Luke 22:1-3, Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching. The chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people. And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve.
There is little more hurtful and angering than someone formerly trusted who has become traitorous. Perhaps it’s because we feel we were duped by an act which should have been more obvious. Maybe we might be afraid we will be the next to become disloyal. Maybe we are terrified by the similarities between ourselves and the one we are judging. These are all rightful considerations. But one thing is certainly a real difference at the moment; Judas did sell out his soul to the devil.
John 13:28 makes it clear that no one at the meal understood exactly what the circumstance was. As John would think and rethink this event over the days and years to come, he would conclude no less than Satan himself, had entered into Judas as he would sit and watch. How was he so sure?
Jesus would teach in John 14:26 that the Holy Spirit can teach us about the past as well as the future. He can clarify and define for us the moments we have witnessed or anything else He chooses to teach us about. Sometimes we can understand it immediately or, like some lessons, it might take some time to absorb and comprehend. We are often exposed to lessons we don’t fully understand until we accumulate more experience.
Unlike God, Satan is not omnipresent. He can only exist in one place at a time. For that moment he was inhabiting Judas in an attempt to destroy the Christ. The prince of the power of the air took aim at someone as close to Jesus as he could get. A fearful thought is that we can be so close to Jesus and still be a target, even destroyed by Satan. We can have all the confidence of proximity and still be taken over by our hollow hearts and hollow dedication. We can seem sincere and faithful, and actually be far from the kingdom of God.
Somehow, as John relived and remembered the events of that day, he saw Satan. He might have missed him at the moment, but his memory would reveal the image of the chief adversary of God. I wonder what it must have been like to sit at the table with one inhabited by Satan? As their hands touched the same bread, I wonder if John could smell the scent of the silver from Judas recent acquisition. Did John see Satan in the feet of Judas as he scampered away to do the vilest deed?
After nearly two thirds of a century later, John would write in 1 John 2:19, “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.” Some of our best and worst life lessons are learned as we live life, or as in this case, we sit at a table with trusted friends. John learned a lesson he has shared with all of us. What is it that we are witnessing around us? Is Satan at work and directly in front of us, but for the moment or our own naiveté, we miss his vile presence? We have but to stick close to Jesus and rely on his guidance and example as a light to our path.