What was different between Peter and Judas?


Jesus had often spoken of His suffering and death; but never with such a troubled spirit as He displayed, when He spoke about the betrayals against Him that would be perpetrated by His disciples, all of His disciples, within the next twenty four hours. It was not only the prospect of facing His coming tormentors and inevitable crucifixion that weighed down His spirit, but the tragic fall of Judas whom Jesus also loved, and whose delusion He so well understood. “I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

Peter must have been worried by Jesus’ prediction that he would deny Him. Just at the time when Jesus most wanted and needed his loyalty and friendship, and he was promising Him everything, Jesus told Peter that he wouldn’t keep his promise. What was different between Peter and Judas? Judas deliberately betrayed his Master while Peter, in a moment of weakness, denied Him with an oath and a curse. Judas’ act was cold and calculated. Peter, however, never meant to do what he did. He acted impulsively, out of weakness and cowardice. Jesus knew both the strength of Peter’s loyalty and the weakness of his resolution. He had a habit of speaking with his heart without thinking through the implications of what he was saying. The treachery of Judas, however, is seen at its worst when Jesus makes His appeal by showing special affection to him at His last supper. John says that Satan entered into Judas when he rejected Jesus and left to pursue his evil course. Satan can twist love and turn it into hate. He can turn holiness into pride, discipline into cruelty, affection into complacency. We must be on our guard lest Satan turn us from the love of God and the path which God has chosen for us.

Jesus’ prophecy of the treachery, which the disciples would undertake against Him, applies to all of us, when we enjoy all of God’s mercies, but then treat God’s generosity with ingratitude. Then there is the infidel, who looks at Christianity with the desire to end its authority and its influence; or the hypocrite, who professes to believe in Christ, but will not be governed by Him; and the apostate, who turns aside from Christ for a life of no values.
Much of humankind is supported by God’s providence, but refuses to believe in Him! Certainly Judas went out as one weary of Jesus and His disciples. But those of us today, whose deeds embrace evil, choose to embrace darkness over light. May be I’m like Peter, Lord. Whenever I look carefully at myself and my relationship with you, I end up making promises about how different I’ll be and what great things I’ll do—just like Peter. You know that, left to myself, and try as I might, I won’t be able to keep those promises. You could tell me about the next time I’m going to betray you, but still you love me.

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