We have, at some point in our lives, denied Jesus.  Whether with our words or our actions, we have implied or even stated out loud that we don’t know this Nazarene.  We have acted just like the world or the worldly people around us.  We have joined them in their sinful behaviors.  We have not stood for Jesus when His name needed a champion.  In these and myriad other ways, we have, at some point in our lives, denied Jesus.

But what are we to do about it?  Today, we see the prediction that two of Jesus’ closest friends would deny Him, betray Him, turn their back on all that He stands for.  And we know that each of them reacted to this behavior in very different ways.  Which way will we choose?

Judas, after his betrayal, felt a surprising depth of remorse, and decided to fix it himself in the only way he knew how.  Rather than returning to Jesus and seeking redemption, he decided to take God’s role as judge on himself.  He found himself guilty and gave the maximum penalty for his sin: death.  And then he carried out the execution, hanging himself in a field.

Peter, after his betrayal, felt an expected depth of remorse, but rather than fixing it himself, he returned to Jesus.  He trusted Jesus to be just and fair, and was ready to face his punishment.  And so we find Jesus not just but merciful, not fair but unfair in His forgiveness.  He reinstates Peter to his leadership role, and Peter, now living because of the grace of Jesus, goes on to lead the church, to write 2 of our New Testament books, and ultimately to die not in shame but in glory.

When you realize your betrayal, whose example will you follow?  Will you, like Judas, seek to rectify it yourself?  Or will you like Peter return to Jesus, seek His forgiveness, and go on to serve even more closely?  The choice is yours.

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