Two men, different responses to Christ
And Judas, who was betraying Him said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself.”
Judas has quite a bad reputation, and although this is not without cause, it is important that we don’t completely dismiss him as someone who is absolutely different from us. Although the disciples are the twelve men chosen by Jesus, the gospels regularly display their humanity, which isn’t usually a positive thing. Peter lies, Thomas doubts, they all shew away the children and argue about who is the greatest. As far as the depth of the disciples’ brokenness, both Judas and Peter stand beyond the others. Besides the fact that Judas betrayed Jesus and was instrumental in his crucifixion, Peter filled his life with failures and disappointments that crescendo to the point of denying Christ three times.
There are many lessons embedded in Peter’s life, but it is important to compare Peter and Judas. How are they the same? Both are humans created in the image of God; both spent three years walking with and learning from the greatest teacher ever to walk the planet, but both also deny what Jesus predicts about them before his crucifixion; they both run from the Lord in the time of his deepest need. If we were to stop at the crucifixion, we would probably consider Peter to be nearly as lost as Judas.
But after the crucifixion, the hearts of these two men are revealed to us in the gospels. Judas is broken, and in his brokenness what does he do? He returns the silver to the temple and then hangs himself. On the flip side, Peter is broken, and in his brokenness, he waits on Christ with the other disciples. At the end of the gospel of John, Jesus restores Peter by providing him with a meal and inviting him to feed His sheep. Although he was broken, it was Christ who restored him and gave him back his life. Peter doesn’t go on to hang himself but to boldly preach the gospel to all the nations in Israel and the rest of the world.
What we ought to learn from this is that we are all like Peter or Judas in that we were completely broken people. However, when we were called to be Christians and we repented of our sins, Christ through his sacrifice and overcoming of death brought us life and restored our brokenness. We are no longer broken humanity but a new humanity through Jesus Christ. This is where our hope is found, and it is essential that we never lose sight of what Jesus has done. Our joy comes from this restoration that we have already experienced, and it will one day be completed when we see Christ Jesus face to face. That day will be a glorious day and it is one that we long to share with all those around us.