Incubating Danger Mark 14:17-31, 66-72
There are some similarities between Judas' betrayal and Peter's denial. Both did so for their own personal benefit. Judas betrayed Jesus for money and Peter denied Jesus for self-preservation. Both were sinners.
But there are also significant differences. Judas was an unbeliever (John 6:70-71; 13:10-11; 17:12). Peter was a believer – a rash and unthinking believer who tended towards knee-jerk reactions – but nevertheless, a believer. He was devoted to Jesus. He rebuked Jesus privately for talking about His sufferings and death (Mark 8:31-32). He sliced off the servant of the High Priest’s ear with his sword (Mark 14:47; John 18:10).
Satan wanted Judas and possessed him (John 13:27). Satan also desired Peter, but he could not have him because Jesus prayed for and protected him (Luke 22:31-32; Mark 8:33; John 17:12).
Judas' betrayal was not a temporary weakness of the flesh, it was a deliberate act. The chief priests did not approach Judas; he went to the chief priests with his offer, "What are you willing to give me if I hand Jesus over to you?" Judas had been toying with the idea of betrayal for some time (margin rendering of John 6:71; 12:4).
Peter’s devotion to Jesus was evident when he followed Jesus after the latter’s arrest, right into the courtyard of the high priest. But Peter stumbled when confronted with the fear of being persecuted and arrested. When he remembered Jesus' prediction of his denial, he broke down and wept.
From Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, we can learn the danger of incubating temptation in our minds. We sin because we allow temptation to continue. Deal with day-to-day “unhealthy” thoughts that may come; don’t allow them to fester. Draw encouragement from the fact that Jesus knows those who belonged to Him and will protect them.
Spiritual Exercise: Examine your actions this past week. What were the times when you failed to discern God’s presence and nearly succumbed (or succumbed) to temptation? Confess your sin and ask God to give you the strength to resist it.
In you I trust, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame,
nor let Satan triumph over me.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
Though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.