Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Choosing deception

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

As I mentioned yesterday, the Gospels do not give us a day-by-day breakdown of when Jesus did what, taught what, etc. in the temple during that last week.  They all condense his teachings and debates into fairly continuous narrative, and with the mention that it was 2 days before the Passover, the focus changes.

Presumably Jesus was teaching in the temple courts while the little drama played out behind closed doors.

The chief priests and elders...the very folks whom Jesus had been thwarting in their attempts to discredit Him before the people...met in the High Priest's palace.

Matthew states, ...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.'  (26: 4-5)

Mark echoes with ...the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him.  'But not during the Feast,' they said, 'or the people may riot.' (14:1 -2)

Luke also declares, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people.  (22:2)

It's interesting that, while John records the anointing of Jesus by Mary in Bethany in its chronological place, Matthew and Mark both do a little flashback right here, to 'when Jesus was in Bethany', and relate the story of Mary, her use of the nard to anoint Jesus, and the reaction of Judas Isacariot, although John is the only one who names names.  But the narrative continues in all three synoptics at this point...Judas goes to the chief priests and teachers and asks what they would give him to betray Jesus...to deliver Him to them away from the crowds.

They counted out to him thirty silver coins, not realizing that they were fulfilling yet another obscure prophecy (Zech. 11: 12 - 13).  And from that moment on he looked for a chance to turn Jesus over to them.

Judas is one of the most puzzling characters in all of the Bible.  Why would he do such a thing?  One who had been with Jesus, who had seen the miracles...had even been sent out with the power of the Holy Spirit to do miracles himself...who was apparently well liked and trusted by all the disciples...why would he do such a thing?

The Bible is very clear that he was operating under the influence of Satan himself, but Satan cannot occupy and call the shots unless there is an opening, a breach through which he can gain a foot hold and ultimately the ability to manipulate someone into doing his dirty work.

What was the weakness in Judas that Satan exploited?  What deception was he under that made him think this was a good thing to do?

I've heard lots of theories; here are three:

Theory 1:  Judas was a zealot, and was increasingly frustrated that Jesus did not blow the horns and call the fighting men and throw off Rome, and was trying to force his hand, thinking that if it came down to dying, Jesus would do what He came to do and blaze forth in victory over the oppressors.

Theory 2:  Judas was the keeper of the money bag; John records that he would steal from the bag and use the money according to his own wishes.  This had to be something they found out after the fact, when the bag was found and was short of what it should have had.   Judas honestly believed that the Jews would never be able to really capture Jesus..He had, after all, walked right through murderous crowds on more than one occasion...and his 'betrayal' was simply a ruse to get money to put back in the bag so it wouldn't be short, thinking that he was cheating the corrupt Jewish leaders.

Theory 3:  Judas had deep seated inferiority issues, and more than once found himself in a position he perceived as being slighted, ignored, misunderstood or shortchanged in some way; the bag had been entrusted to him by the others not because he was the most trustworthy but because they wanted to assure him that he was really part of the group...a key part of the group.  But the chip stayed on Judas's shoulder and, when he was publicly rebuked for speaking against Mary's use of the nard,  the deep anger began to boil up and the bitterness pushed him to try and show everyone that he was someone to be reckoned with.  The sudden flashback to that event in Matthew and Mark just before Judas goes to the priests is cited as evidence that it was a pivotal moment for him.

I have also heard the theory that Satan was hammering at all the disciples, looking for that opportunity, and that Jesus knew one would betray Him but, up until the time Satan actually entered Judas, Jesus didn't know for sure which one would crack...they all had the potential to betray Him, and He could see that potential.

All possibilities to some degree.  And they may all be wrong.  We just do not know what Judas believed himself to be doing. But whatever it was, he was convinced he needed to do it.

How have I allowed myself in the past to be convinced that something stupid, something selfish, something wrong was a good idea?  What were the lies I chose to believe in those cases?  What have I learned about the deceptive tactics of the Enemy, to prevent such a thing from happening in the future?

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