March 28 – Devotion Sharing (Luke 22)

Submitted by Kan L. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

-Betrayal
The betrayal here is a premeditated plot between two parties. First, the chief priests and teachers of the law were already plotting but just could not find a way, until “Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.” Along the way, Satan entered Judas as well to further push along the plot. It seems like the environment was already hostile against Jesus. They were all just waiting for the first person to make the move. Judas is still responsible for the betrayal but the text here gives us the context of the betrayal. It’s not so much that Judas had this really crazy idea and vendetta against Jesus and went out to make it happen himself. It’s a context that leans favorably toward betraying Jesus as the hostility between him and the religious leaders mounts. I think about our society today and find that similar hostility toward God. Popular media, college professors, and our entire culture go against the claims of God. There is mounting pressure for people to confirm at every stage of life. The moment they yield, and consent to the pressure, they will find many supporters and opportunities to betray their faith. But against this hostile world, Jesus is still willing to trust the very people who are prone to betray him. In this case, it was Judas. It’s interesting to note that though the hostile religious leaders wanted to do something, they could not get their hands on Jesus. It was Judas that made it finally possible. The supposedly powerful people did not have power over Jesus. It was only the disciples whom Jesus was vulnerable to that had the power to betray him. I think about how Jesus made himself vulnerable to Judas. I think about how Jesus is still making himself to me today. It’s amazing that he is willing to do that and suffer the very likely rejection and betrayal from sinners like me. I imagine the hurt and pain each time I reject him just as I see how painful Judas’ rejection must have been. It’s so ugly to see such relationship of trust broken by betrayal. This is a warning for me. I live in a hostile world and I can easily betray Jesus when I give in to my desires. But at the same time, Jesus is willing to trust me. I want to let this be a reminder for me how much of a privilege and honor it is that Jesus is willing to be in a relationship with me who is so likely to betray him.

-Judas
I wonder what prompted Judas to finally make this move and how he must have felt during the discussion. The text says that the priests and officers of the temple guard were “delighted.” He simply “consented” and then moved to act according to their agreement. He seems somewhat passive in this whole thing, first allowing Satan to enter him and consenting to the plot. He is still responsible for his choice, because he is the one that got up and went to the religious leaders. It’s a scary picture that he could be that close to Jesus, yet be that passive and finally be the one to betray Jesus.

I think about what that would look like today. It would be someone who goes to church, attend all the religious meetings and take part in ministry but never had personal conviction about what he or she is doing. Then when the circumstances change, that person is also likely to just give up on his or her faith, and in that way betray Jesus.

It reminds me that I can be like that too if I don’t take seriously my personal relationship with Jesus. That’s why the more involved I am in ministry and the more things I do for God, I have to be that much more careful to watch out that I still have the right personal convictions which comes from my relationship with Jesus. That’s why basic things like daily devotions, prayer, and personal reflection are so important. Those are ways in which I can really develop and guard my relationship with God.

-Religious leaders
The religious leaders had an agenda to carry out and Jesus went against that agenda so they were ready to get rid of Jesus. I wonder what led them to be so stubborn and so blind, and what allowed them to rationalize coming up with such a plot of murder. It’s basically their pride and desire to protect their position that led them to rationalize such an act. They just didn’t like having their authority challenged by Jesus. I think about my own pride and ego. I can recall incidents where my desire to protect my ego and image led me to be defensive, argumentative, and unwilling to take corrections. I think about those incidents in retrospect and just feel so stupid. Why did I say or do that? I don’t know. The picture of the religious leaders’ utter blindness to their action warns me regarding how blinding my pride can be. When I have an agenda of protecting my ego, then I can really do foolish things and even rationalize it to convince myself. I want to once again commit to just be humble and willing to listen and receive corrections well. Those are the times when my ego can really flare up but now seeing the ultimate end result of such pride, I want to commit to being willing to listen to the truth even if it may hurt my pride.

-Discussed, delighted, agreed, consented
These four actions are typical things people do to come up with a plan for something good. But here, they are used to talk about a plot of murder. It’s really twisted and grotesque that these religious leaders and one follower of Jesus could gather together to plot like this. The religious leaders stood for high moral standard and the follower of Jesus stood for commitment and loyalty to Jesus. They trashed all these things they stood for when they discussed, delighted, agreed upon and consented to the plot to kill Jesus. Something went seriously wrong here. It’s these people carrying out their own agenda using whatever means possible. They could not convince Jesus to join them, so they wanted to just kill him, and eliminate his threat to the established religious order. People are just really wicked. When they don’t get what they want, many plot to get what they want regardless of means. This plot is an example of this. I see that I can be doing the same things if I don’t carefully examine my own personal agenda. I can discuss, delight, agree and consent in my own mind regarding what I can do to make myself look good before other people, to gain praise and approval. I realize in essence, this is what the religious leaders ultimately wanted for themselves. It’s time to check my heart to fight against that desire. It starts with knowing how serious it can be. I really want to take this warning and take seriously my struggle against doing things to appear good before people. Often, I can think that it’s not that but now I see my plan to get such approval is in essence similar to the religious leaders’ plot to get rid of Jesus to protect others’ approval of them.

PERSONAL PRAYER
Father, I think about Judas and the religious leaders. It’s so sad and it’s a very grotesque picture of betrayal and murder plot. It’s basically the agenda of seeking position and status that led to this. Father, as I see how I often want to do things to just appear good before others, I see how that can led me to ultimately betray you. The one thing I need to make sure is that I personally connect with you regularly so that I will not just live before other men. That starts with basics like daily devotions and prayer. Father, please help me to ground myself in relationship with you through these basic things and continue to struggle with my desire for men’s approval, so that I will not one day let such agenda cause me to want to betray you.

Submitted by Myra C. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Luke 22:1-6
Why did Judas become a target for Satan? (See John 12:4-6; James 1:13-15).
Judas becomes a target for Satan because even though he is one of the disciples following Jesus, he isn’t interested in what Jesus is going to do or even following Jesus. He is more interested in money as noted in John 12. It was out of his own selfish motives that he followed Jesus. At the end, he becomes angry that Jesus will not fulfill all his unspoken expectations. Satan entering Judas doesn’t mean that Judas unwillingly betrays Jesus for money. On the contrary, according to James, it is his own evil desire for money and his greed that tempts him, leading him to be open for Satan to enter and ultimately betray Jesus. This is what Judas wanted and hence allowed Satan to enter him.

Similarly, I can be a target for Satan when I allow evil desires to form in my heart and are not dealt with. I have these unspoken expectations that cause me to get angry and frustrated when they aren’t met. These desires in my heart may start out as a small voice or tug at my heart telling me to get some rest here, indulge in a bit of pleasure or entertainment there, or desiring attention but it could end up becoming a louder and louder voice that progress into sin and death, ultimately causing me to betray Jesus. How often has this happened where I had fallen and didn’t even know how it happened but that it had started out with a small inkling of desires that wasn’t dealt with. This how Satan works, hoping that we won’t deal with these desires so that desires can grow into nagging thoughts, action and sin and ultimately ensnares us.

What did fear of people, and their desire to get rid of Jesus, cause the religious leaders to do? Is there some parallel between the religious leaders and what I do to get what I want?
Because of their fear of the people and desire to get rid of Jesus, the religious leaders were looking for ways to get rid of him and ended up conspiring with Judas. They did this in secret and hoped to get Jesus when no crowd was present. ?Parallels between religious leaders and what I do to get what I want is that when I want certain things that I know is wrong and will be looked at badly by others, I end up doing things in secret and conspire when no one else is around. It is hypocrisy and deceit. This is the full extent of my deceit and sin in my heart. Jeremiah says that the heart is deceitful above all things. I know my heart is capable of this kind of manipulative deceit in order to get what I want.

What are some ways in which I am making myself vulnerable to sin?
The ways in which I make myself vulnerable to sin is through compromise, silence, and deceit. Judas had all these desires and expectations but he never spoke about them or dealt with them. If only he had brought his anger and unfulfilled expectations to Jesus, he might have been able to just come out clean regarding his greed, stealing, expectations, and repent. He could have experienced Jesus’ mercy and forgiveness. Yet he merely allowed these desires to grow and he hid and sinned until they festered into this angry kind of greed that led to his betrayal. Moreover, Judas was compromising his integrity and continuing to hide by stealing from the moneybag for his own use.

When I don’t come out into the light regarding sins or even wicked desires, I am not living in the light and there is that opening in my heart for Satan to come in through. It might be because of shame, deceit, wanting to look a certain spiritual way before others, or plain laziness, but the consequence of not dealing with desires is scarier that Satan has that foothold in my heart. This means being brutally honest before God and other people so that I can come clean and refuse Satan any kind of foothold. It can be really hard and even shameful but James 1 gives me a clear warning of the consequences of not dealing with evil desires. Moreover, my experience is that even though it is hard being honest, there is a freedom in truth rather than being enslaved by sin.

PERSONAL PRAYER
Dear Heavenly Father, ?I confess that my heart is deceitful above all things and I often want Satan to have some kind of leeway or foothold in my heart. Lord, I pray that you would help me to be brutally honest with God and those before me so that I can actually deal with my wicked desires and sin instead of compromising and conspiring in the darkness. I thank you, Heavenly Father, that you allow and want us to come to you and to bring up all our expectations and burdens and desires so that they can be dealt with. I pray that I would have a clear understanding and fear of sin so that I wouldn’t toy with it but instead flee from it and refuse to let Satan any kind of foothold in my heart. Amen.

Submitted by Richard D. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

Luke 22:1-6
Why did Judas become a target for Satan? (See John 12:4-6; James 1:13-15).
Judas became a target of Satan because of his own evil desires, as referenced by James 1:13-15. In John 12:6, it states that Judas was a thief who did not care about the poor, though he may have tried to appear that way. Judas was a thief because he used to take from the money bag as he pleased, and he easily did so because he was the keeper of the money bag. Based on these verses in John we get a clear picture that he lived a deceptive life, despite being one of the disciple of Jesus. He had the responsibility of taking care of the group’s money bag, yet he would secretly help himself to it. In Luke 22:4-5, we finally see Judas succumbing to his desire for money, by trading Jesus over for a monetary value. Judas became a target for Satan because in was evident to Satan that Judas’ evil desire was strong, and could be easily tempted — dragged away and enticed.

When I think about my life, I see that I am not immune from being such a target from Satan, time and time again. My heart can be filled with a lot of evil desires. Even going about my day, as mundane and uneventful as it may be, I can fall to sinful thoughts, habits, and actions. Satan is always there, waiting to pounce on me if I am not careful. When I let God drift further and further away from my thoughts and heart, when I choose to, instead, entertain thoughts and partake in things not pleasing to God, the target on my back gets bigger and bigger. I’ve allowed sin to take over me, and Satan to drag me away and entice me. It is a reminder that I must continually stay close to God, through prayers of confession and repentance, and studying His word on a continual basis (such as daily devotions), so that Satan will have a harder time getting a grasp on me.

List all the words that describe the progression from “looking for some way” to the finalization of the conspiracy. What can I learn from this about how desire gets birthed into sin?

Looking for some way; they were afraid; discussed… how he [Judas] might betray Jesus; delighted and agreed.

The chief priests and the teachers of the law began with a desire to find some way to get rid of Jesus. The interesting thing to take note was that they feared the people, and not necessarily God. Had their fear of God been greater than everything else, they may have not gone through with such a heinous plan. As it was, they feared the people. This fear of people fueled their desire to get rid of Jesus. They pursued this desire, and ultimately was able to find a way to make it happen, through Judas. They were very proactive and dead-set on “looking for some way” to making this desire come to fruition. And when it did, they were delighted. Having the desire, when entertained and pursued, gets birthed into sin, as I can see from the chief priests and teachers of the law. It is important that when these desires come up in my life, it could come in the form of bitterness, competitiveness, envy, etc. I must not give these desires the time of day, else they could really snowball into sin. What am I to do when these desires when they come? For one, I can pray to God, confessing these desires to Him, and asking Him to help me push through them.

What did fear of people, and their desire to get rid of Jesus, cause the religious leaders to do? Is there some parallel between the religious leaders and what I do to get what I want?

The fear of people and their desire to get rid of Jesus caused the religious leaders to destroy the life of Judas, and also ultimately sending Jesus to the cross to be crucified. There is a direct parallel between the religious leaders and what I do to get what I want. I think about a little child and how often their desires can completely overtake then to the point they have to get what they want, or else they throw a tantrum. I don’t think my desires are that far from that of a child’s in many ways. My desires can be strong, and the desire to get what I want can be strong. Because I am an adult, I actually have a greater propensity to actually get what I want. At least a child recognizes his helpless state and may give up in exhaustion. I can go to great lengths to get what I want. Like earlier mentioned, if I really allow my heart and mind to entertain these desires, these feeling can grow stronger and stronger, and then there’s no stopping me from getting what I want. I am very much like these religious leaders, as much as I do not want to admit. Their actions serve as a warning and reminder just how far I can turn away from God if I allow these desires to take over my heart.

What are some ways in which I am making myself vulnerable to sin?

I can make myself vulnerable to sin when I dwell on various desires that may come to my mind throughout the day. Entertaining the thought of getting that higher paying job, and how much more I can purchase for my life and be more comfortable, can make me vulnerable to sin. Thinking about how I need to rest and take it easy, despite have a lot of things I am responsible for can make me vulnerable to sin. Continually comparing myself to other people, taking not of their strengths and competency, dwelling on my lacks and insecurities, not letting go and forgiving someone that has wronged me, relying on my own competency and not the help of others and from God, and even just doing my daily devotions as a task to check off can make myself vulnerable to sin, because I miss out on how God is speaking to me and addressing my heart. All these things, and so many other things, that seem very minuscule at first can really escalate and get birthed into sin.


Submitted by Ray Choi from Gracepoint Berkeley

Prayer For Today’s DT
Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies. Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it. (Psalm 141:3-5)
Lord, please speak to me through your word – let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, let a righteous man strike me – it is a kindness; let him rebuke me – it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it – God I desire truth, I desire to be led, taught, shaped. Let my ego and pride only die again and again.
Luke 22:1-6

22 Now the Feast 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.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

Luke 22:1-6
Why did Judas become a target for Satan? (See John 12:4-6; James 1:13-15).

Judas became a target for Satan because he was a thief–he had been more interested in money, in personal gain, than about people or about Jesus’ cause. His desire for money and ultimately for personal gain dragged him away and enticed him, opening that door for Satan to enter in and leading to sin and eventually death.

This is a sober lesson I need to learn from Judas – his epic betrayal, that which would make him tragic for all time – began with a desire for money, for something good and necessary in life and then became an evil desire, money for personal gain, money for selfish indulgence, ambition or self-preservation. My desires that can begin as good can become evil and a portal for Satan to tempt me, to entice me and drag me away to do things I never imagined I would do – that which in my sober moments I would be horrified at the thought of doing.

What are the good desires that can quickly become evil and a tool for Satan to use to tempt me? My desire to do well as a minister and a leader – it starts off good, wanting to do what is best for the students, for the ministry, wanting everything that we do well – why? So that people can be drawn to the message, to the Gospel, to know who God is and become saved. This is all good and a right motivation. But then this easily becomes wanting to do well as a minister and leader so that others would consider me a good leader, trustworthy and valuable; wanting to do well as a source of personal significance; wanting to do well ultimately to feed my ego and my addiction to feeling good about myself. This is an evil desire and opens the door for Satan to entice me and drag me away into sin.

List all the words that describe the progression from “looking for some way” to the finalization of the conspiracy. What can I learn from this about how desire gets birthed into sin?
“looking for some way”
“for they were afraid of the people”
“discussed”
“were delighted and agreed to give [Judas] money”

Desire gets birthed into sin as it gets fueled by fear of people, and then Satan used Judas to discuss with them ideas of how to actualize their desire – he was feeding meat to the lions, and the religious leaders went for the meat. Desire mixed with fear only multiplies the desire – it becomes a powerful cocktail of evil, and at that point, Satan can feed into that desire/fear mixture anything he wants to fan it into flame – a conversation with an old friend, something you run across online, a magazine article, a stray comment from lecture or that you overhear – you start hearing what your itching ears want to hear. Then, once you’ve gathered enough confirmation, sin seems like an inevitable force that possesses you, takes over you, until you sin, or more like sin takes control of you, and death is just the next step in the progression.

What did fear of people, and their desire to get rid of Jesus, cause the religious leaders to do? Is there some parallel between the religious leaders and what I do to get what I want?
Their fear of people and their desire to get rid of Jesus led them to kill an innocent man, to crucify the Lord of life, to throw truth out the window, to place personal preservation over truth, over miracles, over God (they would say, “We have no king but Caesar.”) They stopped at nothing to get what they wanted.

When I want something, like being right in a decision, I sometimes see myself going against good reason, best practices, and the advice of others by insisting on reasons and ways my decision turned out to be an okay decision. In a very similar progression as the religious leaders here did, I toss truth and good reason out the window, I look for evidence that supports my view, I feed myself what my itching ears want to hear, so that I can get what I want – being right, not being unwise, not being foolish, not being immature, not being sinful.

What are some ways in which I am making myself vulnerable to sin?
In this way, I make myself vulnerable to sin – when I allow my proud self, my ego, to have some say. I need to have zero tolerance for my ego to poke its head out or to have any say in the matter, because when I do, I start down this same progression of letting my desire be fed by my fear of people, then seeking out what I want to hear, building up justifications, and eventually my desire to go ahead with the decision or judgment I want is unstoppable. This will lead to sin – and as a leader, I will make decisions that are harmful, frustrating and disempowering to the students and to the staff.

Another and more general way I can make myself vulnerable to sin is by allowing my desire to do well as a minister be fueled by my ego rather than by my desire to please God and love people. I need to do the daily heart-check to repent of my ego motivations and accept truth, seek out wisdom and feedback and correction, like today’s prayer. “Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil; let me not eat of their delicacies. Let a righteous man strike me – it is a kindness; let him rebuke me – it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it” (Psalm 141:3-5).

Application: Seek out feedback, guidance and correction more than I am right now – ask, see what others thought of that time, that message, that night. I should be erring on seeking more feedback than less; practice others-centeredness and a daily prioritizing of truth over my ego. I remember that example from the book Integrity where a young business man, when offered critical feedback, said, “Please grant me a gift.” Proverbs 4:7 says “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

PERSONAL PRAYER
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your words of warning through the religious leaders of Jesus’ time, the warning that I can so easily fall into the trap of my desires turning evil and being fed by Satan into sin, and eventually death. I commit to truth once again, to seeking feedback, to letting my ego die through the wisdom and resources of people You have placed all around me. I commit to being a student of wisdom and understanding once again. Please help me as I guard my heart from evil desires and strive to be governed by truth and wisdom. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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