We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
You might have noticed a theme to these “What Is…” devotionals. I’ve stayed around the subject of Judas Iscariot because the relationship between Judas and Jesus reveals the love of God for His enemies; that’s paramount. But it also reveals the authority that is given the Son of Man to remove the restrainer that protects against the lawlessness of Satan (2 Thes 2:7).
God loves us as a Father that disciplines His children (Heb 12:7-11). We can see that happening as Judas exercises miracles, authority over demons, preaches the kingdom at hand (Mat 10:5-8) and even eats the morsel received from Jesus at the passover (Jhn 13:26). So if God loved Judas, why would Satan be permitted to enter into him? Let’s look at this from another angle. Remember when Jesus calls out Peter saying, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luk 22:31-32). What was going on with Peter that Jesus would say this to him? My observation (and Peter please forgive me for where I might be wrong) is his desire to lead by acting on Christ’s behalf, his ambition manifests through insecurities wanting to prove himself. And it looks like Satan was eating that up inside Peter because it wasn’t that Peter wanted to deny Christ, but his zeal was clouding his judgment about what Christ meant regarding thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Luk 22:30); possibly felt an erratic jolt of emotions for such a position, not to mention what came next, and didn’t know how to react or respond other than to get ampt. Next thing you know he cuts off a dudes ear and starts cursing… can you relate?! Shoot, I feel like I can!
But what do we make of Satan? This issue of sin dates back to the seed of Adam and is written in our DNA because Adam was not deceived when eating that fruit (1 Tim 2:14, Gen 3:6). And so we were living in the lie of evil because we are of our father the devil (Jhn 8:44) choosing to believe in ourselves rather than the truth of the Word of God (Gen 3:7), which is what Peter was doing by cutting off the right ear of a chief priests’ slave at the arrest of Jesus (Luk 18:10) and then denying Jesus for fear of his own life because it was time for the hour of darkness (Luk 22:53) in fulfillment of scripture. Notice what Jesus said to Simon (Peter), …but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; …” Jesus said that He prayed for Peter. And why if Peter has no choice to his faith? After all, God is the one that hardens the heart, and Judas is the one to betray Jesus. So what glory is there to marvel at if God creates His vessels to do what they have no power over? We would be robotic in nature, without option but to marvel. Jesus prayed to His Father who gives us our faith that will either condemn or save us based on the condition of our hearts. And we are either using the faith of God to become hardened like Judas to an illegitimate father (Satan 1 Cor 5:5, 2 Thess 1:9)); or receiving salvation as promised like Peter through a relationship with the love of our heavenly Father (Jesus (Mat 18:14, 1 Tim 2)). Because faith is obeying by believing that Jesus did come in the flesh, and is Son of God, that grants us our promise into the kingdom of God (Jhn 14:6).
The last significant detail about these words of Jesus to Simon is, …and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” . There is an obvious mediation going on here by the data revealed about Simon’s heart. Jesus is confident that Simon will be turned again to Peter (Mat 16:18) for the responsibility of His office. But it’s through his portion of faith (Rom 12:3-6) to trust in the seal of the Holy Spirit (Jhn 3:33-36, 2 Tim 2:19-26).