We all have wondered when reading Luke 22:3, “And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve.” Is it possible for me to possessed by Satan? It is quite a scary thought that this man spent three plus years walking side by side with Jesus, hearing countless sermons and seeing many miracles, being possessed by Satan himself. How could this be? Was he not personally chosen by Jesus? And what about Peter? He was also tempted to betray Jesus by denying Him, was he also possessed by Satan?
The answers lie in looking at each one of their beliefs, shown to us by what they said and the actions they took. There is always evidence of a person’s spiritual belief which is demonstrated by works, not to be confused with trying to work “for” salvation, these works are a result “of” salvation. For instance, one of the first works I did after salvation was to clean up my language. Changing the way I talked was not for me to receive salvation, but was a result of my salvation. James 2:22 states, “You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected.”
Looking at Judas and Peter’s lives, we can see a clear sign of Peter’s belief in Jesus. He said in Matthew 16:13-17, “You are the Christ the Son of the living God.” We know that this was a true confession of Jesus, because to say this was considered blasphemy by the Jews. Nowhere can we find Judas making any statement of faith, all we see is his love for money. In John 12:1-6, Judas was questioning Jesus about Mary wasting the perfume instead of selling it, because he wanted to steal the money.
In John 13:6-18, when Jesus washed the disciple’s feet, He said all of them were clean except one, because He knew who it was who would betray Him. Also in John 17:6-12, Jesus, while praying for the disciples, declared they believed Him in verse 8, but He also said in verse 12, that none of them perished but the son of perdition, indicating that Judas did not believe in Him. We can conclude that Peter was a believer and Judas was not.
In Job 1, we read of a man who also believed and we can see that God places a hedge of protection around those who believe. In verses 9-10, Satan answers God and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has on every side?” And in Luke 22:31, Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat.”
These verses show us that Satan has no power over believers unless He first gains permission from God. But he did not need permission for Judas because God was not protecting Him. In Peters case, because Satan demanded permission, shows us that God allowed Satan to tempt Peter, however, Satan in no way possessed him.
So why do you think Jesus chose Judas to be a close friend of His knowing that he would have betrayed Him to His death?
It is because He gives all people every opportunity to believe in Him. Ezekiel 18:32 states, “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies, declares the Lord God. Therefore repent and live.” God takes pleasure in the repentance and life of all people, not the punishment of the wicked.
Jesus gave Judas three plus years of hearing the truth, allowing him to make his own choice, but he chose death.
Father, thank You that You love people so much that You give them every chance to accept Your salvation through Jesus, in His name I pray, amen