Daily Read – Exodus 32:1-33:23; Matthew 26:69-27:14; Psalm 33:1-11; Proverbs 8:33-36
Immediately a rooster crowed.
And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him,
"Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times."
So he went out and wept bitterly.
Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned,
was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying,
"I have sinned by betraying innocent blood."
And they said, "What is that to us? You see to it!"
Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
In the daily reading today, there are stories told of two men who betray Jesus. Both Peter and Judas display some very similar characteristics, but their differences are quite distinct and determine each of their destinies.
Jesus approached Peter, a gruff and tough fisherman, inviting him to follow Him. Peter immediately left his lifetime vocation to follow Christ. Though rough around the edges, Jesus saw something very special in the heart of Peter. However, he had his share of conflicts with Jesus even to the point of receiving a strong rebuke for trying to interfere with the providential plan of God.
Then there is Judas, another disciple of Christ who was very attentive and astute with his duties as the one holding the moneybox. He put on quite the show of stewardship when he scolded the woman in Bethany for wasting expensive perfume on Jesus. However, true motives are revealed in John 12:5-6, where we read Judas saying,"Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the moneybox; and he used to take what was put in it.
Looking at these two men side by side, one might conclude that they, like each of us, have character flaws. However, by reading through the gospels, the reader comes to realize that their differences are quite apparent and broad. These two men are very different from one another.
Both Peter and Judas walked with Jesus; saw the miracles he performed; listened to the words of revelation and truth he taught; and both experienced His extravagant, unconditional love. They were in the same places at the same time with our precious Lord, but when each fell into sin, their response to their sin, though appearing similar, were quite different.
Peter denied Jesus three times not too long after he emphatically swore to Christ he would never do such a thing. After hearing the rooster crow, he wept bitterly because he realized what he had done to his friend. The word bitterly in the Greek translates as violent, poignant grief
. Because of his sin, Peter responded in an overwhelming, intense, heart-felt grief deep within his heart. As a result, he became one of the most influential apostles in the early church.
In contrast, when Judas realized what he had done in his betrayal of Jesus, the Bible records he was remorseful. This word in the Greek translates as regret
. Judas was sorry for what he had done, but fell short of a heart-felt grief. Rather than running to Jesus in repentance, he ran away from Him hanging himself ending his destiny.
Two different men, two different decisions,
Two very different endings
Lord Jesus, let my heart always remain pure and soft before You. May I never get to the place of being hard-hearted or stiff-necked as the children of Israel were in the wilderness. I desire to feel the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and quickly yield to it repenting as Peter did. I never want to run away from Your forgiveness, but I desire to run into Your arms of amazing grace. I want to live a life sensitive to hearing Your voice beaconing me to the cross of forgiveness and redemption. Amen!