Luke 22: 3-6 – Judas’ Offer to Betray Jesus


The story of Judas’ offer to betray Jesus to the Chief Priests and officers (Lk 22: 3-6) is closely connected to the previous story (Lk 22: 1-2) and complements it. Judas conspires with the authorities and agrees to help them to arrest Jesus quietly.

Here gain the Lukan story of Judas’ treachery is dependent on the Markan parallel in Mark 14: 10-11. It may be observed that Luke does not retain the episode of the anointing of Jesus at Bethany (Mk 14: 3-9). His omission of this story may be due to the fact that he has already reported a similar incident in Luke 7: 36-50; or it may be because Luke thinks that Jesus is to be anointed after his death (cf. Lk 23: 55 24: 1). Whatever it be, the omission of the story of the anointing has enabled Luke to achieve a narrative continuity and progression, from the conspiracy of the authorities (Lk 22: 1-2) to the co-operation of Judas (Lk 22: 3-6). While gospel of Mark describes only the bare fact of Judas’ offer to betray Jesus to the authorities (Mk 14: 10-11), Luke’s account is a little more detailed. Like gospel of Mark, Luke too does not explain why Judas decided to betray Jesus. But the Lukan account contains a new element, namely, the influence of Satan on Judas. The opening verse says that Satan entered into Judas (Lk 22: 3). The same expression “Satan entered” (into Judas) occurs in John 13: 27 (cf. Jn 13: 2, 21) but not in the gospels of Matthew and Mark.

In Luke alone, among the synoptic, we find Satan playing a role in the passion of Jesus (cf. Lk 23: 3, 31, 53). In this aspect Luke’s passion narrative has similarities with that of John. These similarities imply that Luke perhaps knew certain Johannine Passion traditions in their pre-literary stage. To some extent Luke too, like John, presents the passion events as Jesus’ victory over evil and the powers of darkness. After the temptations in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, the devil had departed from Jesus until an opportune time (Lk 4: 13). Now the opportune time has come and the devil, personified as Satan, comes back and enters into Judas influencing him to betray Jesus (Lk 22: 3). Satan effected the defection of Judas, one of the Twelve, and under his influence Judas conspires with the religious leaders and agrees to betray Jesus to them. Again, Satan wanted to have the disciples and ‘sift’ them like wheat (Lk 22: 31). The passion of Jesus is also the hour of his enemies and the power of darkness, all personified in Satan. But the final victory in this struggle belongs to Jesus who accepts his suffering in perfect submission to the will of his Father (God) (Lk 22: 42) and triumphas over pain and death by his resurrection and thus enters into his glory (Lk 24: 26, 46). In this context, the activity of Satan through Judas (Lk 22: 3-6) may be seen as signalling the beginning of the role that Satan will play in Jesus’ passion. Judas is mentioned as “one of the Twelve” by all three synoptic gospels (Mt 26: 14; Mk 14: 10; Lk 22: 3). The early Christians did not ignore this embarrassing item of tradition, but preserved it perhaps to emphasis the malice of one of Jesus’ intimate disciples in betraying his master.

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