Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen
Our Worst and Best
by Erik Momsen
Many people are at their wits end. They feel like running away, or even ending their lives. Some do. Again this week I heard someone say; "Stop the world, I want to get off". I often wish the day had 45 hours. At other times I wish I could disappear for a few months.
As I thought about the issues of failure and pressure, two contrasting Biblical characters came to mind. They were Judas and Peter.
Actually they had more in common than one would at first imagine. Both were Jews living at the same time and place. They were both called by Jesus to follow Him and do what He did. They both went out on preaching/healing missions with other disciples and they both failed completely when things got tough.
Every first mention of him describes him as the Betrayer. The early Church had little time for him.
Matthew 10:4 groups him with Simon the Zealot - was that because of their political activity? Some believe 'Iscariot' refers to a weapon of assassination.
John 12:4 describes him as a thief.
John 13:2 says: "The devil had already prompted Judas ... to betray Jesus."
John 13:10 - Jesus says "You are clean though not every one."
John 13:21 - "Jesus was troubled in His Spirit" over Judas' Betrayal - grieved by the betrayal of a friend.
"Dipping the piece of bread, He gave it to Judas" - a sign of honour - trying to win him back. Judas rejects the call and v27 says "As soon as Judas took the Bread, Satan entered into him" - He took the gesture of friendship without a change of heart - Satan used this darkness of heart.
His End - Matt 27:1-10
Judas had remorse over the death sentence. He tries to have it reversed - throws down the money. "Then he went away and hanged himself." - see Acts 1:17-19
PETER - A SIMILAR TRAGIC FIGURE
A man of highs and lows - victory and defeat. Peter walks on water and sinks. Confession of Christ and denial of the Cross (Matthew 16:13-20). He experiences the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8); Jesus predicts his denial (Matthew 26:33)
"Even if all fall away ... I never will." vs24:35
"Even if I have to die ... I will never disown you." - HE DOES !!
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE ?
Their hearts - Judas never takes Jesus to heart. Peter can somehow live with his defeat - satan could not enter a heart whose motives were pure.
Satan caused a blackness in Judas that he could not survive. But even if it wasn't working out, Peter had found the love of God. See John 21: "Do you truly love me more than these?"
Date Added: 2008-10-29
Go to Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen