It is my belief that God never does anything without a purpose or a plan. I also believe it was the same for Jesus during his 3 year ministry, nothing said or done was without a purpose or a plan. There were approximately three years of his teaching and actions that would equip his team of disciples and all believers to fulfill the great commission. Matthew 28:19-20 – “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
So was Judas part of that plan? Yes, definitely! And we immediately think that his part of the plan was for Judas to betray Jesus. And you would be correct to think that but is that all we are suppose to learn from Judas.
I believe what Judas did had a much grander lesson and a more personal lesson for all of us. In fact, I hope to show you how God used the life of Judas to teach us a life changing lesson, one that will help many to find Jesus, and help all of us in our daily walk with the Lord.
How is that for a statement? Judas will play a major role in helping many accept Jesus as their Savior. Now before you all start yelling heresy and looking for a good size stone to throw, let’s look at some scriptures.
The first is in Matthew 26: 20-25 where Jesus is telling the apostles that Judas will betray him. “When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?” Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “You have said so.”
It is important in this lesson to look at the comparison of Judas and Peter. So lets look at Peter’s role in this lesson. Let’s read Matthew 26: 31-35 where Jesus talks about Peter denying him three times. “Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “This very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.”
Two scriptures showing, both Judas and Peter, were told they would betray or deny Jesus. I would like to believe that if the Son of God told me I was going to betray him, and in front of my friends and fellow Christians, I would do anything not to do that. And I would probably be like Peter “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” But often times, saying something is a much easier than doing. When the time came, with all the pressure of the people and the actual fear of death, Peter could not stand by his claim of “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you”.
Have we not all been in that situation, all the best intentions to have faith and confidence to stand with Jesus and then, at the first big test, we fail. I know I have and I may again. But don’t be discouraged, and please here this.
It is not the failure but what you do after the fall or failure that mold’s your life and walk with the Lord.
Let’s read on and look at Matthew 16:22. “Jesus had just told his disciples that he would be handed over to the elders and chief priest and would be killed and on the third day he would be raised back to life. “ Then in verse 23 “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
What did Jesus then do? He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me.”
WOW! That must of hurt. Can you just imagine Jesus shouting that at you?
Now lets go back to Judas in John 13, where it gives us more information at the Last Supper with Jesus and Judas. Jesus is telling His disciples that one of them was going to betray him. They asked who and in verse 26 “Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”
And what happened over the next hours? Both Peter and Judas did exactly what Jesus said they would do. Peter denied him three times and Judas betrayed him and help the soldiers take Jesus. The Word tells us that both were devastated after they did the very act Jesus said they would do. Yet that is where these two accounts take a different path. Let’s look at Peter’s and Judas’s actions.
Peter wept bitterly but he did not walk away from his faith. And he did not walk away from his fellow Christians. This is a very big mistake some Christians do when they feel they have totally blown it. They leave their church and stop hanging around their Christian friends. Peter stay with his other disciples and he found the strength to face Jesus again after His resurrection and was given the chance, to re-affirm his love and commitment to his Lord Jesus Christ. Three times in fact, three times he denied him and three times the Lord gave him a chance to profess his love and faith in Jesus. Let’s read this in John 21: 15-17 – When they had finished eating, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love Me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” He answered, “You know I love You.” Jesus replied, “Feed My lambs.”
Jesus asked a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” “Yes, Lord,” he answered, “You know I love You.” Jesus told him, “Shepherd My sheep.”
Jesus asked a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was deeply hurt that Jesus had asked him a third time, “Do you love Me?” “Lord, You know all things;” he replied, “You know I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
Do you notice that when Jesus asked Peter if he loved him a third time, it says “Peter was deeply hurt that Jesus had asked him a third time. I believe at this time, several things happened that changed Peter’s life right then, more then many of the other life changing moments that Peter experience. First, that it was not lost on Peter that Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him three times. I believe at the time, Peter was reminded that he denied Jesus three times. And that memory hurt, deep into his soul. But his denying Jesus and Jesus forgiving him actually strengthen Peter’s faith and knowledge to the point that he responded, “Lord, You know all things. You know I love You.” Peter finally understood that Jesus knew back at the Last Supper what Peter was going to do and Jesus knew back at the Last Supper and right then, the love Peter had for his Lord and Savior. Such faith Peter had at that moment. He thought he had the faith back at the Last Supper but not knowing the true love and forgiveness of the Lord, his faith had exponentially grown. We can and need to have that same faith.
Now lets look at how Jesus handles this whole thing. When he met Peter in John 21 did he chastise Peter, did he rub it in by saying to Peter “see you did deny me just like I said you would.” No he simple responded after every time Peter said he loved him, “Feed My lambs”, Shepherd My sheep” and Feed My sheep.” He gave Peter the responsibility to care for our Lord’s sheep. Who are his sheep? We are.
Now lets get back to Judas. Judas on the other hand ran away. Satan convinced him that he was lost, a traitor to the Lord. These lies of Satan devastated Judas so much that he hung himself on a tree.
I believe Judas did not have to hang himself. I believe that if Judas would have rebuked those thoughts, and looked for Jesus and asked for forgiveness, that he would have been forgiven. In fact, he would have found the risen Lord who died for our sins and could have been rejoicing and praising God.
Why do I believe this? Why do I believe Judas would have been forgiven? Because we serve a mighty God who, through our Lord Jesus Christ, ALL who confess their sins, turn away from their old life, will be saved, born again and full of righteousness.
Does this help you in seeing the full picture on God’s plan for us. Showing us the life of Peter and Judas and how they failed and how each reacted to their failures. Peter had faith and found forgiveness. Judas gave up believing he was the worse sinner and could not live with what he did.
God was showing us what happened to two people, Peter and Judas, when both faced a moment of failure. In both Satan put thoughts in their head of fear, doubt, anger and depression. Just like he does with all of us. Satan puts these thoughts in our mind in an effort to destroy our life and our joy. Depression can cause hopelessness; it can cause us to give up, and for some to actually end their life here on Earth. It is not just the unsaved that this can happen to, it can happen to Christians. Satan tries to put these things in our heads to take our mind off of Jesus. But Praise God, through the help of many people and knowing, above all things, that God loves us and that Jesus died on the cross we can have victory over such things.
Everyone please listen for this is so important. You need to see what God is teaching us in these two disciples. Each one of us could or will have a Peter or Judas moment. A time where we deny Christ even after we swear we will not. And it is at that time, the devil is telling us in our head, it is over, you failed, no way will anyone including God forgive you. Don’t bother going to church and your Christian friends will never forgive you or understand what you do so stay away from them. Why even live anymore.
When you are alone and have failed and when you are filled with thoughts of guilt, failure or worse that is the time that you must reject those thoughts and focus on the saving blood of Jesus. We need to focus on what Peter did not what Judas did. And we need to go to Jesus, and cling to his promise that he is with us and will never forsake us and fill your mind and spirit with God’s promise in Isaiah 41:13. “ For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you ‘Do not fear, I will help you’.”
Oh God, I praise you for your loving mercy. For your kindness and generosity to us, your children. I praise you for letting your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, die on the cross for all of our sins so that we are set free and we need not fear coming to you when we have fallen short.