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A comparison of Judas and Peter: Matthew 26-27
A comparison of Peter and Judas
Matthew 26-27

This morning I would like to lead you in a character study of two of Jesus' disciples- Judas and Peter.

Why this study? Because woven into the account of Jesus' arrest, death and resurrection in Matthew 26-28 is the drama of Judas betraying Jesus and Peter denying Jesus.

As some of you know, while both sinned against Christ, the end for each of them was very different. Peter was forgiven and went on to become the leader of the Jerusalem church. Judas committed suicide and the consensus view of the church (not because of the suicide, but because of his unrepentant heart) is that Judas is in Hell.

Read: Matthew 26:1-13, 17-25, 30-35, 31-58, 69-75; Matthew 27:1-10 (8 minutes)

There is quite a bit of drama in our text as it relates to Peter and Judas

a. Tipping point for Judas: The woman who anointed Jesus and how the perfume not sold
b. The meal: Where all think they may be the one who Jesus is speaking of
c. The folly of Peter: Even if the rest fall away, I never will
d. The grief of Peter
e. The throwing of the money into the Temple by Judas
f. The callousness of the Pharisees
g. The suicide of Judas

Similarities between Judas and Peter

-Both were called by Christ to be his disciples
-Both witnessed the miracles of Jesus (healing the sick, casting out evil spirits, raising the dead, his power and authority over nature)
-Both heard Jesus expound the Scriptures and teach on the nature of his kingdom and what it meant to be His follower
-Both had unique positions amongst the 12. Peter was one of Jesus' inner circle. Judas was the money keeper of the group.
-Both sinned against Jesus in a terrible way
-Both influenced by Satan (get behind Satan said Jesus to Peter after he spoke out against Jesus talking about his coming death and resurrection- Matthew 16:21-23) Satan entered in Judas - Luke 22:3
-Jesus warned both that they would fall away and fail.

The key difference between Peter and Judas

Peter's heart was right with Jesus

-Peter's confession from Matthew 16:15-16 "He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God"
-consider the account of Jesus washing his disciples feet in John 13; "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." "Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!" Jesus answered, "Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you." For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean."

Judas' heart was not right with Jesus-- he was opposed to Christ

-He loved money. John 12:6 says in relation the perfume for Jesus "He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it."
-For him, following Jesus was about money, power and position
-His intent was to sell Jesus out and betray him (Peter's intent was to stay faithful no matter what)

Why Peter was forgiven and restored and Judas was not


Peter repented of his sin.

The teaching of God's Word is that Repentance leads to forgiveness and restoration

Judas was merely remorseful

There is a bit difference between remorse and repentance. A remorseful person feels bad and tries to problem solve their own solution so that they can feel better or end their pain . A repentant person confesses there sin, resolves by God's strength to not do it again, and takes it to Jesus- who alone can forgive.

Peter's threefold denial was met by Jesus' 3 fold restoration and re commissioning to service. Judas, full of remorse went and killed himself.

Note what 2 Corinthians 7:10 says about repentance.

"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."

This was said in response to Paul's rebuke of the Corinthians for their sexual immorality as Christians. They got the message. The Holy Spirit convicted them. They started to say NO to the flesh and yes to God as it regards his ways.

Peter had Godly sorrow and it lead to his forgiveness and restoration. Judas had worldly sorrow and really did lead to his death.

QUESTION: When you, by the Word of God, become aware of your sin, when you feel really bad about something you are doing and have done, what are doing with it? Are you taking it to Christ in humbleness, faith, and repentance, or do you just feel bad and try to figure it out on your own?

One response is true repentance, the other is false.

NOTE ON SUICIDE: Suicide is not an unpardonable sin.

Yes, suicide is a sin because one is murdering them-self, but its not an unpardonable sin.

Lot's of people (Christian and not) have self destructive thoughts and want to kill themselves. If you struggle with those feelings, tell someone, get help (and if the first person you tell doesn't know what they are doing, reach out to another person or go to the hospital and get help).

Judas is not in Hell because he killed himself. Judas is in Hell because his heart was evil and though he spent 3 years in the presence of Christ, he was not a true follower of Christ-- he was there for his own selfish reasons.

We know Judas is in Hell because of what Jesus said to him in Matthew 26:24 "The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born."

Further: In John 17:12 Jesus calls him the son of perdition (the one doomed to destruction)


Some people think that since it was prophesied that Jesus would be betrayed that Judas had no choice and should not be responsible for his evil act

Fact: The Old Testament Scriptures prophesied that Jesus would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13)
Fact: Jesus prophesied that he would be betrayed
Fact: Jesus knew that Judas was his betrayer
Fact: Jesus chose Judas knowing he would betray him with the express intent that the prophecy about his being betrayed would be fulfilled (for everything Jesus did was to fulfill Scripture--- hence proving him to be the Promised Messiah, Savior, and King)
Fact: Judas chose of his own free will to betray Jesus. No one made him do it

Though prophesied, God did not make Judas sin by betraying Jesus. God foresaw that Judas would betray Christ and so foreseeing that, deemed to use Judas' wickedness to accomplish his great purpose of saving us. Such is the mystery of God's sovereignty and our free will. (see also Acts 2:22-23)


-God doesn't take away our free will.
-Follow God from your heart
-Willingly choose to obey Him, rather than go your own way

Just because a person appears to be a follower of Jesus, doesn't mean they are

Judas is the poster child for this point.

Going to church, praying, reading your Bible, giving your offering, telling others about Jesus, this things do not make us a Christian. They are things a Christian should do, but they do not save from sin and the judgment to come. Salvation is by faith in Christ through grace, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

It is by our fruit that we are known. (Matthew 7:16) Love, joy, peace, patience, self control (sexual purity), perseverance, having a forgiving heart,

It is by staying faithful to Christ that we are known. I John 2:19 says; "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us."

Make sure you are right with the Lord!

-not by your way, but his: Faith in Christ, submission to His Lordship.


We are susceptible to doing what Peter or Judas did

Note Jesus's words from Matthew 26:23 "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me." THEY ALL HAD!

Note also how pride always precedes a fall "But Peter declared, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." Matthew 26:35

We are masters at deceiving ourselves.

We are each capable of every imaginable sin. There is no sin I would "put past any person". The capacity for great evil is in every person.

We are sinners with a boundless capacity to convince ourselves that whatever we want to do is justifiable and ok.

Jeremiah 17:9 says; ""The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?


We must daily choose to live for Christ and be forever grateful that when we as Christ's followers sin, that we have one who speaks in our defense to the Father (1 John 2:1-2)

God's call to us is to pursue holiness, co-operate with the Holy Spirit, Keep in the Word, and stay faithful and when we sin, to keep short accounts with God, remembering that God's grace is not a license to sin.

Have you made a commitment to Christ. Hear these words; "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion" Philippians 1:6

If you are not a follower of Christ, if you've never asked him to forgive you of your sin, if you haven't said "I'm going to follow you Jesus, I'm going to surrender my life to you and your lordship and not rely upon my good deeds to get to Heaven but upon your sacrifice on the cross", don't delay, don't put off being reconciled to God. Humble yourself before the Lord, confess your sin, trust in Christ and you will be forgiven.