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“And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people. Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them".
How can we explain the treachery of Judas? We know that the whole chain of events was part of the eternal plan of God but it would be wrong to suggest that Judas was predestined for his part. That would make him a helpless pawn in a great heavenly chess game and hat is not the way God works. It is always man’s choices, even the evil ones, which somehow fit into the overall plan of the sovereign God.
As part of the all-knowing Godhead, the Lord Jesus knew what was going to happen as we see in John 6:70-71, “Then Jesus replied, ‘Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!’ (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)”
When Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with her very precious oil of spikenard, Judas immediately criticised what he saw as waste but John explains the attitude of Judas like this in chapter 12:6, “This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.”
As the story unfolds we see how the devil came into the picture. In John 13:2 it says, “And supper being ended, the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him.” A few minutes later, in verse 27, it records, “As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.” But the Lord never named Judas as the betrayer and the disciples were aghast when the Lord said that one of them would betray Him. Did the Lord leave it until the last moment so that Judas had a chance to change his mind and repent?
Despite the mysteries surrounding Judas, we know exactly what he did. He played right into the hands of the high priest and chief priests. Matthew and Mark show that he went to sell his Master immediately after the anointing of the Lord’s feet by Mary. So was greed part of his motive? Here was a way to make some money quickly. 30 pieces of silver was his price and, when that was agreed, he arranged to take the soldiers of the high priest to the Garden of Gethsemane, away from the crowds, where Jesus could be arrested with a minimum of fuss. No doubt the authorities were delighted with this development and thought the price well worth paying.
The stage was being set for the centre of God’s eternal plan to be worked out. There was no going back.