John 13:2 " The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God, and was returning to God, so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water in a basin and began to wash his disciples feet..."
Max Greiner`s statue entitled "Divine Servant" is awesome. Although Jesus is presented the other statue probably doesn`t represent Judas. However since scripture informs us that Jesus washed all of his disciples feet that day, it`s alright to envision Jesus and Judas as the two depicted in Greiner`s extraordinary work. While doing so, consider the following questions. Did various influences wrestle within Judas`s heart as Jesus washed his feet? What did Judas`s inner critic say as he looked downward at Jesus? Was Judas looking at the top of Jesus` head, gazing at his face, did he at any time peer into the Lord`s eyes?
It`s significant to note that whatever Judas`s responses, they occurred immediately after the devil had prompted Judas to betray Jesus as shown in the above context. Therefore, when Judas was looking at Jesus, I`m sure the devil was simultaneously running interference. The question, then becomes how? What kind of diabolical tactics were employed by the evil one? Since feet were the focus I`m sure Satan injected thoughts into Judas`s mind that associated with feet. Perhaps Satan said, "Judas, don`t forget, Mary wiped his feet with perfume. "
Jesus was so close that Judas was getting a good whiff of the precious perfume. And so; looking down at Jesus, perhaps Judas focused on his own feet, smelling the nard, and then hearing Mary`s name whispered could have quickened vivid images of Mary pouring the nard all over Jesus. The seething feelings he felt would have gushed out of his memory and bum rushed the scene. Know this: A sweltering rage can be reignited with finger-popping speed. Or, similar evil tactics could`ve caused the temperature in Judas` heart to drop to subzero.
Get this; The devil always had this kind of access to Judas because Judas was a willing vessel. Every time Judas chose to sin, be it in, thought, word or deed, he gave place to the devil, This applies to us as well, To give place to the devil means we not only allow him to retain access upon entry of our minds. it means we agree with him. After the foot washing episode, the next thing recorded was when Jesus foretold of his betrayal. You see, Judas often entertained the devil. I believe his ability to appear sorrowful, and to lie so persuasively was demonically enhanced. It`s significant to emphasize the devil`s timing.
The devil and his evil cohorts are poised opportunists. They eagerly seek opportunities to accomplish their assignments. What are their job assignments? Their mission remains the same: to steal, kill, and to destroy. We know according to John 13:1-4 that on the night in question the devil had given Judas instructions prior to the foot washing. The evil spirits operating at this point were doing what they do with Judas`s permission. All evil spirits are liars and it`s a strong probability that one or more of them strengthened the persuasive power of the lies Judas spoke. And yes, in the same way, the quality of his sorrowful expressions was probably dramatically increased by evil spirits of grief or the worldly spirits of sorrow.
However, later that same evening John 13 records how the devil enters Judas again. It is important to understand that at this point another more powerful evil spirit was sent to assist those who were already working. Scripture informs us of a chain of command through which demonic rank is structured. Satan is the leader of this kingdom of darkness, but he is not omnipotent nor is he omniscient. Therefore, his power is limited. Although he is clever, his power is mostly based on deception. Furthermore, since he cannot be everywhere at the same time he must dispatch other evil spirits throughout the world to assist him. Scripture lifts the curtain unveiling spiritual realities normally kept from view. Such realities should challenge our preconceived ideas.
Once again, as you look at Max Greiner`s statue, envision Jesus and Judas as the two depicted. Do so, with the understanding that Jesus knew Judas was going to betray him and still washed Judas`s feet. And the evil one , although unseen , is there, running interference within Judas`s mind. In this context, the question, then, becomes " Can you discern the influential battle between good and evil?" My brother, my sister, we wrestle not against flesh and blood. Amen.