Chapter 1.
The Severity in Becoming Satan's Pawn

Luke 22:1-6

Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover 2 And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people 3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve 4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them 5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money 6 And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.

Most people, I think, want to be good and do what is right. Most folks have a desire for goodness and a revulsion for evil. Unfortunately, they put their beliefs in the wrong things or the wrong gods to attain that goodness. The desire is there, but the path is wrong. People, in general, do not embrace Satan or want to have anything to do with him. Yet, many times, those same individuals end up being influenced or duped by the Devil. They become pawns under his control.

It makes no difference who you are, without Christ, you can become a pawn of Satan. In fact, it was the Lord that said to those without Christ, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do" (John 8:44a). Satan can deceive and influence you to reject Christ or to do something that is terribly wrong. He can take religion, and use that religion to give a person a false sense of security, causing them to feel they have no need of Jesus Christ or His offer of salvation by grace.

In this portion of Luke, we find a crowd of prominent religious people that become Satan's pawns to checkmate or kill the Christ. In fact, we find that one of the twelve disciples, one of the men that rubbed shoulders with Jesus every day, one of the men that followed Him, become a pawn of Satan. His name was Judas Iscariot.

The events in this portion of Luke will provide insights on the scheme to kill the Lord Jesus and how people can become Satan's pawns that do his bidding. The last thing you ever want to happen to you is to be used of Satan, to be one of his pawns, to hurt the cause of Christ, or lead someone astray from the Lord. You may ask, "Can a Christian be a pawn of Satan?" You better believe you can! He cannot possess you, but he can influence you to do his work and hurt the work of Christ. Christians gripped with greed, gossip, hate, bitterness, jealousy, carnality, apathy, or immorality can become pawns of Satan. In fact, it was Paul who warned us about letting Satan get a foothold in our lives.

Ephesians 4:27—Neither give place to the devil.

2 Corinthians 2:11—Lest Satan should set an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

The phrase "get an advantage of us" is from the word pleonekteo {pleh-on-cek-teh'-o} which means "to overreach and be able to grab something, to be superior, to have more of us." Like a boy grasping for cookies in a cookie jar, Satan is grasping for control of you. When Satan gets control of us, that's when we get into trouble.

Let's see what we can learn from this portion and apply it to our own lives. Let's do what we can to avoid the severity in becoming Satan's pawn.

I. The Search to Kill Jesus

Luke 22:1-2

Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. 2 And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.

Luke informs us that the events in this portion of Scripture take place right before the Feast of Unleavened Bread, also known as the Passover. The Feast of Unleavened Bread lasted one week from the 15th to the 21st of the month of Abib (March/April). It was known as the Passover which was the feast where the Jewish people celebrated their deliverance from Egyptian bondage.

The Passover lamb was slain at the end of the 14th between 3:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon. As many as a quarter of a million lambs were slain at this time. Where did all the thousands of gallons of blood from these slain lambs go? How did they get rid of it?

The answer is there was a drain at the base of the altar where it flowed (Leviticus 1:11, 13; 4:7, 18, 25, 30, 34). Huge amounts of water were poured into the altar's drainage system to flush the blood of these lambs. The Temple Mount was on a hill with a flat limestone surface. The drains emptied the blood into the Brook Kidron in the Kidron Valley that was below the Temple.

Normally, this valley was dry throughout the year, but with the spring rains that came at Passover, the valley was turned into a flowing brook of water that would become a crimson stream as the blood of the lambs flowed into the water.

After the lamb was slain, it was then taken home and roasted. The meal was eaten on the 15th to begin the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Remember, the Jewish day began at sunset around 6:00 p.m. The slaying of the Passover lamb on the 14th and the meal on the 15th is why they referred to the whole week as Passover week.

The Passover feast is a picture of the death of Jesus Christ, who is our Passover lamb. In Egypt, the Jewish people marked their houses with the blood of the slain lamb. This led to God's mercy and life, as the death angel passed over that home and the firstborn was spared (Exodus 12). Today, the believer's body is the house or the temple of the Holy Spirit because the believer's sins have been covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. Christ is our Passover lamb. Notice what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5.

1 Corinthians 5:7—Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was to be observed by eating unleavened bread. In fact, no leaven or leavened bread was to be eaten and no leaven was to be seen or allowed in the home. The home was completely scoured of any kind of leaven.

Exodus 13:7—Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a picture of our relationship and walk with God. Leaven is a type or symbol of sin in the Bible. As leaven was removed from Jewish homes, we are to remove sinful habits, actions, attitudes, and associations from our lives. We are to get the leaven of sinful living out! It was Paul who told us to "put off or get some things out of our lives.

Colossians 3:8-9... But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

The Passover week was a very special time of year. To accommodate the two to three million people that would converge on Jerusalem, roads were repaired. All the bridges were strengthened and checked for safety. The wayside tombs or graves were whitewashed to warn the travelers. If they touched these tombs, they would be considered "unclean" and could not participate in the feast.

Every male Jew, who was of age and who lived within 15 miles of the holy city, was bound by law to attend the Passover. In preparation for the feast, the Jewish homes were carefully searched and scoured for any trace of leaven. One month before the feast, the Passover and its meaning were taught in the Jewish synagogues. It was the passion and desire of every Jew to attend the Passover in Jerusalem at least once in their lifetime.

With this background on the Passover, a special, holy time of the Jewish year, Luke tells us that the chief priests and scribes sought to kill Jesus. These were the religious leaders and teachers in the community. They were part of the Sanhedrin, the 71-member, supreme court of Israel. They made sure their homes were clean of leaven, but unfortunately their hearts were filthy. They were gripped by sin, bitterness, and jealousy.

These men illustrate that religion without Christ is nothing at all. It is empty and powerless. If you are a Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, Jew, Hindu, Muslim, or Buddhist, if you do not have Jesus Christ in your heart, you have nothing. Your label is not going to get you into Heaven. Good deeds, religious works do not gain favor with God without Christ in the picture. Yet, many are depending on these deeds to gain eternal life. Unfortunately, they will spend eternity in Hell.

Matthew 7:22-23... Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Ephesians 2:8-9... For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Passover was such a holy time, yet, when a person becomes a pawn of Satan, nothing is holy or sacred. Religious people can become pawns in the hands of Satan to do his bidding. That is a sobering thought. When a person is gripped by sin, the heart becomes rigid, rebellious, resentful, reckless, without respect and reverence for the Lord. This is why we are repeatedly warned to guard against a hard heart, so that we will not store up God's punishment upon ourselves.

Hebrews 3:13—But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Romans 2:5—But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

These religious leaders sought to kill the Lord Jesus Christ, but there was one thing that was holding them up. They feared the people because many folks loved Jesus and followed Him. They did not want to spark a riot during the Passover week. They feared what the people might do to them. They feared losing their power and status. They also feared what the Romans might do to them if a riot broke out. This is why they wanted to wait until the Passover season was complete. God, however, had different plans.

Jesus knew what was going on and what was being planned. He already knew He was going to be put to death at this time. He wasn't surprised at all.

Luke 18:31-33... Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.

Peter said on the day of Pentecost, "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain (Acts 2:23)." Jesus was crucified according to the plan of God. These men were pawns in Satan's hands to carry out what the Lord knew was going to happen. They made the choice to kill Jesus. The Lord did not make them kill His Son. God, however, knew beforehand what they were going to do.

The fear of these religious leaders revealed some serious problems in their hearts. First of all, they feared the people more than they feared doing something that was wrong. They also demonstrated another serious blunder by fearing the people more than they feared God. The praise and approval of people were more important to them than their relationship with the Lord. When this happens, a person gets himself into a lot of trouble. He becomes a pawn of peer pressure and becomes entrapped. Solomon addressed this in the book of Proverbs.

Proverbs 29:25—The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.

The passion for popularity makes the crowd your master. Sometimes, the crowd will want to do things that you don't want to do. They may want to go places where you don't want to go. If you cater to the crowd's approval, you can become a pawn in Satan's hands. Who and what you fear reveals your character faster than anything else.

So who is your master? Whose approval is the most important to you? Is it God's or the crowd's? Do you have the character to do what is right, when others might think you are crazy? Are you willing to sacrifice for others, deny yourself, in order to do the right thing? This kind of attitude will help you to conquer the urge to be popular and cater to the whims of the crowd.

In the field of sports, we have a classic example of doing the right thing, even though some may consider it to be crazy or may cause you a loss. On April 26, 2008, the Western Oregon women's softball team played against Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. During the course of the game, Western Oregon senior Sara Tucholsky hit the first homerun of her college career. She dropped her bat and started to make her way around the bases. In the midst of all the excitement, she forgot to tag first base.

When the first base coach brought the mistake to her attention, she quickly turned around. To everyone's horror, her right knee buckled. Crying, she tried her best to crawl back on her belly to the base. Tucholsky's teammates were warned that if they touched her, she would be called out. The umpires also noted that if her coaches opted to call in a pinch runner, the homerun would only count as a single.

You can probably imagine the shock everyone felt, then, when Mallory Holtman, the opposing team's first baseman and career homerun leader for Central Washington, turned to the umpire and said, "Would it be okay if we carried her around the bases, and she touched each bag?" When the umpires gave their approval, Holtman and teammate Liz Wallace picked up Tucholsky, crossed their hands beneath her, and carried her to second base. Once there, they lowered the injured player and gently touched her foot to the bag. They did the same for third base and home plate. The crowd erupted into a standing ovation. Western Oregon went on to win the game, eliminating Central Washington, the team that carried her around the bases, from the playoffs.

When later asked about the good deed, Holtman said the decision to help out her opponent was simple. She felt Sarah deserved the homerun, because the ball cleared the fence. In her own interview, Sarah said, "It's amazing, what they did... I hope I would do the same for her in the same situation." George Vecsey, a writer who was there covering the game, said what happened can only be described as a moment of grace. May we have that same kind of character to do the right thing.

II. Satan's Possession of Judas Iscariot

Luke 22:3

Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.

Luke tells us that Satan "entered" Judas Iscariot. The word "entered" is from the Greek word eiserchomai {ice-er'-khom-ahee}. This word means "to enter; to go out or come in; to take possession of a person's body." As a person can become demon-possessed, Luke indicates that Judas was possessed by Satan himself. He became a pawn in Satan's hands. The only way this could happen is if Judas opened himself up to possession. His heart had to be filled with evil. Beloved, realize that Satan is looking for pawns that he can use to do his bidding.

Why would Judas turn his back on Christ? The money was not that large of an amount. Yet, money was important to Judas. Some folks can become so consumed with greed that they will do anything to gain money, even if it means destroying someone else. Another reason why Judas may have betrayed the Lord is the fact that he may have followed the Lord to gain power in Christ's kingdom. Don't forget that the disciples argued with one another who was the greatest among them.

I think when Judas realized that Jesus was not going to be a military conqueror and drive out the Romans, he threw the Lord in the trash. When Jesus would not become king, or when He felt that Jesus was not the Messiah, he had nothing else to do with the Lord.

Do you have this kind of attitude toward Christ? You may ask, "What do you mean?" I have met many Christians or people who professed to be Christians, who have gotten out of church or have nothing else to do with the Lord because they did not get their own way or they are mad at God about something that happened to them in their lives. They more or less, trash the Lord and turn their backs on Him. Does this describe you? The New Testament spoke about this problem.

1 John 2:19—They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Hebrews 10:38—Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

2 Peter 2:20—For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

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