Summary: This is how Peter and Judas dealt with sorrow at the end of Jesus’ life.
2 Corinthians 7:10 (KJV)
For Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
Why do people choose life and some choose death? Many times it is how we perceive things. Or how our past has shaped our lives. We tend to let those we are around and how we got to where we are now, to make our choices for us. And sometimes we allow our expectations to lead us around.
I am going to look at two men from the Bible that, for me, tend to exemplify godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. The first person I am going to look at is Peter. The second person is Judas. Both were chosen by Jesus (Mark 3:16-19) but each went a separate way after three years of walking with Him. One to life and one to death.
Let’s take a look at Peter first. He was personally called by Jesus to be a part of the inner circle of twelve, as is seen in Mark 3:13-16. Jesus had changed his name from Simon to Peter, based on a declaration of who Jesus was, the Son of God (Matthew 16:13-18).
As one of the twelve that had been in a boat going across, to the other side of the sea of Galilee. Jesus had gone up to pray by himself after he had sent his disciples across. After Jesus got done praying he went to meet the boat by walking on the water. They all saw him. But one person decided he wanted to do the same thing. So he asked Christ if it was to let him come out and walk on the water, too. Which after Jesus said to come, he got out of the boat and walked. (Matthew 14:24-29)
At the last supper, Jesus told his disciples that they were going to be offended because of him that night. Peter, as he so often did, spoke up and said that he would be right there with him no matter what happened. Peter was then told that before the rooster crowed in the morning, he would betray Christ three times. (Matthew 26:31-35) Which he does almost without thinking about it. (Matthew 26:69-75)
Even with all he had seen and himself had done as he followed Christ, he still messes up. After the rooster crowed and he looked in Jesus direction, noticing Jesus looking at him, he was ashamed. He realized that he was not as strong as he seemed to be. He had allowed fear to rule him, at least for the moment. But he repented. He confessed to God just how weak he truly was. He sought forgiveness for his betrayal of Jesus.
Afterwards, during the first Church revival, so to speak, he was bold about his faith. He preached the first sermon, after the Holy Spirit was given to all that were in the upper room. He was not going to let anything get in the way of his relationship with Christ ever again. He clearly chose life.
But, Judas was a different story. He, too, was chosen by Jesus to be one of the inner circle. One of the twelve disciples. (Matthew 10:2-4)
He was given an important job. He was the banker for Jesus and the disciples. He was given charge of the funds to be used for whatever they were going to need as they traveled on their journeys. (John 13:29) Though, as was stated earlier, he was a thief. (John 12:6)
Judas went to the religious leaders and told them that he would betray Jesus to them for 30 pieces of silver. (Matthew 26:14-16) This was no surprise to Jesus. He told them in the upper room after the last supper, that one of them was going to betray Him. (John 13:21-30) Afterwards, Judas left to tell religious leaders that now was the time. (Luke 22:47-48)
After meeting Jesus on the mount of Olives, to deliver him to the guards, he almost the same thing as Peter. But instead of going to God to ask forgiveness, he went to the priests and gave them back the money and told them that he had made a mistake. That he had betrayed innocent blood. Then he went and committed suicide. He couldn’t handle what he had done. (Matthew 27:3-5)
Both men were tried in their faith. (1 Peter 1:7) Peter’s faith was strengthened after his betrayal of Jesus. Judas on the other hand was destroyed.
Peter lived and became strong in his faith by the trial of betrayal. He became one of the strongest forces of good for God. He did not let his guilt get in the way of God’s work and will for his life.
Judas killed himself because of guilt. Instead he let the guilt get to him, thereby failing his test of faith.