Most people do not outright deny that they sin or do things they should not do even if they do not call it a sin. We are going to see how three men handled their sin and see how everyone in our society usually fits into one of these three categories.
We all sin we just do not look at most of our sins as that bad. Few people experience sin to the point of utter embarrassment where they want to crawl under a rock and die. We will see two men who hurt someone who loved them at the deepest level and one group that was so hard hearted that they totally missed how they were sinning.
Romans 3:23-24 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
1) Peter (I need God to deal with my sin)
Before we pick up in our story, lets see a couple of reasons why Peter was doomed to sinning.
A) He was arrogant
Peter arrogantly proclaimed that he would not sin like the others. (Matthew 26:33; Mark 14:31)
We tend to do the same thing when we say we would never sin like someone else or when we look down on others for the sins they have committed. We are all capable of the worse sin imaginable if we continue down the path of denial and continue to not submit our lives to God through the power of the Holy Spirit.
B) He did not pray enough
Peter slept when he should have been praying (Matthew 26:40-45) When we do not take the spiritual battle we are in seriously we tend to fall asleep. We may not physically fall asleep, but our actions are not aware enough to realize what is happening around us.
C) He did not trust Gods plan
When things were not going the way he thought they should go Peter drew his sword. When we do not trust God’s plan or even God Himself, we tend to fight to get our way. We get closer to spiritual and moral failure when we do not trust that God is still in control.
Matthew 16:21-24 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord![e] This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance[f] to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
D) He put himself in spiritual danger
Read Matthew 26:69-75
Now Peter was sitting outside the Courtyard
How many times do we go places or watch things that put us in spiritual danger?
If he would have just run away like the other disciples he would not have even been tempted to deny Christ. Yes, running would have been a form of denial but it would not have been the outright, verbal, abusive, denial that Peter eventually did.
Was it his pride that kept him close to the situation? Maybe he felt since he made such a bold claim that he needed to try and face the fears he felt and be closer to Jesus even though the rest fled.
Was it curiosity? Maybe he still did n0t understand what was fully happening.
Was it a genuine love for Christ? Maybe he just loved Jesus so much that the love he felt for Him drew him toward Him even in a dangerous situation.
He was pushing himself to stay close enough where he would be by Jesus, but he was far enough away where he would not get caught. Jesus told him what was going to happen and how he would deny him, but Peter would not listen.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
First of all this is not saying that God will not give you more than you can handle. It says He will not allow you to be tempted with sin past the point you can handle.
Secondly, it is not saying you can be dumb and put yourself close to the danger. Too many people try to live on the edge of sin with the hopes of not falling into the sin. They are shocked when they find that their lives are ruined by sin even though they have been warned to not go toward the edge.
A servant girl came up to him and said “You too were with Jesus the Galilean”
To say that Jesus was a Galilean was used as a derogatory statement. It meant that anyone from there was backwards and not progressive.
We know from Mark 14:54 that Peter was warming himself by the fire with officers around him. The way it is written and reported in the other gospels, it was more like the girl or woman was continuing to ask him about being with Jesus.
Peter who was willing to draw his sword when there were a thousand people with swords and clubs is now scared of someone statement to him. Similar to Elijah who took on the 850 prophets of baal but ran when Jezebel threatened his life.
And He went out to the entrance, and another servant girl saw him and said this man was with Jesus
And although he tried even through cussing to get them to leave him alone, he was caught. According to John 18:26 one of them recognized him from the garden where they arrested Jesus.
He even invoked a curse upon himself which is the equivalent of saying “May God strike me dead if I am lying”
After a little while bystanders came up to him and said certainly you were with Jesus because your accent gives you away.
Just like America, you could guess where people were from because of their accent. We can guess when someone is from New York, Boston or Alabama. We can usually guess because the accent will give them away.
Peter knew He was in trouble because other people were starting to pay attention to him and question if he knew Jesus.
Peter saw miracles, heard the greatest teachings anyone could hear, and experienced love at the deepest level, yet he stumbled when things became difficult. When He was caught off guard by the questions, he stumbled. Our reactions to situations are more of an indicator of where we are spiritually, than our planned actions.
1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
See also 2 Peter 3:17-18
And immediately the rooster crowed and Peter remembered the words of Jesus and He wept bitterly.
Luke 22:60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
In our best efforts and in our strongest moments, we fail Jesus. I cannot imagine the emotions Peter felt when that Rooster began to crow. The disappointment, the disbelief and the shock of knowing that what Jesus said would happen, came true.
I wonder if people in the courtyard could see he began to cry. Maybe they thought he was upset because they were all saying things to him. Peter, more than likely, felt alone in a crowd of people.
Some say this was the beginning of repentance for Peter. Of course acknowledging you have sinned is part of repentance but just feeling sorry is not enough.
2) Judas (I will deal with my sin)
Read Matthew 27:1-10
There is no need to discover where Judas went wrong with following Jesus because he was never fully committed to Christ. He was following Jesus because of what he thought he might gain if Jesus was truly the Messiah. Judas like many people want Christianity as long as it benefits them.
When morning had arrived, they determined Jesus should be put to death and they bound him and led him to Pilate.
We discussed in the last blog how the trial was corrupt and illegal. It was not supposed to be held at night and they were supposed to wait three days if a death penalty was determined. This whole trial was taking place in a matter of hours as they were doing all they could to get rid of Jesus.
Pilate would hold public sessions early in the mornings to hear grievances that could not be settled. You can imagine Pilate seeing the crowd and shaking his head knowing this is going to be one of those days.
Then after Judas saw that Jesus was condemned was filled with remorse and returned the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priest and elders.
Judas must have been close enough to the trial to see what happened and maybe he never thought his actions would lead to Jesus being sentenced to death. Maybe Judas thought Jesus would never be accused of anything because he knew that Jesus had not done anything wrong. He knew Jesus was innocent so if they followed the rules they were supposed to follow then Jesus would get off and Judas would have more money in his pocket.
“After he saw” Judas knew it was his actions that are leading to Jesus death. It is always after we sin that we can see clearly the devastation we have caused to ourselves and our loved ones.
He literally changed his mind about what decisions he made. We don’t get do overs in life. Just like Peter, Judas was regretting the decisions he made. The money that was so tempting to him, was now not as important.
I have sinned portraying innocent blood and the priest answered, what is that to us.
Deuteronomy 27:25 Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
Instead of them saying we should stop this man from being killed, they have no concern about Jesus or Judas. They used Judas for their purposes and now Judas is seeing fully the warnings about them that Jesus had taught.
It sounds as if Judas is starting to repent but as we said before, acknowledging sin is only part of the process.
After he threw the silver coins in the temple he departed.
There is some debate about where the coins went with some saying in the main room and some in the Holy of Holies. If the money did go into the Holy of Holies then only the High Priest could go and collect them.
Judas throwing the money was a sign of anger at their lack of concern for his feelings. It was a violent act done out of anger.
Then He went and hanged himself.
There are many reasons that people commit suicide and this is not to go through all of those reasons. One reason for suicide is regret and it could possibly be that Judas did not realize that there was a road to redemption if he would have just waited a couple of days. Judas could have experienced the love and forgiveness of Jesus personally if he would have hung in there a couple of days but instead he missed out on that opportunity. If you are contemplating suicide I would encourage you to hold on, get help and see what is coming in a couple of days.
Regret is a tough thing to live with and sometimes the only way people know how to relieve it is to die. It is a long term solution to short term problems.
Although Jews taught suicide was wrong the Romans taught that it was an honorable way to pay for your own sins. Being Roman controlled many Jews of the day bought into this philosophy of life.
This notion of wanting to pay for our own sins is why most people struggle with Christianity. Christianity is not about you paying for your own sins but about how Jesus already paid for them. This is why true repentance is not just acknowledging you have sinned but it is also going to the one who can make it right.
Unfortunately, death is not the answer for those who are not followers of Christ because the Bible makes it clear that eternity will not be restful. (Luke 16; Revelation 14:11)
Some people do not kill themselves through one simple act but many kill themselves slowly with other habits like alcohol, drugs, food and etc.. It may not be a quick permanent act, but it is a way of dealing with our sins on our own terms.
Peter went and cried and Judas took his life. Both men regretted their decisions in their life and handled them in two different ways.
Repentance is a change of mind and will. Judas had regret which does not lead to life change. Some people have regret not over the sin they committed but because they got caught or their sin hurt others.
2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death
Changing ones mind about the things you have done is not enough. Repentance is the changing of one’s mind and the changing of ones actions. Judas had regret and a change of mind but he did not have a change of actions. Peter had regret and a change of mind but it led him to a changed lifestyle.
The first stage of repentance is acknowledging you sinned. The second stage is going to God because only He can clean you and restore you.
Change will not come by your will power, it will come through the power of the Holy Spirit that works in you (Romans 8:9-11; Colossians 1:28-29; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Philippians 4:13)
See also 1 Thessalonians 1:9
True Repentance involves
1) Recognition or knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20; Psalm 51:3)
The first step is to realize that what you have done is wrong, not just because you got caught or feel bad, but because what you did goes against the nature and character of God.
2) Sorrow for the Sin (2 Corinthians 7:9; Psalm 38:18)
Judas was sorry for his sin and the rich young ruler went away sorrowful about his sin.(Matthew 19:22) but that does not mean they repented.
3) Change in lifestyle (Acts 2:38)
Repentance means to turn. You turn from one lifestyle and toward holiness. You are not just sorry for what you did, you want to change the behavior and you take certain actions to do so.
4) Continual confession (1 John 1:9)
If you are growing in your walk with God then more and more things will be revealed to you as you grow closer to Him. We sin more than we will ever know and because of that we have to continually go to God for forgiveness.
We go to God knowing all of our sins have already been forgiven. We go to Him because we are acknowledging our actions are wrong as well as looking to Him for His power to change us.
3) The Priest (We have not sinned)
And the chief priest took the silver coins and said the law does not allow us to put money into the treasury, since it is blood money.
They acknowledge that it is blood money but that they are not to blame. Our society is big on making sure that others have sinned but what they do is not sin. The same people who will accuse people of not being loving for accepting their immoral lifestyle, are the same ones who will mock and criticize if a person stumbles in other sins.
The hardest people to reach is those who do not think their actions are wrong. They want to follow the law (or their version of it) because they are wrapped up in their own religious code of conduct. When God is no longer your standard for right and wrong then you can make up the rules as you go leaving room for you to commit any sin you do not want to give up. When it came to the illegal trial of Jesus they ignored the Bible, but now they are going to make sure the Bible is followed because the money was used to accuse an innocent man.
So they bought a potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners.
Unclean money bought an unclean cemetery for pagans. They may have even made themselves look good by saying what they were purchasing but people knew the real story behind the field.
Then the word that was spoken through the prophet Jeremiah was confirmed.
Zechariah 11:13 Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter.
Again nothing came as a shock to God because He already knows everything that will take place. The good news is nothing you do comes as a shock to God. This means no matter what sin you will commit, He has already taken care of it through Jesus Christ.
How do you relieve your guilt? Do you repent looking for God to forgive and change you?Do you try and make up for it by carrying out certain actions proving your loyalty to Him? Do you bury your guilt with drugs, alcohol, food, video games, or work? Or do you justify your actions to the point that you no longer see what you do as sin?
Romans 2:4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
Gods love is waiting for anyone who comes to Him but many people are like Judas who do not go to God but want to pay for their sins themselves. Even worse are those who no longer feel remorse for their sin because they do not believe what they have done is a sin.
Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Nothing is a shock to God and because Jesus Christ lived on this earth, He knows the struggle you deal with when it comes to sin. You can approach Him with confidence knowing that He loves you and can clean you from all your sins. (1 John 1:9)