Denial vs. Betrayal, Pastor Phil Sessa

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Matthew 26:2022, “Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say to you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say to him, Lord, is it I?”

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At the Last Supper Jesus is eating with His twelve and speaks about betrayal. This is perhaps the worst gesture that a “friend” can do to another friend, even worse than death, because one has to live with the fact that betrayal meant a complete hardening of the heart in the midst of the relationship. Jesus makes the statement that one of his “friends” there would deny him, and when He did everyone of them became sorrowful and looked introspectively saying “Lord is it I?” No one pointed fingers at Judas as if he had a big hook nose and devilish horns coming out of his head. The Scriptures point out that two of the disciples went against Jesus at his hour of need. Peter denied Jesus and Judas betrayed Jesus, so what’s the difference, or are they not the same?

Well let’s look at Peter first. Jesus says to the group that “all you shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.” Peter answered and said to him, “Though all men shall be offended because of you, yet will I never be offended.” Jesus responded by saying to him, “…this night, before the cock crow, you shall deny me thrice.” Peter said to him, “Though I should die with you, yet will I not deny you. Likewise also said all the disciples.” Peter really meant to keep his word, but when he was tested he folded under pressure three times just as Jesus said. We know that later in Peter’s life he got things together and became a leader among the Apostles and wrote two books of the Bible bearing his name.

Judas on the other hand turned against Jesus a bit differently. “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, And said to them, What will you give me, and I will deliver him to you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.” Judas was plotting and scheming behind the scenes with those that wanted to see the destruction of Christ, and the disbanding of his disciples. Those evil men used Judas as a pawn to work an inside job on Jesus. While in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas comes with his entourage of chief priests and armed soldiers. “And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. And Jesus said to him, Friend, wherefore are you come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.” Jesus calls him friend and yet Judas still sells him out in betrayal. With friends like Judas who needs enemies?

Peter grabbed his sword when they laid hold of Jesus and cut of one of the soldier’s ears to defend the Lord. He was showing his seriousness of protecting Jesus at all costs, even death. After Peter’s denial the Scriptures says that Peter “went out and wept bitterly [in repentance].” Judas however felt the guilt of betraying Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and tried to give it back, admitting that he had sinned against innocent blood, and he threw the coins down at the feet of the priests and went forth and hung himself. Both men felt sorrow for their sin, but Peter repented while Judas committed suicide.

Application:  If you find your actions plotting against your relationship with Jesus, repent right away, because the Judas lives in us tries to rise up and take charge. If you have denied Jesus by your life in anyway also repent and move on and do great things for your Lord. Remember your faith MUST stand trial, so that it can be refined.   Blessings Pastor Phil

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