Lesson 4: Holy Week

After Simon saw what happened, he was filled with awe and fell down before Jesus, saying, “Leave me, Rabbi, for I’m a sinner.”

– Luke 5:8 (TIB)

Devotion: Read Matthew 26:69-75 and 27:3-10. Earlier, at the Last Supper, Peter is willing to die for Jesus (Mt 26:33; Lk 22:33; Mt 26:51). However, like all the disciples, after Jesus surrenders himself to the authorities, Peter flees. He is ready to fight and die when he thinks a revolution is coming, but he does not understand why Jesus allows himself to be arrested without resisting. Like Judas, Peter does not understand the path Jesus has been called to walk. We are often like Peter, willing to face trials as long as we understand the reasons for them. And yet, the Holy Spirit does not inform us where our path leads or the reason we are called to walk it. God invites us to trust and keep walking. We do not have to understand to obey—but it certainly makes it easier. Our demand for understanding is a form of pride, the same pride all sin is built upon (Gen 1:36). Both Judas and Peter betray Jesus. One hangs himself; the other becomes the head of the church. Thanks be to God, failure and betrayal of God do not determine our future. Our response to God’s offer of forgiveness determines our future. What is the difference between Peter and Judas? What lessons do we need to learn from them?

Personal Worship Option: Pray for those who have betrayed God and feel abandoned in the world. Pray for those who are considering suicide, that they might come to know God’s love.

Dig A Little Deeper:

Read Matthew 26:31-35 to refresh your memory on Jesus’ prophecy of Peter’s denial.

26:69 The trial of Jesus runs parallel with the emotional “trial” of Peter. When have you betrayed God? What are the emotions Peter is likely experiencing?

26:73 Galileans, from the north, have a different accent than those from Judah, a southern region.

27:3 “Repented” means “changed his mind” and “turned in a different direction.” Repentance is one step toward new life, but not the only one. We are called to believe the good news as well (Mk 1:14-15), which means receiving the forgiveness the Holy Spirit offers. When have you repented, felt terrible for some word or action, but not taken the next step?

27:4 Again, Judas’ guilt and actions lend support to the theory he wanted to push Jesus into action, not cause his death.

27:5 Compare this passage to Acts 1:15-19. Matthew’s version emphasizes Judas’ feelings of guilt. Luke’s version in Acts emphasizes God’s active hand in Judas’ death.

27:6 Modern scholarship is not aware of any regulation preventing money taken in this way from being placed in the treasury.

27:9 Matthew quotes Zechariah 11:12-13, although his translation is unlike anything in the Hebrew or Greek versions of the Bible we have.

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