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|Created by Gerard de Vos|
Category: Christ related
While Jesus was on earth, He was betrayed by two people who both knew Him intimately. They walked, talked and lived with Him for three years and saw all the miracles, like the healing of the sick and the exorcism of unclean spirits. They were his two well known disciples Simon Peter and Judas Iscariot.
Judas betrayed Jesus, not necessarily for the money. Maybe he thought Jesus would really be the one who would subdue the Romans and once again make Israel an independent nation that served God alone. Regardless, he deliberately offered to betray Jesus (Matthew 25:14-16). The reason was not that the Pharisees and the High Priest did not know Jesus, but it was the time of the Passover. Jerusalem was filled to capacity and among the thousands, Judas knew where Jesus moved around. He was warned on the night of the Passover that he would betray Jesus (John 13:18-30). Verse 30 ends on the dramatic note: 'As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.' It was night for Judas: he betrayed Jesus and later realized that he betrayed innocent blood (Matthew 27:2-3). Despite the fact that Jesus taught them to forgive seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22), implying logically that He as Son of God will do the same to those who sin against Him, he went and hanged himself (Matthew 27:5).
The other traitor was none other than Peter, the eager leader of the disciples. In all four Gospels Jesus warned him that he would betray Him (Matt 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31;Luke 22:31-35; John 13:36-38). We all know what happened: when the time came, Peter did betray Jesus. What did he do when he realized that despite the warnings, he betrayed Jesus? He wept bitterly (Matt 26:75; Mark 14:72; Luke 22:63). He had remorse for what he had done, but did not run away, like Judas and do something drastic. When Jesus rose from the dead, he was there (John 20:2). What is even more important is that he eagerly went to Jesus. He went to fish with the others (John 21:3) and Jesus appeared and told them to get a miraculous catch of fish (John 21:6,7). When he realized it was Jesus, he jumped from the boat into the water to go to Jesus. When Jesus told them to bring some fish, he immediately obeyed and dragged the net ashore (John 21:10, 11). Then we find what may be termed 'Peter's restoration' by the threefold questions Jesus asked him and his threefold answer that he loved Jesus (John 21:15-17). We also know that after that Peter was a fearless preacher, testifying about Jesus and not afraid of the Sanhedrin at all (Acts 4:1-31).
What is the difference between the two traitors? One showed remorse, but never went back to beg forgiveness of the one whom he betrayed. He left the company of the disciples. His suicide is a picture of what people do to themselves if they do not return to the One whom they betrayed: they sign their own death warrant, the eternal lake of fire. This is a message for us, for aren't we all traitors? Don't we often doubt and want to turn away from the Saviour and Lord? He is always there to forgive, if we ask it, as demonstrated by Peter. He cried bitterly, remained in the group, and eventually Jesus did demonstrate to him that despite his betrayal, he was forgiven. Not only that, but he did bring in a mighty throng of converts. The glory and brilliance of our Lord is beyond comprehension: that He does forgive, and not only that, but uses betrayals to cement people even stronger in the faith.