Judas and David – The Devil made me do it

A few nights ago, my wife and I were discussing the role and aftermath of Judas, so I went to the Scriptures and determined to clarify my position on Judas. This is part 1 of a 3 part (starting here) series in which I examine Judas according to the Scriptures. This is, as always, open to discussion.

The Gospel story is filled with motif connecting the history of Christ with that the theological history of Israel in a method which we label ‘incarnational‘. Part of the analysis of the Gospels entails finding the proper motif, if one exists, for certain passages or perhaps events in the story. It is the motif of the ‘prompting of Satan’ which I want to discuss regarding John’s Gospel and its portrayal of Judas. This will be only a discussion on John’s view of Judas. (I take a late date, 90 perhaps) for John’s Gospel which might have given the aged Apostle more time to digest the Judas problem.)

Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him. (John 6:70-71)

It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. (John 13.2)

Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. So Judas left at once, going out into the night. As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory, and God will be glorified because of him. (John 13:26-31 NLT)

John doesn’t blame Judas – but Satan.

I not here that Ignatius of Antioch took John’s line as well:

And indeed, before the cross was erected, he (Satan) was eager that it should be so; and he “wrought” “in the children of disobedience.” He wrought in Judas, in the Pharisees, in the Sadducees, in the old, in the young, and in the priests. – To the Philippians IV

Turning to King David, we find that he too committed a great sin against God, in numbering Israel:

Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Take a census of all the people of Israel– from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north– and bring me a report so I may know how many there are.” But Joab replied, “May the LORD increase the number of his people a hundred times over! But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this? Are they not all your servants? Why must you cause Israel to sin?” But the king insisted that they take the census, so Joab traveled throughout all Israel to count the people. Then he returned to Jerusalem and reported the number of people to David. There were 1,100,000 warriors in all Israel who could handle a sword, and 470,000 in Judah. But Joab did not include the tribes of Levi and Benjamin in the census because he was so distressed at what the king had made him do.

God was very displeased with the census, and he punished Israel for it. Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt for doing this foolish thing.” (1Ch 21:1-8 NLT)

The Chronicler too blamed Satan for David’s sin, however, David was still punished for the sin. (I note the idea of ‘three’ in David’s choices) Because of the direction of God in David’s life, and because of David’s sin, the location of the Temple obtained.

Because of Satan prompting Judas, because of Judas’ betrayal of Christ which led to the death of Christ and thus the Resurrection, the Temple of God has been obtained. Can we doubt then the hand of God in David’s sin or the hand of God in Judas’? Is our God without Mercy? Was not David ultimately redeemed?

What say ye?

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