Introduction: Both Peter and Judas betrayed Jesus. One went on to
fame and glory in the Christian church and the other to suicide,
derision and contempt. Why? Was it because Judas killed himself
before he repented? Let’s jump into our study about the two betrayers
and find out!
- The Disciples
- Why do you think the disciples chose to follow Jesus?
- We have some clues about their
motivation. Read John 6:5-12. What happened here? Anything
- If you were going to make someone King or General How
would this fit into your plan?
- In the book and the movie “Left
breakthrough in food production gives Israel a
leadership position in the world. Is this John 6
miracle the same idea?
- Do you think that was Jesus’ reason for
performing this miracle? He wanted to be hailed
as the new leader?
- Let’s read the reaction to this miracle. Read John 6:14-16. What
did the people decide to do? What steps did Jesus
take to prevent it?
- Did the disciples have a role in this? John doesn’t
tell us the entire story. Let’s read Matthew 14:21-23. Why did Jesus
“make” the disciples get in the
boat and dismiss the crowd? (Because the disciples
were no doubt ringleaders in this plan to make Jesus
“King by force” ( John 6:15).
- Let’s read a few other texts that open a window on the
thinking of the disciples: Luke 22:24-26. Matthew 16:21-23
and Acts 1:6. What do you think the disciples thought was
in Jesus’ future here? What would be their role in this
- Do you remember the story of the “Rich
Young Ruler?” The
disciples were astonished when Jesus said it was difficult
for a rich man to enter heaven ( Matthew 19:24-25). Let’s
pick up the dialog at this point by reading Matthew 19:27-28. What would
you think about your future on earth if you
were one of the disciples who heard these words? (My bet
is they thought “the renewal of all things” was when Jesus
would overthrow the Romans! They were then going to have
thrones and authority. They would be like the Senators of
Rome – only more powerful! Think of that! A fisherman
becomes a Senator. That would keep their daydreams
- Let’s turn next to individual plans.
- Read John 13:29. Would you pick someone that you
distrusted to be the treasurer of your church?
- What does the fact that Judas “had charge of the
money” show us about the disciples’ attitude towards
- There is an interesting little book
“Christ’s Cabinet” by William McIntyre (Salvation
Army pub.)which says that Judas was raised on the
boarder of the Sinai desert while the other disciples
came from the area around the Sea of Galilee. That
meant that he had a different accent than the rest.
It also meant that he was likely to have the “hard
work, no nonsense” attitude of a farmer. The rest of
the disciples, being fishermen, would likely have the
“hard work-hard play” attitude of those who do very
dangerous jobs. Can you see why the disciples would
think Judas would be a good treasurer, even though he
was an “outsider?”
- Since we have learned the general
attitude of the
disciples, what do you think Judas thought the future
held for him in light of his current position? (He
would be in charge of the treasury of the new
- Read John 12:4-6. Was Judas trustworthy?
- With this background on Judas’ performance as
treasurer of the little money they had, what do you
think were his plans when he became the treasurer of
the new kingdom? (He would become fabulously
- If you read Matthew 10 you will find that Judas, as one of
the twelve disciples, was sent out on a “student disciple”
mission. Let’s read part of the disciples marching orders
in Matthew 10:7-8.
- Do you think Judas also did those things?
- If you could get into Judas’
conscience, what would
you find? (I think you would find a fellow who was
struggling. He was greedy, but he was also pulled to
Jesus by what he heard and what he did as a
- Let’s read a story about Judas and Jesus. Read John 12:1-5. What
do you think about Judas’ objection? Does he have
- What are a year’s wages today?
- What would you say if a member spent
$25,000 (USD) on
cologne for your pastor? What if the church got to
vote on this – would the church vote for the cologne
or new pews?
- Let’s read on: John 12:6-8. We discussed the v. 6 problem
earlier. What would be your reaction to Jesus if you were
Judas? (First, I would be upset about being publically
rebuked by Jesus. Second, I would be annoyed about the
loss of the money. Last, and worst, Jesus’ comment about
His “burial” and not being there in the future fit into
His other worrisome talk about dying.)
- Read Matthew 26:14-15. What do you think
“Let’s make a deal” approach? What does this tell us about
- All of this comes to a conclusion in
Matthew 27:1-5. Let’s
read it and concentrate on the dialog in verse 4.
- Why would Judas say that he had “betrayed innocent
- What did he think would happen? Isn’t
what the plan had been – to betray innocent blood?
- Why would he give the money back?
Wasn’t the money
the goal? (I think money was the goal – but a lot
more than 30 silver coins! If you consider the
disciples’ goal for the future, and Judas’ probable
goal, it would make no sense to betray Jesus for 30
silver coins. I think Judas thought he was smarter
than Jesus. That by “betraying” Jesus, Judas would
“force” Jesus to defend Himself, make His move and
become King. It backfired. Jesus did not defend
Himself. He did not rally the troops. He did not use
supernatural power to overcome the opposition. He
took His death sentence without a fight. Suddenly,
Judas realized that he was not smarter than Jesus, he
had simply “betrayed innocent blood.” His life goals
came to an end and he killed himself.)
- Where did Judas go wrong? What was the
nature of his
sin? (Pride, arrogance, greed, dishonesty.)
- Read Matthew 26:30-35. What does Peter mean when he says
“even if all fall away on account of you” I won’t? (This
seems to suggest Jesus might be the cause for others
- How would you put this in today’s language? (No
matter what you do or others do to you, I will be
- How loyal was Peter to Jesus?
- Why would Peter say he was more loyal
than the rest?
Why not just talk about his own loyalty?
- Read John 18:1-3. Imagine you saw this mob at night in a
park. How would you feel? (It would be a frightening
sight. If you knew they were coming for you, it would be
- Let’s read on: John 18:4-8, 10. Jesus
gave the disciples a
chance to run in verse 8, right? Did Peter run?
- Was Peter showing courage?
- Did Peter keep his word that he was
willing to die?
- Do you think Peter was willing to die?
- If you think Peter was willing to
die, how did
his name get into this lesson? How does this
“loyal to death” fellow get called a “betrayer?”
- Let’s skip down in this chapter and read on. Read John
18:15-17. Peter meets a female “bouncer” at the door, and
she wants to keep out any disciples. How would you justify
what Peter said? Could he have had a positive motive for
this? (He could have said to himself, I need to be in
there to encourage Jesus, therefore I will lie to get in.)
- Read John 18:18-19. Do you think Peter
could hear the
questioning? What would be your reaction if you were a
disciple and you heard the High Priest questioning Jesus
(v.19) “about his disciples?”
- Would that show the High Priest was not just
interested in Jesus, but also interested in His
- Who else is standing by this fire with
- Read John 18:25-27. Why do you think Peter denied Jesus
this time? Could he have any excuse this time? (I think
Peter was afraid. He was full of courage before there was
any trouble. He was still willing to fight when he was
with Jesus. But now Jesus had been arrested, He was being
tried and He did not seem to be resisting. The High Priest
was asking about Jesus’ disciples and “officials” were
standing by the fire with Peter. I believe Peter felt
alone and that he believed he would be arrested and
- Has that ever happened to you? You speak
faith and courage to others who are sick or dying – but
when it happens to you or your family, it becomes a
different, more difficult, matter?
- The Difference
- How would you compare the betrayal of Judas with that of
- Is fear a lesser sin than pride and greed?
- Our lesson says (Wednesday) that Judas
had the wrong
type of repentance. Judas was so upset about things
that he killed himself. Peter was just upset. Is
there any basis in the Bible for the lesson’s
suggestion that Judas was insincere?
- If Judas had not killed himself, do you think he
would have repented and returned as a disciple?
- As many of you know, I have long taught that righteousness
and sin turn on our attitude. Compare for me the attitudes
of Judas and Peter? (This is where I think the matter
becomes clear. Peter’s attitude was to be with and defend
Jesus. He was puffed up and proud in his estimation of his
own loyalty, but his attitude was to be loyal (even though
it turned out he was weak). Judas, on the other hand, had
the “what’s in it for me” attitude. This was compounded by
his pride and his arrogance that he was smarter than Jesus
about what should be done. If you are into religion
because of the money or the blessings, and you think you
know better than God’s Word, these are killer attitudes.
If Judas had lived, I do not think he would have wanted
the self-sacrificing life of the apostles. (See 1 Peter
5:1-4) For that reason, the lesson is correct to say Judas
did not truly repent.)
- Friend, what is your attitude today? Are
you loyal, but
weak? Or, are you proud and self-centered? It is not too
late to have Jesus change your attitude! The question is,
are you willing?
- Next Week: Grace Under Pressure – Noah and Job