Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses sixty-six through seventy-one of the twenty-second chapter. When you come to and approach the verses which are found within this portion of scripture you will find the conclusion of the twenty second chapter of the gospel written by Luke. As you come to these final verses you will find the betrayal of Judas already complete, as he led the guards and soldiers into the garden of gethsemane where he knew Jesus and His disciples would be. It’s interesting and worth nothing that while Luke doesn’t specifically mention the garden by name in this passage of a routine, we know from reading the words which are found in the other gospel accounts that it was in the garden where Judas found Christ and His disciples, and where Judas would betray the Son of man with a kiss. What I have long and often found to be so incredibly my intriguing about the scene in the garden is what both the apostle John, as well as the physician Luke wrote and recorded concerning Judas earlier that night. If you read the words which the beloved physician Luke wrote in this very same chapter you will find and discover that it was on this night—the night of the feast of unleavened bread, which was known as the Passover—that the devil also known as satan entered into Judas. It is within this very chapter where we find at the very outset and beginning of the chapter that satan did in fact enter into Judas Iscariot, and from the moment satan entered into him, he sought for an occasion to betray Jesus in the absence of the multitude. What we must recognize regarding and concerning this particular reality is that we encounter and come face to face with the tactics and strategies of satan—not only within the life of Christ on this night, but also in the lives of the saints of God throughout generations. Please mark and make note of the fact that satan entered into Judas, and that immediately after satan entered into Judas—not only did he conspire together with the chief priests, scribes and captains, but he also sought for an opportunity and occasion to betray Jesus apart from and away from the multitude. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this incredible important reality, for to do so would be to miss out on understanding the activity of satan within the earth throughout the generations. In all reality, I am convinced that within this passage of scrutinize—together with the other three gospels—we come face to face with the activity of Satan in the life of Judas, as well as in the garden.
As I sit here this morning, I am drawn to the fact that satan entered into Judas, and how immediately after satan entered into Judas, he not only met with the chief priests, scribes and captains, but he also sought for an opportunity to betray Jesus into their hands absent and apart from the multitude. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we find within this passage of scripture is mite than just a meeting between Judas Iscariot and the chief priests, scribes and captains in Israel. There is not a doubt in my mind that there was something much more diabolical and much more sinister taking place on this night than simply a meeting between flesh and blood. I firmly believe that what we find within this passage of scripture is a meeting between Satan himself and the religious spirit. Throughout the years, and throughout the centuries we have been taught and have come to believe that there is possibly a single spirit of religion which seeks to infiltrate, manipulate and influence the true church of Jesus Christ, and even create false congregations and false assemblies. The note I think about and the note I consider this particular reality, the note I come face to face with the fact that there might Bert well be more than one spirit that operates within the talk and sphere of religion within and throughout the years and throughout the centuries. Pause for a moment and think about it, for how could one single spirit influence and infiltrate countless religions and countless organizations and countless churches throughout the years and throughout the centuries. I find it very unlikely that there is not simply one spirit of religion who moves and operates within and upon the religious realm within and upon the earth. I firmly believe that there is note than likely multiple spirits of religion which move and operate within and among churches and religions, and have been around for millennia. With that being said, I believe that on this particular night there was more than simply a meeting between Judas and the chief priests, the scribes and the captains. I believe that on this particular night there was a meeting that took place in the unseen realm—perhaps even in the same room as Judas and the religious leaders of that day—between satan and false spirits of religion. I am convinced that on this particular night we don’t simply find relationship conspiring together with religion, but we also find Satan himself conspiring together with the false spirits of religion in order that they might incite the two to bring about the death and destruction of Jesus the Christ.
Perhaps one the single greatest realities we must come to terms with is the fact that while we merely see flesh and blood, we must be aware of and discern the powers which are at work behind the scenes. Where we merely see flesh and blood in our midst, and in our jobs, and in our churches, in our nation, and even within the countries of the earth, we must be aware of the powers of darkness that are at work within, among and all around us. I firmly believe that while we wage war, we do not wage war against flesh and blood, but against principalities, rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness in high places. When we read of the meeting between Judas and the chief priests, scribes and captains of Israel, we must look beyond the room lit by torches and begins flash and blood and see the true powers which were at work at that time. As we read the words which are found within the accounts of Judas meeting and conspiring together with the chief priests, scribes and captains, we must recognize and understand it as a cosmic and supernatural meeting between Satan and the false spirits of religion. I do not believe that mere man could have orchestrated the betrayal, the trial, the suffering, and even the death of Jesus the Christ. I do not believe for one moment that mere flesh and blood could have conspired together well enough to bring about the betrayal of Jesus which would lead to His trial, and ultimately His suffering and death. I firmly believe that what we find and what we have within this passage is in fact a meeting between flesh and blood and between religion and relationship, but I am convinced that what we also have present this night is a meeting between Satan and the chief false spirits of religion which were and have been present within and upon the earth throughout the centuries and millennia. What’s more, is that I am convinced that in order to truly recognize and understand that which took place on this decisive and fateful night, we must turn our attention to the words which the apostle Paul wrote—both in the sixth chapter of the epistle which was written unto the Ephesians, as well as in the tenth chapter of the second epistle which was written unto the Corinthian saints. Consider if you will the words which are found within these two passages of scripture:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole arm our of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching there unto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:10-20).
“Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: but I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captive every thought unto the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:1-6).
It is quite clear from both of these writings from the apostle Paul—the first written unto the saints which were in Ephesus, and the second which was written unto the saints which were in Corinth—that although we are present in the flesh, and although we walk in the flesh, we do not wage war according to and after the flesh. We must recognize and understand this reality, for to fail to understand this reality is to fail to understand the activity of Satan within the earth, and to be ignorant of his schemes and devices. In fact, if you turn back a few chapters in the same second epistle which was written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were in Corinth you will find him writing the following words: “For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. To whom ye forgives any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:9-11). Please mark the words which the apostle Paul wrote within this passage of Scripture, for the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian saints that we be not ignorant of the devices of the devil. The apostle Paul would also write in a later place concerning raising up the shield of faith whereby we quench and extinguish the fiery darts of the enemy. Perhaps one of the greatest questions we must ask ourselves is not only whether or not we are aware of the fiery darts of the enemy, but also whether or not we are possibly ignorant of the devices of the devil. The apostle Paul makes it very clear that we ought not and should not be ignorant of the devices of the devil, and that we should be on our guard against, and aware of such devices. With this being said—as we read the words which are found within the twenty-second chapter of the New Testament gospel of Jesus the Christ as written by Luke, we must understand that the meeting which took place between Judas and the religious leaders of that day was not simply a meeting between natural and carnal minds. It is absolutely imperative that we recognize and realize that on this particular night there were forces far more sinister and far more diabolical which were at work behind the scenes completely unawares to the men which met on this particular occasion. While neither Luke, nor the apostle Matthew, nor John Mark, nor even the apostle John wrote concerning this meeting which took place in the invisible, we must understand that there was more taking place on this evening than simply Judas meeting together with the chief priests, scribes and captains of Israel. We must come face to face with the tremendous reality that there was a meeting taking place in the unseen and supernatural realm between Satan who had entered into Judas, and the false spirits of religion which had so infiltrated the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of Israel, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the teachers of the law during that day.
Pausing for a moment to make a side note concerning this reality of false spirits of religion, I would dare say that while there might in fact be a prince of religion in the unseen and supernatural realm, I firmly believe that there are several other false spirits of religion which have been so pervasive within and upon the earth throughout the years and throughout the centuries. I am convinced that if you take a look at each and every one of the religions which have been present within and upon the earth, you will come face to face with a pantheon of religious spirits which have concocted and promoted various false religions within and upon the earth throughout the years. I do not for one minute believe that man alone and man himself has concocted in his natural mind all the various religions we have seen and witnessed throughout the years from the time of Adam and Eve until present day. I do not believe for a single moment that man in their natural mind has within themselves devised the various religions we have found within and throughout the generations. Think about it—if not even Judaism could have been, nor was devised by a single man, what makes us think that the various other religions were concocted and devised by man alone? We cannot and must not think for one moment that Judaism was devised by one single man—namely, Moses who receive the Torah atop the mountain of God in the wilderness of Sinai. If you believe the Scripture and believe that what it states is indeed true, you must understand that the religion of Judaism was created and fashioned by the living God who alone gave Moses the Law atop the mountain of God in the wilderness of Sinai. What’s more, is that even Christianity was not devised, nor was it concocted by mere man, but originated with Christ, and was given birth on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was released and poured out upon the one hundred and twenty in the upper room. Christianity was given birth and was created on the very same feast as was found in the Old Testament when the Torah or the Law of Moses was given atop the mountain of God in the wilderness. On the first feast we encounter and experience the giving of the Law and the establishment of Judaism, and on another feast generations and centuries later we encounter and experience the giving of the Spirit as the Holy Spirit was released and poured out upon one hundred and twenty in the upper room. What’s more, and with that being said, we must also understand that even the religion of Islam was not created, nor was it devised and fashioned by a single man—namely Mohammed—despite what many in Islam would lead you to think and believe. If you truly study the history and origin of Islam it will become quite clear that the entire religion of Islam, which includes the giving of the Koran, was dictated unto Mohammed by a so-called angel while Mohammed was in a cave in the wilderness. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this, for just as Judaism originated with and from the true and living God, and just as Christianity originated with God the Father, Jesus the Christ and the Spirit, and just as Islam originated from a sinister being who appeared unto Mohammed, so also each and every other religion within and throughout the centuries and ages has originated and been devised by false spirits of various religion.
I would dare say that for each and every religion we find present within society today, and for each and every religion we find present within our culture and world today, there was a single spirit which devised and concocted that religion at some point within human history. Take the entire pantheon of religions which are present within our culture and society today and you will quickly discover that it is highly unlikely that there was one single spirit of religion which devised and crafted each and every religion which we find present within and upon the earth. There is not a doubt in my mind that the various world religions we see and find within the earth has a single presiding principality and prince spirit which oversees and watches over it. I fully recognize and realize that as you are sitting here reading these words you might wonder what they could possibly have to do with what we have before us in the twenty-second chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke, however, I would strongly suggest to you that it is necessary and imperative that we come face to face with this awesome and incredible reality concerning false spirits of religion, for when we read the account of Judas meeting together with the chief priests, the scribes and the captains, that which we are truly encountering is an unseen meeting between Satan who had entered into Judas, and the unseen spirits of religion who had gathered together on this night to conspire together with Satan to bring about the death and destruction of Jesus the Christ. In fact, what would you say if I suggested to you that on this very night when Judas met with the chief priests, the scribes, and the captains in Israel, it was a meeting between Satan who had entered into Judas, and all the false spirits of religion which were present within and upon the earth? What if it were possible that on this very night there was a conspiratorial meeting taking place in the unseen and spiritual realm between Satan who had laid hold of and grabbed on to Judas one of the twelve, and the countless false spirits of religion? What if there was present on this night and even in this very room an unseen meeting between Satan who is the chief principality and power of the air, and each and every one of the pantheon of religions spirits who presided over the religions which have been present within and upon the earth from the beginning of time until then? What if the meeting which took place on this night wasn’t merely a meeting between Judas Iscariot and the religious system and leaders, but a meeting between Satan and his chief principalities and spirits of religion? What if on this night what took place was more diabolical and sinister than one of Jesus’ own disciples conspiring together with His adversaries and enemies, but a meeting which took place between Satan the prince of the power of the air, and each and every false spirit of religion present within and upon the earth from the beginning of time until then? If we are truly honest with ourselves, we must admit that in order for the betrayal of Jesus to be successful, and in order for the trial of Jesus, which would ultimately lead to His suffering and death, there would most likely have had to be a greater manifestation of evil which took place on that night. I do not for one minute believe that Judas and the chief priests, the scribes and the captains of Israel could have crafted and devised a way to capture Jesus, force Him to trial, and ultimately hand Him over to the Romans without having supernatural help and assistance from Satan and his chief false spirits of religion present within the earth.
I wrote earlier concerning seeing the activity of Satan within this particular chapter, and we have touched upon Satan’s activity as he conspires together with his chief false spirits of religion in order that he might bring about the death and destruction of Jesus the Christ. With that being said, I would also suggest and propose unto you that we further see the activity of Satan in this chapter in Judas’ seeking to betray Jesus into the hands of His enemies and adversaries in the absence of the multitude. I have previously written about this in an earlier writing, yet I feel it warrants mentioning again, for I am convinced that Judas’ seeking to betray Jesus in the absence of the multitude brings us face to face with how the devil operates within our lives, for his handiwork and playground is often present in those places of isolation and separation—those places and those moments when we are removed from those around us who have supported, encouraged, and even loved us. Just as Judas sought to betray Jesus into the hands of His enemies and adversaries in the absence of the multitude, thus speaking of His being separated from the crowds and multitudes, so also Satan can and will do his greatest work within our lives when we ourselves are separated from fellowship, when we ourselves are separated from community, and when we ourselves are separated from those before and around us who encourage us, who support us, and who are and have been there for us. Satan more often than not does his greatest work in the absence of the multitude when there aren’t others gathered together around us who can stand beside and stand with us. Of course we know and recognize and understand when reading this passage of Scripture that Jesus was a stone’s throw from the disciples, and that the disciples did in fact consult with Jesus whether or not they should smite, however, Judas knew that if he led the insurrection against Jesus in the garden, Jesus would be removed from the multitude, and would be removed from the crowds. Judas knew that it would be incredibly difficult to get close enough to Jesus to betray Him, and even close enough to betray Him with a kiss if He were followed by, surrounded by, and accompanied by a multitude of people. Judas knew that while he might be able to get close close enough to Jesus—even in the midst of the crowds and multitude—he would not be able to betray Him into the hands of His enemies and adversaries in the midst of the crowds and multitude. Instead of making an attempt to betray Jesus in broad daylight when He would have been in the Temple, or when He would have been surrounded and accompanied by great crowds and multitudes of people, Judas came stealthily by night into a personal and private place which he knew Jesus and His disciples would be in. Undoubtedly Judas had been to this particular place before, and knew its significance and importance to Jesus the Christ and His disciples, and deliberately and intentionally chose to mount the assault, the betrayal and insurrection in the garden away from and apart from the crowd and multitude, so as to carry out that which was in his heart to do.
THE SERPENT ENTERS THE GARDEN AGAIN! WHEN THE SERPENT STRIKES IN THE GARDEN ONCE MORE! Thus far we have spoken about Satan’s devices in conspiring together with the false spirits of religion, as well as his moving and operating within and apart from the multitude of crowds and people. With both of those being said, and both of those being written we must now turn our attention to the fact that Satan sought to do more than simply betray Jesus in the absence of the multitude, but Satan was also found in the garden once more. As I sit here this morning and think about and consider that which is found within this particular chapter—as well as that which is found in the various other New Testament gospels concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ—I can’t help but come face to face with the tremendous reality that on this particular night the serpent once more entered into the garden—although this time it was not the garden of Eden where Adam and Eve were present, but it was in a different garden where Jesus the Christ (the second Adam) was present with eleven of His disciples. I am convinced that in order for us to truly understand this reality of the serpent entering into the garden once more we must first begin with the passages that describe the activity of Satan within the life of Judas Iscariot, and then transition to those passages which actually describe Judas entering into the garden on this fateful and decisive night where Jesus was present with His disciples, and as He prayed before and unto His Father who was in heaven. Consider if you will the three passages found in the New Testament which describe the activity of Satan within the life of Judas Iscariot who was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus the Christ:
“Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray Him unto them in the absence of the multitude” (Luke 22:3-6).
“Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poureth water int a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded” (John 13:1-5).
“When Jesus had thus said, He was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom He spake. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom He spake. HE then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto Him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when He had dipped the sop, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. Now no man at the. Table knew for what intent He spake this unto him. For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night” (John 13:21-30).
Each of these passages bring us face to face with the tremendous reality of Satan not only putting into the heart of Jesus to betray Jesus the Christ into the hands of the chief priests, scribes, and captains, but also Satan entering into Judas in order that he might carry out this act of betraying Jesus into the hands of those who vehemently hated and opposed Him. With that being said, we must understand that if Satan did in fact enter into Judas Iscariot, and if it was Satan who enabled Judas to not only conspire together to betray Jesus, but also to carry out the betrayal, then it holds true that when Judas entered into the garden, it was more than just Judas entering into the garden, but it was Satan himself who also entered into the garden. In fact, I would dare say that just as the meeting which took place between Judas and the chief priests, scribes and captains was not simply a meeting between flesh and blood, but a meeting between Satan and the false spirits of religion, so also the betrayal in the garden was more than just Judas entering into the garden with captains and guards. There is not a doubt in my mind that when Judas entered into the garden that night, it wasn’t simply Judas who entered into the garden, for I do not believe that Satan would have missed out on this opportunity to watch. Jesus seized and have hands laid on Him in order that he might be brought and put on trial. What’s more, is that what if Satan was still present with—and even in Judas Iscariot—when he betrayed Jesus the Christ with a kiss, and the act of betraying Jesus with a kiss was still influenced by Satan. Undoubtedly Satan was aware of the words which were written and recorded in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms, and was aware of the words which speak to “kissing the Son,” and he deliberately and intentionally chose to use a kiss to betray Jesus into the hands of His captors, enemies and adversaries. This false sense of humility, and this false sense of intimacy and relationship was manipulated by Satan himself in order that he might betray Jesus the Christ into the hands of His enemies and adversaries so He would stand trial before those who would accuse Him, and those who would ultimately lay hands on, mistreat, oppose, persecute, strike and seek to crush his flesh and person. I firmly believe with everything that is present within me that what we find in the garden was not merely men entering into it with their own devices and weapons, but it was in fact Satan entering into the garden with his diabolical forces with their own weapons and their own devices. Oh if we could see into the spiritual realm in that night I am sure we would have seen more than simply Judas entering into the garden with soldiers and captains and guards. If we were permitted to see that night—perhaps even through the eyes of Jesus, and as Jesus saw it—we would see that it was more than just Judas who entered into the garden with soldiers, guards and captains, but Satan himself entering into the garden with his forces of darkness—each with their own weapons and devices. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for what we find within this passage is more than just Judas entering into the garden, but the serpent entering into the garden in order that he might bring about the death and destruction of Jesus the Christ.
As we read the words which are written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke in the twenty-second chapter of the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, we must not only read it through the lens of the natural, but through the lens of the supernatural and the unseen. There is not a doubt in my mind that if we read the words which are found and contained within this passage of Scripture through the lens of the activity of Satan—which was found at the beginning of the chapter—we will come face to face with the devices of Satan, and will understand his activity all the more within our hearts and lives. I firmly believe that as we read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture we must come to terms with the activity and devices of Satan which was present on this night—from the time he entered into Judas until the time Judas entered into the garden and betrayed Jesus with a kiss. If there is one thing we must take from this passage, it must be that of the incredible and tremendous need for discernment and wisdom on our parts and on our end to recognize and understand the devices, the schemes and the tactics of the serpent who entered into the garden all those millennia ago when Adam and Eve were present upon the earth, and who entered into the garden once more when Jesus was present with His disciples. We must recognize and understand the tremendous truth that surrounds the activity and devices of the devil within our lives, and even within the church and body of Christ as he not only seeks to undermine the authority and person of Jesus Christ, but also seeks to completely and utterly destroy His person, His presence and His influence within his body, and within the lives of his saints. We must come face to face with the great need that is present within our hearts and lives to accurately discern the schemes and devices of the devil in order that we might truly recognize how he moves and operates within our lives. Through the betrayal of Jesus the Christ, and even through the setting up of that betrayal, we encounter just how diabolical the schemes and devices of the devil truly area, and how we must be on our guard against such devices and schemes, and must be keenly aware of them and how they are present within our hearts and lives. As the apostle so succinctly and accurately wrote, we must not be ignorant of the devices and schemes of the devil, but must in fact be aware of exactly how he operates, and must be aware of that which he seeks to do within our lives in order that he might bring about our destruction once and for all.