Summary of passages: Matthew 26:69-27:10: Peter was sitting outside Jesus’ trial when a servant girl came up and asked him if he were with Jesus of Galilee. He denied it. He went to the gateway where another girl told others Peter was with Jesus of Nazareth. He denied it again with an oath this time. The people came up to him after a bit and said that he must be with Jesus because of his accent. Peter cursed himself and swore for a third time he did not know Jesus. A rooster crowed and Peter then realized what he had done and Jesus had been right. He then wept bitterly at his own sin.
In the morning, the Sanhedrin meets to officially proclaim Jesus guilty of blasphemy and sentence him to death. They hand him over to Pilate who must agree as anyone executed must be approved by the Romans.
Judas was seized with remorse when he saw Jesus was going to be killed. He returned the 30 silver coins and admitted he betrayed innocent blood. They didn’t care and Judas threw the coins into the temple. Then he hung himself. The chief priests could not use the money since it was blood money so they bought a potter’s field with the money for burial of foreigners. That is why it is called the Field of Blood. This fulfilled prophecy by Jeremiah.
Luke 22:59-62: Luke describes the scene as Peter is sitting nearby Jesus and denies him in his presence. Peter denies Jesus 3 times and on the third time the rooster crows. Jesus turned and looked straight at Peter. Peter then remembered Jesus’ words. Peter then fled and wept.
John 18:12-27: Jesus was taken to Annas first. Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. The other disciple was known to the high priest and was allowed to enter the high priest’s courtyard with Jesus but Peter had to wait outside. The other disciple gained permission for Peter to enter. Peter denies the Lord when asked and all are huddled around a fire as it was cold.
Jesus was enduring questioning at the time and told them to ask those who heard him these questions. Jesus was struck for his suggestion and sent to Caiaphas next. Peter then denied Jesus 2 more times and the crow crowed.
8a) Peter was asked by a servant girl if he were with Jesus. Peter denied this. (Matthew 26: 69-70).
Another girl saw Peter and told others that he was with Jesus. Peter denied this with an oath (Matthew 26:71-72).
People went up to Peter and said he had to be one of those with Jesus because of his accent. Peter’s denial escalated. He called down curses on himself and swore he did not know Jesus (Matthew 26:73-74).
b) Personal Question. My answer: To me, Peter’s denial increases and so does his passion. Man is like this today. You get so caught up in the lies and the deception that they perpetuate themselves until it reaches a breaking point like it did with Peter when the crow rang and Peter was hit with Jesus’ prophecy. It starts out with a small lie or denial but to cover that lie you have to lie again and even bigger and then to cover that lie you lie some more until you may actually believe your lies.
Then you usually fall and the fall is so big you weep. We must all stay true to God and ourselves to avoid what happened to Peter.
9a) Peter sinned mainly due to ignorance and out of fear. Judas sinned for greed and personal aggrandizement. Note how Peter cried: this is a sign of repentance. Note how Judas threw his coins and stomped off like a two-year old being denied a treat at the store. This is anger at the reaction from the Sanhedrin, not anger at his own actions or a desire to amend.
Peter learned from his sins and grew to do the Lord’s will. Peter accepted his sins and God’s forgiveness for them. Judas was too overcome with guilt that he took the easy way out and killed himself. He didn’t go to God afterwards. He couldn’t forgive himself like God can.
b) By taking Jesus’ work and extending it. By founding the church along with others and God and growing the spread of Christianity.
c) Definition of repentance according to Webster’s Dictionary is “to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life; to feel regret or contrition for”. The definition of sorry from Webster’s Dictionary is “feeling sorrow, regret, or penitence; mournful, sad”. Judas felt sad about what he did but he didn’t turn from his sins and dedicate his life to Christ afterwards. To repent is to want to do better and be better and change your ways. To be sorry is just a temporary feeling of regret but no changes are made in behavior or attitude.
d) We are all responsible for our sins. We are all granted Free Will. No one makes us choose to sin or turn from God. That is our choice given to us by God. We must choose Him and His ways. If we don’t, that is our fault.
10) The biggest contrast is not the questioning itself for in both cases the questioning escalated but in the handling of the questioning. Jesus exhibited grace, calm, and love at all times. He let man’s accusations fall off. He spoke only when necessary and did not fire back. Peter became more and more agitated and it showed up to the point he had denied Jesus three times before it dawned on him what had happened. Peter let fear for his own life supercede his love for Christ. He doubted God’s protection. Self became more important. A warning to us all.
Conclusions: Loved this lesson! Such a warning to us about staying true to God. Staying true to ourselves. Letting God take our fears and anxieties. Answering out of love and compassion and not self-righteousness or anger. And in the end trusting in God’s plan as Jesus did–even if it’s not what we’d choose.
Did not like question 9d. Reflects what’s wrong with American society today: it’s never my fault, it’s someone else’s. Of course Judas is responsible for his sin. To suggest otherwise is ludicrous. But people today are always looking for an out. Some medical condition or what-have-you that makes you sin and is a crutch to lean on.
I did like the flippancy in the Sanhedrin’s response to Judas. Judas was seeking some kind of consolation for his mistake but was denied. Too often today people are coddled when they sin instead of reprimanded. Our society would be better off if more of us took the Sanhedrin’s approach to sin: “That’s your responsibility.” Not that we shouldn’t help others overcome. But that we must ensure proper acceptance and repentance before healing can take place.
I loved Luke’s nugget of how Jesus turned and looked straight at Peter after his third denial. Can you imagine? You deny Jesus in his presence??? I cannot imagine the shame and grief Peter experienced. Although I think I’d be a better person if I knew Jesus were in the room with me at all times.
End Notes: If you are cursing yourself, I would say you are so agitated and so out of control that you don’t know what you are doing. Yet Peter was granted two gifts from God here: the love, forgiveness, and encouragement in Jesus’ face as he met Peter’s and the memory of Jesus’ words, which shocked him into repentance. We know how to be better. Sometimes we have to remember how to be so.
Like I said, this was the real trial in the daylight and Pilate, the Roman governor, was the only one who had the authority to execute men. Pilate’s normal residence was on the coast of Caesarea but he was required to be in Jerusalem for Passover to show his support for the Jewish people. Bill O’Reilly’s book, Killing Jesus, has much more detail on this. Pilate (as we’ll see) was not an easy sell: he did believe Jesus innocent and recognized the trumped up charges but he bowed to the will of the people (Matthew 27:17-19).
The biggest irony that gets me is Jesus is condemned by the people whom he came to save and had only shown mercy and love to. Who amongst us would do that?
Judas was sorry for the result of his sin, not sorry for the actual sin itself. He didn’t want Jesus to die; but, he would have sold him out again if given the chance.
By throwing the money at the priests, Judas was saying they were guilty as well. The priests would not touch the money now even though it was theirs to begin with (hypocrisy, anyone?).
A burial ground was considered unclean. Hence, it suited the priests to use the money for that purpose.
Some scholars say the fact Judas hung himself is a contradiction of Acts 1:18-19 where Judas fell headlong and his body burst open. If Judas hung himself, his body would not be defiled so it wouldn’t have been touched. Hence, it might have been thrown into the field and left to rot and spill open.
There is also controversy about the quote at the end of the passage attributed to Jeremiah because it appears in the book of Zechariah 11:12-13 instead. Some say this was just a clerical error when copying of the Bible took place. Some say Zechariah was the one who recorded Jeremiah’s words. Some think both the books of Jeremiah and Zechariah were recorded at the same time and thus appeared in one book, so Matthew was referring to the same book when he wrote his.
To me, this is a detail I can wait to discover. God said it all so which prophet said it or recorded it is no big deal in my book.