Saturday, April 4, 2015

Resist the Devil

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi


Jesus is in the tomb.  The disciples are keeping a very low profile, wondering if the Sanhedrin would come after them next...or even Roman soldiers, since Jesus had been crucified as a threat to Rome.

Except for one.

Judas had not meant for Jesus to die.  He didn't expect Jesus to die.  Whatever his thought processes were, as the events unfolded throughout the day, and it became more and more obvious that Jesus was not going to do anything to prevent His death, Judas was horrified....then wracked with guilt.

Make no mistake, the enemy was still in control of Judas.  Only now, instead of driving Judas to do what he wanted done, the enemy was now bent on destroying his tool. Because that's what the enemy does.  His real target is not people...his real target is God.  Anything that he can do to wound and thwart the Father, he will do.  So, now having corrupted Judas, he began to drive him to destruction so that there was no possibility of repentance. 

And he did this by attacking Judas for the very thing he had pushed him to do.  Grief - guilt - condemnation- shame...the enemy was ruthless in his attack.

Matthew is the only gospel that records what happened to Judas.  In his narrative, Matthew relates the story of Judas's remorse just after Jesus was bound over to Pilate.  But -- as is recorded all through the accounts of the trials and crucifixion, the chief priests and elders were right there. So, unless there were some of the leaders who stayed behind while the majority of them attended the trials, Judas had to have come to them after Jesus was in the tomb, when all was done and they were assembled again.

Luke tells the story in Acts 1 in a flashback to explain why Matthias was selected to be numbered among the apostles.  Matthew's account and Luke's account vary slightly; Matthew, being an eyewitness, probably has the more accurate version.  Luke's is based on what he was told, and he has condensed it a bit.

Combining the two accounts, here's what appears to me to have happened, grisly details and all:

Judas, full of guilt and remorse, tried to undo the deed by returning the bribe money to the Jewish leaders.  They, however, did not want any part of it and refused to take it back.  So Judas threw the money down and went to the most forsaken place...the potter's field...and hung himself on a dead or weak tree branch, possibly using a shawl or sash from his attire.  The priests picked up the coins, probably very gingerly, and set the money aside as they debated what to do with it.  After the feast was over, word came to them that Judas's body had been found in the potter's field.  Either the tree branch or what ever he had used for a rope had broken and his body, stiff and bloated, had fallen hard and ruptured, spilling blood and guts everywhere.  So the leaders took the money, bought the field, and used it to bury Judas and any other indigent foreigners who died in the city from that point on.  'Field of Blood' probably referenced both the blood money that bought it and the blood that stained it.

They didn't realize that even the purchase of the field for the thirty coins they had paid for Jesus also fulfilled a  prophecy about Him.

Judas's story is one of the most extreme examples of the way the enemy works on people.  Even people who are close to Jesus are not exempt from his it is imperative that we learn to identify them. Using the three possible motives I mentioned earlier,  here are examples of what to watch out for:

1) Judas was a zealot who was trying to force Jesus to declare Himself king. -- the trap here is that the enemy gets us to believe that we know better than God; that God needs our help.  The words he uses here...and believe me, I have heard them...are words along the lines of 'if you don't do something, it's not going to happen!'  or 'you can't just let this slip by!'  Abram and Sarai fell to this trap...and so Ishmael was born.

2) Judas was trying to cover up his moral failure regarding the moneybag -- this is an ongoing attack; it began with the temptation to give in to the thing that now needs to be dealt with, and the enemy convinces us that we CAN'T confess and be forgiven...we'd lose everyone's good opinion, we'd be disqualified for our position...whatever...and begins to offer ludicrous cover up schemes that somehow look better than being open and transparent.  Think of David's cover up of his affair with Bathsheba that resulted in Uriah the Hittite, along with a number of other soldiers, being killed in a deliberately bungled battle.

3) Judas was offended and bitter and was trying to get even or prove he was someone of significance.
The red flags for this attack are thoughts that center around the words 'I, me, my, mine'....
I could've done that one listens to me...why is my time less important than theirs...that job is mine and nobody else should do one understands me...they must think I'm stupid...everyone ignores my ideas...etc etc etc.  This is deep-seated resentment that blows up in ways that are totally out of character and almost always devastating.  Often the offenses that provoke those responses are not even as they seem, but are misunderstandings or misinterpretations. An offended spirit such as this clouds judgement and results in actions that are totally unexplainable.  Samson is a good example of someone who reacted out of such self-centeredness, as is King Saul.

Peter, who had some experience with failure himself, wrote Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Pet. 5:8)

James relates the best and simplest solution: Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Grieve, mourn and wail.  Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.  (4:7 - 10)

Recognizing the enemy's attack is a good bit of defeating it.  Submit to God...resist the devil...repent of sin and focus the heart...recognize, repent, confess...humbly before God...and HE WILL lift you to where you should be.  Which is not the place the enemy is determined to have you.

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