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!

  1. The Disciples

    1. Why do you think the disciples chose to follow Jesus?

    2. We have some clues about their
      motivation. Read John 6:5-12. What happened here? Anything

      1. If you were going to make someone King or General How
        would this fit into your plan?

      2. In the book and the movie “Left
        Behind,” a
        breakthrough in food production gives Israel a
        leadership position in the world. Is this John 6
        miracle the same idea?

        1. Do you think that was Jesus’ reason for
          performing this miracle? He wanted to be hailed
          as the new leader?

    3. 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?

      1. 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).

    4. 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

    5. 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

    6. Let’s turn next to individual plans.

  2. Judas

    1. Read John 13:29. Would you pick someone that you
      distrusted to be the treasurer of your church?

      1. What does the fact that Judas “had charge of the
        money” show us about the disciples’ attitude towards

      2. 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?”

      3. 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

    2. Read John 12:4-6. Was Judas trustworthy?

      1. 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

    3. 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.

      1. Do you think Judas also did those things?

      2. 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

    4. Let’s read a story about Judas and Jesus. Read John 12:1-5. What
      do you think about Judas’ objection? Does he have
      a point?

      1. What are a year’s wages today?

      2. 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?

    5. 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.)

    6. Read Matthew 26:14-15. What do you think
      about Judas
      “Let’s make a deal” approach? What does this tell us about
      Judas’ attitude?

    7. All of this comes to a conclusion in
      Matthew 27:1-5. Let’s
      read it and concentrate on the dialog in verse 4.

      1. Why would Judas say that he had “betrayed innocent

      2. What did he think would happen? Isn’t
        this exactly
        what the plan had been – to betray innocent blood?

      3. 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.)

      4. Where did Judas go wrong? What was the
        nature of his
        sin? (Pride, arrogance, greed, dishonesty.)

  3. Peter

    1. 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

      1. How would you put this in today’s language? (No
        matter what you do or others do to you, I will be

      2. How loyal was Peter to Jesus?

      3. Why would Peter say he was more loyal
        than the rest?
        Why not just talk about his own loyalty?

    2. 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

    3. Let’s read on: John 18:4-8, 10. Jesus
      gave the disciples a
      chance to run in verse 8, right? Did Peter run?

      1. Was Peter showing courage?

      2. Did Peter keep his word that he was
        willing to die?

        1. Do you think Peter was willing to die?

        2. 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?”

    4. 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.)

    5. 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?”

      1. Would that show the High Priest was not just
        interested in Jesus, but also interested in His

      2. Who else is standing by this fire with

    6. 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
      perhaps executed.)

    7. Has that ever happened to you? You speak
      boldly about
      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?

  4. The Difference

    1. How would you compare the betrayal of Judas with that of

      1. Is fear a lesser sin than pride and greed?

      2. 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?

        1. If Judas had not killed himself, do you think he
          would have repented and returned as a disciple?

    2. 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.)

    3. 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?

  5. Next Week: Grace Under Pressure – Noah and Job