My church has a men’s Bible study that is currently going through the Gospel of Luke. Last week, we covered ch. 21 (If you’re intersted, you can listen to the teaching and find the study questions here). That chapter deals with Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, the Last Supper, and Peter’s denial of Christ. We spent some time talking about the motives and actions of each of these men, and I left feeling like I’d been kneecapped by the mob.
Why? Well, I realized that I often come to Christ with wrong motives. I come, like Judas, and try to force Jesus’ hand into getting me what I want. Now I’m no “name it, claim it, blab it, grab it” kind of guy, but I often find myself saying “Lord, if I do this then You do that.” Huh? As if God is some kind of genie in a bottle that is there just to answer my wishes?!! It got me thinking: do I serve Christ because of Who He is? Because He’s worthy of serving? Or do I come to Him just to get? Do I, like Judas, see Him as a means to an end? Do you?
Then there’s good ol’ Pete. “The Rock.” I wonder if Jesus chuckled to Himself when He gave Simon that name. After all, Jesus knew Pete would turn tail and run when the heat came down. But before I dog Petie too much, have I not done the same? Have I not denied Jesus in my thoughts? My words? My actions? Have I not taken the easy road out of situations that I KNOW He placed me in for a purpose, all out of fear that people will accuse me of being a Christian? Am I any better than Peter? Are you?
Here’s the crucial difference between Judas and Peter: Peter knew he failed his Master and repented, and was restored (see John 21:15-17). Judas regretted what he had done, but instead of returning, he tried to cover it up and ended up killing himself.
Both men had been close to Jesus, but only one knew Him. Both men looked the part of a “Christian”, yet only one had a new heart. Both men abandoned Jesus in His time of need, yet only one returned.
Which one do you want to be?