lord.
There's no happy ending to the story of Judas. The Lord called him, taught him, loved him, invested in him. He was patient with him, merciful to him, and still Judas betrayed him. Where are you with God this morning? He's been patiently waiting for you, investing in you, revealing Himself to you. How are you responding? Today, if you don't know Jesus Christ personally, you have a choice... You can choose to be a Judas - running after the things that give you pleasure, and being an enemy of God. Or, you can realize how merciful and patient He's been with you, and you can turn to Him. Judas made his choice.
Acts 1:25 ...Judas turned aside to go to his own place.
Whose place will you choose to go to?
©2006 Ron Daniel - Any distribution not for profit is permitted
All Scripture (unless otherwise indicated) taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE
©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.