Over the last three weeks of Lent we are going to have a six-part virtual Bible study. We are focusing on Chapters 22 and 23 of Luke, which describes the last supper, the betrayal of Jesus, the arrest and trial, and the crucifixion.
Each session will include the text and one or more questions for discussion. Please respond to the question and to each other's responses.
We will divide the sessions up as follows:
Session 1: Luke 22:1-23
What do you think Judas's motives were to betray Jesus?
If you had been one of the eleven (not Judas) at the Last Supper, what would you have been thinking as the night unfolded? (try to pretend you don't know the end of the story!)
The Text: (NIV)
Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
22 Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, 2 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. 3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. 4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6 He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.
The Last Supper
7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”
9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.
10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.”
13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.[a] 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
Luke 22:20 Some manuscripts do not have given for you … poured out for you.
Comments from a third member of the Allyn family about Judas:
My thoughts are that Judas was greatly disappointed in Jesus. He finally realized that Jesus was not going to act as a normal leader would and take the power and rule. He knew that Jesus was a very unusual and gifted person but he seemed unable to accept that Jesus was the Lamb of God despite being told (by Jesus) of the Old Testament prophesies. All along, Judas had hoped that Jesus would eventually seize power, and that Judas would have a big part in his upcoming reign, probably as treasurer. His hopes were dashed. Satan entered his heart, and Judas rationalized that he could cover his disappointment by reporting Jesus' movements to the Sanhedrin. His unhappiness led him to request money for the deed. Only later did the magnitude of his sin break through his wish to harm Jesus, and he proceeded to kill himself. It's interesting to note that he never asked God for forgiveness, or repented of his sin (as Laurie said, he didn't even cry out!). He seems to have been a man who, too late, realized who Jesus really was, Some people have a hard time taking the Good News to heart!!
Possibly there is another lesson here. When we are led by a Godly person, and they decide to do something that we don't agree with, consider carefully all aspects of this, before instinctively disagreeing or resisting. Maybe they are right after all (or maybe not).
She took the words right out of NYU head! I’ve always felt sorry for Judas. I love the way Luke tells this story by setting the stage for outcome of the Last Supper. We do know how it ends with hope and forgiveness for all of us. I’m sure all the disciples, myself include, could question our own sinfulness and motivations. This is not just the story of unfortunate Judas, but also our own story. We don’t ‘get” everything Jesus told us either!
I love Lewis and I see your point. I wonder why the story is presented as a fait accompli instead of exploring how Judas comes to that point.
Great questions, Laura!
A lot of the work C. S. Lewis did that concerned Satan focused on how it is not so much what Satan does to "make" humans behave in a certain way, but rather how Satan convinces humans to act in ways they were already predisposed to do because of greed for money or power, or hate, or fear. It might be interesting to think what fears or greed for power Satan might have exploited with Judas. If this way of looking at it makes sense, the issue of being predestined to sin does not seem to be as crucial as the issue of how we make ourselves susceptible to the will of evil by our own selfish, fearful, or destructive impulses.
It fascinates me that Jesus was destined for crucifixion yet Judas is punished for fulfilling that destiny. It says nothing about his mindset other than Satan motivated him. What if he had changed his mind? How did Jesus know he would betray him all this time yet still let him be one of the disciples? Was his destruction also foretold so he could not escape it? I wish I knew how he justified it to himself- was there any point since he had to do it and be punished for it anyway?? What if he had prayed to God to be released from his Devil’s bargain/destiny? This whole interchange sets me pondering how much free will we actually have. Does our sin lead us to a predestined lifetime of woe? I have always felt God hears us- did Judas cry out?