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 manMatt: 26: 69-75 and Judas betrayed him: “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest himMatt: 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 27:5Flinging 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.

Brian Pusateri

Brian Pusateri

Brian is a Christian author and speaker. Brian, a lifelong Catholic, felt his life was forever changed when God spoke to his heart while attending an eight day silent Christian retreat in November of 2011. Soon after that retreat Brian founded 4th Day Letters and Broken Door Ministries. With the God inspired message of mercy and unconditional love that was placed on his heart during that retreat, Brian has been impacting others all over the country and around the world with his weekly letters, his talks, and his all day Christian retreats. Brian’s life was again impacted in a very dramatic way when his eyesight suddenly became permanently impaired due to a diagnosis of Multiple Scleroses (MS) in June of 2014. This health challenge has only served to draw Brian closer to God and bolster the importance of this timely yet ageless message.
Brian Pusateri

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8 Comments

  1. Jeffrey A Potter on February 15, 2018 at 5:11 am

    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.

    • Brian Pusateri Brian Pusateri on February 15, 2018 at 5:42 am

      Jeffrey

      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.

      Brian

  2. GLORENE DRAKE on November 27, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Another question: Do you think Jesus knew that Judas would betray him from the very beginning?

  3. Roger L Duncan on March 15, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    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.

  4. Ken on March 10, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    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.

  5. Paul Cullen on March 7, 2017 at 8:46 am

    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!!✝️

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