Video: Why Did Satan Enter into Judas to Betray Jesus if He Knew the Cross Would Defeat Him?

Today’s question: “How should we understand Satan entering into Judas and his ensuing plan to betray Jesus (Luke 22:3-6)? The wilderness temptations, the rebuke of Peter (Matt. 16:21-23), Christ’s agony in the garden, and even the calls to him to come down off the cross seem to suggest that Jesus was being tempted to abandon the path of suffering and death. Did Satan know that Jesus came to destroy his works by his death? If so, why would he incite Judas to betray him to certain death?”

Within my discussion, I reference this earlier video.

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About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Audio, Bible, Hermeneutics, Holy Week, Luke, NT, NT Theology, Podcasts, Soteriology, The Atonement, Theological, Video. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Video: Why Did Satan Enter into Judas to Betray Jesus if He Knew the Cross Would Defeat Him?

  1. cal says:

    If Judas’ surname refers to his “zealotry”, then it would make sense that Judas’ satanic possession involves spurring on the conflict. And various evidence in the gospels shows this point in a kind of ironic fashion: Jesus’ statement about the legions of angels, His rebuke of Peter and his use of the sword, St. John’s account of the guards falling down. It might be signifying that Judas was right to see the Messiah as a powerful king, but misunderstood what this meant in action. The choice not to call the angelic legions is a firm rejection of the zealot’s belief about apocalyptic conflict. And it also highlights how Peter and Judas are mirror-images of one another: the only real difference is that Peter repents whereas Judas does not.

    Despite its many flaws and peculiarities (being based on a gnostic text), The Last Temptation of Christ does a good job in showing part of the devil’s strategy. The offer of normalcy, of compromised peace, is the hardest temptation. I don’t know if it reflects well on the biblical account of Christ’s temptations, but it does offer a lens into how insidious seemingly innocuous goods can be when they get in the way of the mission.

    • Yes, that Judas was motivated by some kind of Zealotry is a definite possibility. However, I think that there was more than ‘misunderstanding’ involved. Judas seems to have recognized the basic character of Christ’s mission, but purposefully sought to divert it from its course by treachery and the precipitation of conflict.

      • Aaron Siver says:

        On the precipitation of conflict theory . . . thank you!! For years, I’ve tried to convince various fellow Christians that Judas isn’t just some kind of smarmy money-grubbing sellout who was just looking for a quick buck and his self-conscious of what a fraud he is. That’s the picture I sense a lot of Christians have of Judas.

        But I’m not so sure about the ‘treachery’ aspect. I keep noting in those same conversations that the recurring translations ‘betray’ and ‘betrayal’ are not fair with the underlying Greek. It’s interpretation rather than translation.

        I’m not sure where I got the idea, but a long time ago, it struck me that Judas’s remorse and suicide strongly suggest that this was not the outcome he expected. My theory is that Judas fit in with the Twelve just fine, and he had some presumptuous ideas about what Jesus had to do and be while actually believing and regarding him as the Messiah. Like you mentioned, I see it as parallel to Peter’s stubbornness and opposition to the way of suffering. Judas tried to force Jesus’s hand and make him have to establish the kingdom politically as the way to save his own life. But then when Jesus didn’t do it, Judas was in agony over what was happening to his Master, so he tried to give back the money and killed himself. But in contrast to Peter who denied Jesus and found true repentance later, Judas had only earthly sorrow that produced no repentance. I recognize I’m trying to read Judas’s mind with this. I just hope it’s coherent with all the scriptural data.

        Would you engage with that a bit? And to the question, could Satan be playing off that misguided desire in Judas?

      • By ‘betrayal’, I have in mind the way that Judas isn’t merely challenging Jesus, or trying to persuade him to change course, but is purposefully subverting Jesus’ intended mission for his own design.

      • Aaron Siver says:

        Hmmm. I’ve got to think on that. 🤔

        Do you conceive that as Judas perceiving and judging Jesus’s intentions and plan to be wrong?

      • Yes, but he clearly went further than that. He didn’t just disagree; he sought to subvert.

      • mnpetersen37 says:

        FWIW, if I recall correctly, Aaron’s take here is very similar to the one Sayers has to adopt, for dramatic reasons, in The Man Born to be King (her BBC dramatization of the life of Christ).

      • cal says:

        Would you say that comes from a position that ceases to see Jesus as the Christ, and trying to run a false movement into the ground? If so, I don’t quite understand the despair, after having done it. Did he not think this would get Jesus put to death, or is it some kind of buyer’s remorse?

      • No, he was trying to force direct conflict, expecting Jesus to respond by fighting.

      • cal says:

        So Judas is acting to get the messiah back on the right path, forcing a confrontation when Jesus would call down angels begin the overthrow of Rome? And when Jesus doesn’t, he realizes he has doomed his former master and despairs?

      • Something like that, yes.

  2. Pingback: Video: Why Did Satan Enter into Judas to Betray Jesus if He Knew the Cross Would Defeat Him? — Alastair’s Adversaria | Talmidimblogging

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