Introduction: Last week we learned that at the cross Jesus won the
conflict between good and evil. His victory gives us the opportunity
to choose between good and evil, life and death. How are you
choosing? Restoring our choice means that the conflict is still to be
decided in our life. Let’s explore how that conflict played out in
the lives of two of Jesus’ disciples.

  1. Judas

    1. Read John 12:1-2. Two weeks ago we discussed the emotions
      of Mary, Martha and Lazarus during the time that Lazarus
      was dying and Jesus did not come to help. What kind of
      feelings and emotions do you think they now have about
      Jesus? (They love Him more than ever! Imagine what an
      event this is – a dinner to honor the man who raised one
      of the hosts to life. I would like to have been there.)

    2. Read John 12:3-5. The perfume was “worth a year’s wages.”
      What is the average annual wage? Let’s say that you bought
      a bottle of perfume that cost the same as a new car. Would
      that be sinful?

      1. Does Judas have a point? Isn’t this a terrible waste
        of money?

      2. Why did Mary do this for Jesus? (I think Mary is a
        more emotional person than Martha. Remember John
        11:20 tells us that Mary “stayed home” and did not
        come out to meet Jesus when He arrived after Lazarus
        had died. She was upset with Jesus. He had let
        Lazarus die. Now that Jesus raised her brother to
        life, her strong emotions have swung the other way
        and she wants to show Jesus how much she loves Him.)

      3. Who is Judas criticizing? Mary or Jesus? (Jesus. If
        he were criticizing Mary, he would simply say “Why
        didn’t you give the money to the poor instead of
        buying this expensive perfume?” Instead, Judas takes
        the purchase of the perfume as a given and says “Why
        wasn’t it sold instead of used on your feet?” Judas
        remarks are directed at the point that Jesus “takes
        control” of the gift.)

    3. Read John 12:6. Have you ever had someone question your
      motives for good work? Here we have Judas looking out for
      the poor, and John is questioning his motives, right?

    4. Read Matthew 26:14-16. What is Judas’ motive for betraying
      Jesus? (It seems to be money.)

      1. How does this make any sense? Isn’t Jesus the “cash
        cow,” the “golden goose” for contributions? Isn’t He
        the reason why people would contribute? Isn’t it
        short-sighted to take money now to “kill the golden

    5. Let’s read skip down one chapter in Matthew. Read Matthew
      27:3-5. If money motivated Judas: a)What did Judas think
      the Jewish leaders were going to do to Jesus? b)Why would
      he give the money back or hang himself? (I think Judas’
      motivation was money and power, but not the 30 pieces of
      silver. Judas calculated that he was more sophisticated
      about this kind of thing than Jesus and the working-class
      disciples. He figured that Jesus would be forced to
      declare Himself King and take power. When that happened
      Judas would become a powerful man and have lots of money.
      The 30 pieces of silver were just “icing on the cake” for
      this smart move. What Judas did not expect was that Jesus
      (v.3) would be condemned. When Judas saw that Jesus was
      actually going to die, he felt remorse for killing an
      innocent man AND his grand future was down the drain.
      Without the future he planned, he killed himself.)

    6. What lessons do you learn from Judas that you can apply to
      your life? (We have a lot of money flying around in this
      story, but I do not think this is about money. The perfume
      Mary bought was the equivalent of wages for 300 days of
      work. The 30 pieces of silver were worth wages for 120
      days of work. Judas’ problem was the attitude that he knew
      better than Jesus how to usher in the Kingdom of God. When
      we look at the teachings of the Bible and decide that they
      do not apply to us because we are too “sophisticated,” we
      make the same mistake as Judas. Mary took very expensive
      perfume to perform the role of a servant – washing Jesus’
      feet. Judas decided that Jesus should be servant to Judas’

  2. Peter

    1. Read Matthew 16:21-23. A few verses ( Matthew 16:16-18)
      before this Peter was complimented by Jesus because he
      recognized Jesus was the Son of God. Now Jesus calls Peter
      “Satan.” Why? (This is the “Judas problem.” Peter is sure
      he knows better than Jesus was the future holds for

    2. Read Matthew 26:31-35. What is Peter’s attitude? Does he
      believe he is more faithful than the rest of the
      disciples? (Verse 33 reveals Peter’s confidence he was
      more faithful than anyone else.)

      1. Do you think Peter is serious about being willing to
        die? Or, does he think he would never die defending
        Jesus, the Son of God?

    3. Read John 18:3-5, 10-11. Is Peter willing to die? (A
      detachment of armed soldiers has come for Jesus. However,
      the verses that I skipped contain the account (v.6) of the
      soldiers falling to the ground in Jesus’ presence. Peter
      is certainly willing to fight. I’m not sure he thinks he
      will die.)

      1. Was Peter willing to have Jesus die? (No. Verse 11
        records Jesus speaking to Peter on just that point.)

      2. Was Peter faithful? (Yes! Whether he is willing to
        actually die is not clear, but it certainly is clear
        that he is willing to fight for Jesus.)

    4. Read John 18:15-17, 25-27. Why the change in Peter? (Peter
      thought Jesus would never die. Peter was willing to fight
      to keep Jesus from dying. When it seemed that Jesus would
      not fight and He might die, Peter was uncertain of his
      ground. Things were not turning out as he had expected.)

      1. Are Judas and Peter similar? (Judas was looking out
        for himself. Peter was looking out for Jesus. What
        they had in common was an attitude that they were
        right about the future. Judas was willing to stake
        his “plot” on his view of the future and Peter was
        willing to fight for his view of the future. When the
        future did not turn out as they planned, they were
        both devastated.)

    5. Read Matthew 26:75. Judas went out and hung himself, and
      Peter went out and wept. What makes the difference between
      the two at this point?(First, we have a difference in
      attitude. One was looking out for Judas and the other was
      looking out for Jesus. Second, I think Judas believed that
      Jesus let him down. Life would not be as he expected
      because Jesus did not fulfill Judas’ plan. Peter also saw
      things were not working out as he had expected, but he
      believed that he had let Jesus down. The one stuck with
      his plan and his pride and killed himself because there
      was no future. The other stuck with Jesus and repented.)

    6. How about you? Do you “manipulate” the gospel to make
      yourself rich and powerful? Do you have certain
      expectations of the gospel for which you are willing to
      fight – but only if things turn out as expected? (A theme
      I keep seeing in these verses is “Come, follow Me.” Not,
      “Jesus, come follow my plan.”)

  3. The Light

    1. Read John 8:12. What is the key to living in the light
      according to this text? (Following Jesus.)

    2. Did Judas or Peter understand the future? Were they living
      in the light?

      1. What was their failure? (They failed to just be
        willing to follow Jesus. Peter changed after he
        learned this lesson the hard way.)

    3. Friend, this is the secret to taking advantage of the
      victory that Jesus has already won – to put aside our own
      ideas and simply follow the directions of Jesus. This will
      give us a life “in the light.”

  4. Next Week: The Great Controversy and the Church