After Judas betrayed Jesus, Jesus was taken away to face a kangaroo court. Peter followed Jesus, perhaps thinking that somehow, someway he’d be able to rescue him. Peter had told Jesus earlier that very evening that even if everyone else forsook him, at least he would always remain loyal and always be there for him.

But Jesus warned Peter that he’d deny Jesus three times before the rooster crowed. And sure enough, as he snuck about outside the courtroom, three people confronted Peter and asked him, “weren’t you with Jesus?” And each time, Peter denied the facts, going so far as to curse about just how much he didn’t know Jesus. After his third denial, the the rooster crowed. Peter realized, despite whatever intentions he might have had, that he had in fact betrayed his friend, just as Jesus had warned him he would. He broke down in bitter tears. (see Matthew 26:34-75)

How do you handle it if you realize you’ve betrayed someone? Judas, who likewise betrayed Jesus, went and hanged himself. Peter, on the other hand, found a way to forgive himself, even as the one he had betrayed, Jesus, forgave him. Thus, two paths lead from any betrayal: one bound for destruction, one bound for reconstruction. In both cases, something has been destroyed utterly, and that destruction has to be recognized for what it is.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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