Judas Regrets But Peter Repents
This past weekend I had the opportunity to participate on the team for a men’s three day Christian retreat known as Cursillo. Nineteen men attended this experience as candidates. Each man came to the weekend with their own unique past. When they arrived Thursday night some men were walking a closer walk with the Lord than others were. All were seeking a deep encounter with Christ.
On the weekend, these men were presented a series of fifteen talks, some by laymen and others by clergy. These men were all given the same Christian tools to help them remain close to the Lord for the rest of their life. Each man goes forth from these weekends with the same exact tools and having heard the same exact talks. History, however, tells us that one year from now some of these men will have strayed from the message that they heard. They will quit using the tools that were presented to them and some will no longer be meeting weekly in communion with other Christian men. To sum it up, a year from now some will likely be lost. Have you ever strayed? What path are you on right now?
Each morning of the weekend began with prayer and a meditation. One of the morning meditations captured my attention and the Holy Spirit prompted me to write about it today.
Have you ever noticed how two people given the same opportunities in life can end up with radically different outcomes? One might achieve great success while another might fall off the path and their life end in shambles. This even happens in our families. One child in the family might go astray and have a very difficult path in life. In the secular world, this person might be referred to as the black sheep of the family. In Biblical terms, they would just be known as the lost sheep.
Let’s look at another example of a lost sheep. Have you ever considered the fact that both Peter and Judas were friends of Jesus? Jesus called them both to be among His twelve apostles. They both spent three years with Jesus. They both learned from Jesus. Jesus loved them both. However, in time, Peter denied Jesus: “I do not know the man” Matt: 26: 69-75 and Judas betrayed him: “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him” Matt: 26: 48-50. It is what they did next that intrigued me.
Jesus was on His way to the cross when Peter denied Him three times. Now fast forward to after the resurrection. In John’s Gospel 21:15-19 we have the opportunity to see how Peter reacts to Jesus when Jesus confronts him. Three times Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him. Each time Peter responds by saying yes. His third response is emphatic “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Peter was remorseful for having denied his savior and this time he pledges his love and chooses to follow Christ.
Contrast Peter’s story to that of Judas. We are told in Matt 27:3 that Judas, much like Peter, regretted his actions. “Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, deeply regretted what he had done.” But Judas’ pride, ego and shame got the best of him. Unlike Peter, Judas was unable to return to Jesus to seek forgiveness. Perhaps it was because Judas could not forgive himself. In the end we read this in Matt 27:5 “Flinging the money into the temple, he departed and went off and hanged himself.”
After Peter’s heart felt repentance and his pledge of love for the Lord, “Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” Jesus later said “Follow me”
Notice the two vastly different outcomes. Both men regretted their actions, Peter repented, Judas hanged himself. Not only was Peter forgiven, he was commissioned to be a fisher of men and he spent the rest of his life doing just that. He eventually gave his life in service to his Lord.
Similarly, God has given us everything we need to have eternal life, however, at some point we all betray or deny Christ either in our words, our actions or both. We all have sin in our life. As we prepare ourselves for Easter, perhaps we can reflect on our own response. Knowing that we have sin in our life, will we choose to repent, change our way of life and follow the Lord or like Judas, will our pride get in our way and will we fail to repent, fail to turn away from our sin and in time will our continued sinfulness lead to our spiritual death?
We have a choice. Do our actions reflect a decision like Peter to follow Christ, or judging from our way of life, are we more like Judas choosing spiritual death? My fervent prayer is that all of the men on the weekend will choose to remain in Christ. I pray the same for you.As always, I love to read your comments below as well as hear from you personally by clicking here. Are you still doing your Lenten exercise? Click here if you need a refresher.
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I enjoyed your commentary very much. That said I would like to add a comment that many of your readers may not have considered while reading.
“Most truly I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples began to look at one another, being at a loss as to which one he was talking about. 23 One of the disciples, the one whom Jesus loved Lazarus, who is the only person in the Greek Scriptures (new Testament), was reclining close to Jesus (he was Jesus’ firstborn Son by Resurrection and is also the one Jesus spoke to while on the cross). 24 Therefore, Simon Peter nodded to this one and said to him: “Tell us whom he is talking about.” 25 So the latter leaned back on the chest of Jesus and said to him: “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered: “It is the one to whom I will give the piece of bread that I dip.” So after dipping the bread, he took it and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Is·carʹi·ot. 27 After Judas took the piece of bread, then Satan entered into him, (possessed him). So Jesus said to him (Satan): “What you are doing, do it more quickly.”(betraying Jesus to the Chief Priest’s) 28 However, none of those reclining at the table knew why he said this to him. John 13:21b to 28. In verse 27 Judas is bodily possessed by Satan and in the latter part of verse 27 (Jesus)said to Satan in Judas (when a person is demon possessed, they are no longer conscious and have zero control of their own mind or body) so Judas at this time did not know of anything that had happened up to the time that Satan stopped possessing him and Judas learned of what “he” had done while being possessed. Satan or any other foul spirit cannot possess someone in a Salvation Covenant with God or Christ. When in a Covenant with God no one can possess you because you are the Son of the Mediator of that Covenant. So when Judas (an unrepentant sinner, he was a thief) woke from his possession and found out what “he” had “apparently done” but was actually done by Satan while possessing Judas, must have been quite confusing. He killed himself due to his grief and utter confusion. Judas did not actually betray Jesus, Satan did. Judas died as an unrepentant sinner (he was a thief). Satan will also eventually die as an unrepentant sinner for his sins against God, mankind and his failure to become a disciple of Christ. Jesus gave him that opportunity when he said to Satan “Get ye behind me Satan”, or said another way, “be my disciple Satan”, an offer which Satan had rejected earlier in the Gospels”.
Interesting perspective. Did Judas repent when he gave the money back. Is Judas in heaven?
He was a christian. I have read that nothing can separate us from his love. Neither death, suicide, etc.
Many people have pondered those questions since the time of Jesus. God is love. He is incapable of doing anything except love. He loves even the people in hell. I guess the question of whether or not Judas is in Heaven will be answered for us one day when we get there.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on Galatians 2:11-13 when Peter again basically turns his back on Jesus.
Thanks for your question. I will try my best to offer my thoughts.
And when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong. For, until some people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself, because he was afraid of the circumcised. And the rest of the Jews [also] acted hypocritically along with him, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.
I had these footnotes in the Bible I was using:
Following on the series of incidents cited above, Paul’s argument, whether spoken to Cephas at Antioch or only now articulated, is pertinent to the Galatian situation, where believers were having themselves circumcised (Gal 6:12–13) and obeying other aspects of Jewish law (Gal 4:9–10; 5:1–4). He insists that salvation is by faith in Christ, not by works of the law. His teaching on the gospel concerns justification by faith (Gal 2:16) in relation to sin (Gal 2:17), law (Gal 2:19), life in Christ (Gal 2:19–20), and grace (Gal 2:21).
I can see so many things at play in these passages. I see a follower of Christ (Peter) needing correction by another fellow Christian ( Paul) I think we should all pay attention to this. We need to keep our pride in check and realize that sometimes we wonder and get things wrong on our faith journey. Next I see as the foot note suggests the important clarification that we are not saved by following the old Jewish Laws, but by faith in Jesus Christ. Finally as I look at Peter as juxtaposition Judas I see this. Peter like most Christians screws up, and acts in an impetuous manner sometimes, but after he does he is always quick to acknowledge his mistake and repent. Judas after betraying Jesus let his pride and ego keep him from repenting and instead he chose to take his own life. We can learn a great deal from Peter. I see a lot of me in Peter. We can and should learn from Judas too. No sin is too big to repent from and seek God’s forgiveness.
I hope I addressed your question. If now please let me know.
No, even Judas was not having such idea. That is Jesus, who selected Judas to sell him. Jn13:26-27.
Clearly it is Jesus who gave authority to Satan to use Judas.
It is a selection rather than betrayal.
What hit me this morning when reading this (prior to what my wife seems to think as that I look for someone stating the same thing I believe to back up what I believe)….that is another topic….
What things came to me is that Judas (when remorseful) went back to the “clergy” and they told him to deal with this issue of sin on his own. His sin being betraying an innocent man…
He never had to forgive himself. Nowhere in the Bible is that taught….Judas went to the authority that was in place at the time…the church. He was still called friend by Jesus (Who cannot lie) and was told to deal with his sin on his own. He was powerless to do so on his own.
It is interesting how whether we focus on authority and the systems that are put in place they can lead us astray. Judas didn’t completely know how Jesus was going to rule and reign and potentially wanted to get Jesus’ ministry off to a good start by forcing the issue…. And often we learn from our mistakes (or we get defined by them)…
Judas didn’t have the relationship with Jesus (on Judas’ end) as Peter did….and yes Peter from time to time screwed up…even after being brought into the “fold” Peter took his focus off Jesus and was more concerned about John amd still had to be corrected. Jesus is either Lord of all ….or not.
Jesus is the only Redeemer of sins and the only way to restoration and so often whether we get distracted by the selfishness in us that we are to die to daily so that Jesus can rule and reign in us…..or we end up looking at Jesus as the ONE who wants to take our life instead of offering us a new life (built in glory) and forgiving us for the sins that we have committed.
This issue of identity will come together when Jesus separates the wheat and chaff….but I have seen that often the narrative is to not trust the “organised church” …..unless we are following Jesus and reading our Bible for clarification of hearing God (through His Word) we can easily be led astray.
Judas knew it was sin…and was told to deal with it on his own by the church.
Peter had given all away and said at one point that what else was he to do cuz Jesus had the words of eternal life.
We are all works in progress and are given the same opportunities to come to Jesus as repentant sinners in need of a Savior…
There is SO much that we will never be able to understand this side of eternity…
Thank you for your post.
Thank you for the time you put into your reflection here. I really appreciate reading your thoughts. You are so right, we are all works in progress, and none of us fully understands the mind of God. We know we have flaws and sins, and we depend on His mercy for our salvation.
May God’s blessings be with you.
Another question: Do you think Jesus knew that Judas would betray him from the very beginning?
I am so great full that God is a forgiving God, we just have to be humble enough to let go of the pride and allow God to heal us.
Brian, excellent observation on Peter and Judas. Another example would be when Peter and John raced to the tomb after hearing it was empty, and John merely peered inside while Peter passed by him and went inside the tomb. So many ways to respond given similar circumstances. You wonder what is the difference? Is it that time of your life? Is it Grace? What is it? Great theological, metaphysical and psychological discussions could come from this, without question.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
So many of us are like Judas, we can’t forgive ourselves or someone else and spend our lifetime dwelling on a sin. We need to forgive and ask Jesus for the same in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, cleanse our Souls and regain Gods Grace, so we may get back to a life of serving Him!!✝️