Excerpt from Grace Notes: Daily Readings with Philip Yancey (eBook).
Judas was not the first or the last person to betray Jesus, merely the most famous.
To [the Japanese Christian novelist Shusaku Endo], the most powerful message of Jesus was his unquenchable love even for — especially for — people who betrayed him. When Judas led a lynch mob into the garden, Jesus addressed him as "Friend." The other disciples deserted him but still he loved them. His nation had him executed; yet while stretched out naked in the posture of ultimate disgrace, Jesus roused himself for the cry, "Father, forgive them."
As the stakes increased, both [Judas and Peter] denied their Master. There, the similarity breaks off.
I know of no more poignant contrast between two human destinies than that of Peter and Judas. Both assumed leadership within the group of Jesus' disciples. Both saw and heard wondrous things. Both went through the same dithery cycle of hope, fear, and disillusionment. As the stakes increased, both denied their Master. There, the similarity breaks off.
Peter and Judas at the Last Supper, as imagined by Leonardo DaVinci.
Judas, remorseful but apparently unrepentant, accepted the logical consequences of his deed, took his own life, and went down as the greatest traitor in history. He died unwilling to receive what Jesus had come to offer him. Peter, humiliated but still open to Jesus’ message of grace and forgiveness, went on to lead a revival in Jerusalem and did not stop until he had reached Rome.
While Peter is a famous example of repentance, Judas is a famous example of remorse.
If you feel remorse for things you've done, don't stop there as Judas did. Ask for Jesus's forgiveness today. He will give it, and you will be forgiven as Peter was. Read the encounter between Peter and Jesus
-Adam Forrest, Zondervan
The Most Difficult Stumbling Block in Christianity? via Philip Yancey
Who Is Jesus / What is the Church? via Samuel Wells
(Image and some styling above are web-exclusive features not included in the text of Grace Notes. Image attribution: inset of "The Last Supper" by DaVinci, Public Domain.This post does not represent the views of Zondervan or any of its representatives. The writer's personal opinions are shared only for information purposes. To receive new Zondervan Blog posts in your reader or email inbox, subscribe to Zondervan Blog.)