Leaving the heart’s door open

The chief priests and the scribes wanted Jesus dead.

But, these kinds of things are delicate. The Sanhedrin didn’t have the power to put a man to death — only the Romans could do that — and Jesus was innocent and not worthy of any sentence at all.

Importantly, the enemies of Jesus needed a way to make sure they had their man. They needed someone who knew Jesus to hand him over to them. Accuse the wrong man and the Romans would be less likely to listen next time. In addition, the scribes and priests knew the people supported Jesus. The religious leaders couldn’t just take the Lord into custody. Riots may ensue.

Dr. Luke, the writer of the gospel bearing his name wrote, “Then Satan entered Judas,” (Luke 22:3a NKJV). Ah, but Judas had to open the door first.

William Holman Hunt said, “The door of the human heart can only be opened from the inside.” For a person to fall to Satan’s temptation, one must allow the tempter a foothold inside the mind.

Satan knew Judas’ love of money. When a woman used spikenard to anoint Jesus, Judas complained that the fragrant substance which was very costly should have been sold and the money given to the poor. Judas didn’t say that because he cared for the poor, but because he wanted the money to go into the purse he controlled (John 12:6).

So, Satan had a way to Judas’ heart. He had left the door open

Still, Judas could have ignored Satan’s temptation. He could have resisted. His problem was that he was weak spiritually. How can that happen? He listened to Jesus preach the truth for three years, didn’t he? Yes, but he lacked the faith necessary to benefit from the Master’s teachings.

The writer of Hebrews drew a comparison between the disobedient Israelites who fell in the wilderness and the people to whom he wrote in this way, “Therefore since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it” (Hebrews 4:1-2).

Such is also our warning. Satan can’t get into a heart unless its door is left open from inside. He hasn’t found a way to yours, has he?

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John Henson

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, John Henson has been a husband for 43 years and a preacher for 34 years. He currently serves as the preacher for the Dibrell Church of Christ in McMinnville, Tennessee.

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