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On the Trail of a Traitor, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
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March 28, 2023 7:05 am

On the Trail of a Traitor, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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March 28, 2023 7:05 am

Compelled by the Cross

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Today from Chuck Swindoll. When there is this satanic possession or demonic possession as well, there is the inability to visualize the consequences of one's actions. Judas never tracked it all the way to the end.

He never thought of the consequences of his actions. Satan doesn't want us to go there because the consequences are always dreadful, tragic. When we think of Judas Iscariot, we're prone to remember his ill-timed betrayal of Jesus.

But his disloyalty was far more than a behavioral blunder. Luke, one of the New Testament writers, told us that, quote, Satan entered into Judas. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll will recreate this dramatic scene, and he'll help us understand the damage caused by the betrayal. This is message number three in a brand new teaching series called Compelled by the Cross. Teaching from Luke chapter 22, Chuck titled his message On the Trail of a Trader. On these mornings leading up to the Easter Sunday celebration at the resurrection of Christ, we're tracking the Savior in that passionate journey along the way, stopping for periodic moments where we peer into the scene of what took place at various times. Unfortunately, there is not just one passage of scripture that takes us all the way through, but you must go from one gospel writer to another.

In fact, there's a book titled The Harmony of the Gospels, where A.T. Robertson has gone to the trouble of putting the various passages together in a chronological order, and you can work your way through the events that lead from the early part of the gospels all the way to the ultimate crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Last time you'll remember we were at the home of Simon the leper as Mary interrupted the meal by bringing this highly expensive ointment, which she poured over the hair, the head of Jesus, and even his feet, and massaged his feet with her hair. And you'll recall there was a moment in that scene where she was rebuked by the disciples, especially Judas. And Jesus looked at him and said to him, as well as the other disciples, leave her alone.

She has saved this for this very special occasion, in fact, from our burial. One wonders if things snapped at that point in Judas' mind, because the very next scene that's covered is the scene that we'll look at today, where Judas goes and makes arrangements for the betrayal of Christ. We call this message On the Trail of a Traitor. We're looking at Luke 22, verses one through six together. I'd like you to turn to that passage.

I'll read it for you from the New Living Translation. Luke 22, one. The festival of unleavened bread, which is also called Passover, was approaching. The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the people's reaction. Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went to the leading priests and captains of the temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them.

They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren't around. Serious words leading to a serious soul-searching message. We need to prepare our souls for that time of soul-searching. You're listening to Insight for Living.

To dig deeper into the Bible with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures Studies by going to slash studies. And now the message from Chuck titled On the Trail of a Traitor. A few experiences are harder to endure than being betrayed. This is especially true if the betrayal has been going on for a long time under a cloak of secrecy. You didn't know it, and you trusted the individual to be sustaining faithfulness, but he or she wasn't doing so. It can happen in a marriage. The two of you took your vows together at the altar, and both of you so sincere, full of hope, feeling of truthfulness, sincerity, and your marriage began to run its course through months and into the years.

Then there began to be a cooling off for some reason. You couldn't quite put your finger on it, but something was different than it had been at the beginning, only to find that your partner in life had been living a secret life. And he or she had had been betraying the vow that was taken at the altar.

Hard to bear that. If you've ever been in ministry and you've counted on the team around you to be to be solid and moving ahead in the same direction and to find out later that that one of them has been betraying their calling. They've been unfaithful. You realize that it's taken a toll on the ministry, and all the while that person has been living a lie. And all the while that person has been living a lie.

That's hard to endure. But perhaps of all the examples we would name, the one that is most public and seems most shameful to the world at large would be a national traitor. Someone who took the oath of office, if you will, and became a member of the military to wear the uniform and to fight the battles when necessary and to stand true to that calling, only to turn against his or her fellow troops as a traitor. If you ever visit the Battle of Saratoga, you will find a towering obelisk. And it's impressive because there are bronze statues of those generals that made that significant battle for the revolution a success. You look at the base of that obelisk and you see their names. Horatio Gates, a general in the United States Army, and there stands the bronze statue of Gates. You look across the way and there's Philip John Schuyler, another general, who fought in that battle. And then on the other side, there's Daniel Morgan, another general. There stands his statue.

The fourth catches you off guard because the niche is empty. There's no statue, but there is a name. As soon as you read the name etched in stone, you know why the honor of a statue was removed. Benedict Arnold appears at the base of that obelisk without a statue.

You immediately understand why there is no statue. It's a name that is a synonym for traitor. Matter of fact, I did something I usually don't take time to do. I pulled out probably the heaviest volume I have in my library, 1697 page Webster's Biographical Dictionary, and I looked up. Benedict Arnold gave the date of his birth, date of his death, and then said with a colon, American army officer, traitor. That's it.

Says it all. When you study that life, you realize he died in infamy having escaped to England penniless without dignity. He's an enigma. However, there's a greater enigma than Benedict Arnold. Judas Iscariot. How could it be?

I mean, stop and think. The man was chosen by Jesus to be one of the twelve. He walked alongside Jesus over three years. He saw every miracle the other disciples saw. He heard all the teaching the other disciples heard. He ate alongside Jesus. He slept beside him. He watched him. Never once did he find a flaw in the character of his master. Never once was there even a hint of hypocrisy.

Stop and think. He went out and preached with the other eleven. He preached the gospel that he himself did not believe. Jesus referred to him on one occasion as the son of perdition, an everlasting enigma. That name goes down in infamy.

Why? Why did he become a traitor? What was it that convinced him that he should betray the one who had done him no wrong, who had only shown him grace and love at every turn? You know what's interesting? Not one of the gospel writers answers the question of motive. Not one. You'll not find a place that says, Judas betrayed Jesus because... or this was the reason that pushed him to becoming a traitor.

It's not there. So when there's nothing in the scriptures, you're left to speculate and you have to be careful there because none of the speculations may be true. One of them might be more a possibility than another, but you cannot say with dogmatism that's the reason. Some have said it would be covetousness and greed. Jesus was a wanted man by the end of his ministry. There was a bounty on his head. There was money to be gained by someone who would turn him in, if you will. Maybe Judas did it for the money. He did take 30 pieces of silver, which was not that much, which tells you something of the hurry he was in to do it. That probably wasn't covetousness, probably wasn't greed.

Some would say jealousy. Judas, since all of them were competitive, maybe Judas more than the others because he's the only Judean of the group. All the others are Galileans. And maybe he saw himself as a cut above. There are a number of scholars who see Judas as the brightest of the 12. He was chosen to be the treasurer of that band of brothers. He held a purse. John tells us after the fact he was also a thief.

He stole some of that money. However, he was jealous for leadership to be seen as significant, but that faded when John became the beloved disciple and Peter's leadership emerged among the 12. Among the 12, Judas saw his own position fading. And others have said maybe it was just raw ambition, just a desire to come out on top.

And that faded as well. And then there was the possibility of disillusionment. When you track the name Judas Iscariot, it's interesting, especially Iscariot. It's been pointed out by others that Judas was a closet zealot, political zealot. He longed to see the overthrow of Rome and he thought in following Jesus, finally he's with someone with enough power to do that. But Jesus' political interest was passive. In fact, there was even the occasion when he said, render to Caesar what is Caesar's and render to God what is God's.

Of all things, he suggested not dodging your taxes, but paying them. And zealots like Judas would look for any way possible to dodge that. The word Iscariot could be man from Carioth. Some have traced it to mean scari-tace, which is related to the Latin sicarius, a radical sect that carried daggers and lived for assassination of leaders in political governments. We're never told that Judas carried a dagger, but became more and more disillusioned when Jesus showed himself less and less interested in politics.

And maybe that was enough to push him over the edge. I'm not sure. What I am sure of is in the biblical text, Luke 22, verse 3. Please look again in the few words that began the verse. I think we find the answer. Then Satan entered into Judas.

Rare words. Understand, Satan is not omnipresent. He can only be one place at one time. His many demons, innumerable number, they're invisible unless for some reason they choose to be visible. Being supernatural creatures, they could be either. But they as well can only be one place, each one, at one time. At this time, Satan is inside the head of Judas. That's a chilling thought. We often refer to demonic oppression and demon possession, but rarely do we use the word satanic oppression or satanic possession. And that's as it should be.

This is a rare occasion. And he entered into him, eis, e-i-s in the Greek means into, within, in the head, in the thinking, in the motive, in the will. Judas became possessed by the arch enemy of Christ. So, I suggest to you, as a result of that, he was driven to betray the Savior. Think of the pickle that the enemies of Christ were in. Every time Jesus spoke, especially during Passover, the crowds were large. There was no time to kidnap him.

There would be a riot. And as soon as the teaching was over, somehow Jesus slipped away to an undisclosed location and they didn't know where he went. They needed help from the inside, ideally one of the twelve.

I mean, this works out perfectly. When we read, after Satan has entered Judas Iscariot, we read right away in verse four, he went to the leading priests and the captains of the temple guard and he began to bargain with them about the plan. Of course, he's Satan possessed. That's exactly what the enemy would want. And how delighted they were, we read it, they were delighted and they promised to give him money.

Let me add something here that I haven't mentioned before. When there is this satanic possession or demonic possession as well, there is the inability to visualize the consequences of one's actions. Judas never tracked it all the way to the end. He never thought of the consequences of his actions.

Satan doesn't want us to go there because the consequences are always dreadful, tragic. In fact, Judas would have realized that he's the one that lost in the deal. There's an old English couplet I often quote to myself when I come to scenes like this, still as of old man by himself is priced, for 30 pieces Judas sold himself, not Christ.

But he didn't see that. He didn't realize he was selling his own soul for 30 measly pieces of silver. At the end he came to realize it and he's filled with remorse, but by then he's on his own. Satan being the ultimate, ultimate coward, and by then left him. He had done his deed.

Who cares? And in his remorse, he dies of suicide. But before all that, before the consequences, everything seems to be working as planned. He sets forth a plan. He arranges it with the captain of the guards and the chief priests. And then he quickly moves back to the disciples. They know nothing of it. You now know more than any of the disciples were aware of at this time. And they would never have chosen Judas.

I mean, he's their trusted treasurer. So he comes back and what are they doing? They're preparing the meal for that last supper. Chuck Swindoll is setting the scene for us, and there's much more he wants to show us about the betrayal of Judas.

Chuck titled his message On the Trail of a Traitor. To dig into this passage right now, remember that every sermon you hear on Insight for Living is paired with Chuck's online study notes. We call these free resources Searching the Scriptures Studies.

To take a deeper look at the encounter with Judas in Luke chapter 22, go to slash studies. Today's program has featured message number three in the six-part series called Compelled by the Cross. And then if you carry a burden for those who've yet to place their trust in Jesus Christ, would you be praying for Insight for Living and your fellow listeners? We're asking God to use this teaching series to bring men and women around the world to himself. Gratefully, we have wonderful evidence that God is using this program in this way. Let me share an encouraging note.

This person said, Chuck, I've been listening to your messages on YouTube. Specifically, through your study on suffering, I've learned to walk with Jesus on a personal level. I've learned that Jesus is my friend. This prepared me to hold on to Jesus in the rocky and perilous decades that followed.

Maybe you feel this way too. Perhaps God has used this daily program as a source of spiritual strength and encouragement, and you realize that Chuck's teaching has helped you cultivate a deeper relationship with the Savior. Bear in mind, it's your financial support that enables us to provide these daily visits with Chuck. To give a donation and to share your comments, connect with us online at or call us.

If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. We look forward to hearing from you soon. Cruise ships leave the harbor for Alaska all the time, but there's only one that's hosted by Inside for Living Ministries. You're invited to travel with Chuck Swindoll this summer. Every moment of your vacation is thoughtfully prepared and protected so that you can enjoy the perfect balance of rest, adventure, relaxation, sightseeing, and just plain fun. All in the company of those who share your respect for God's Word and God's creation.

Yeah, I'll put it this way. God had a very good day when He created Alaska. I was awestruck by the majestic mountains, the wildlife, the quaint little seaports. All my life, I've wanted to see a glacier.

When I stepped out on the deck of our ship and witnessed the massive wall of ice, wow, it was truly breathtaking. Escape with Inside for Living Ministries to the great frontier, July 1st through July 8th, 2023. Call 1-888-447-0444. That's 1-888-447-0444. Or learn more at slash events.

The tour to Alaska is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us again next time when Chuck Swindoll continues his message about the betrayal of Judas, right here on Insight for Living. The preceding message on the trail of a traitor was copyrighted in 2022 and 2023, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2023 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-02 18:39:06 / 2023-04-02 18:47:14 / 8

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