Dive Deeper Week 2

Dive Deeper Week 2
Written by Kaley Morgan

Week 2 of our Dive Deeper Easter Reading Plan is coming to a close. This week, I want to dive deeper into Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial, and Pilot’s judgement.


To thoroughly look at Judas, I actually want to call attention to part of last week’s reading where we first hear of Judas’ intentions to betray Jesus. Right at the tail end of the anointing at Bethany, Judas goes to the high priests about betraying Jesus.

Matthew 26:14-16, “Then one of the Twelve, a man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they weighted out thirty pieces of silver for him. And from that time he started looking for a good opportunity to betray him.”

Mark 14:10-11, “Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. And when they heard this, they were glad and promised to give him money. So he started looking for a good opportunity to betray him.”

These events took place before the first Lord’s Supper, which we also read last week, where Jesus predicts that one among them would betray him. Judas even said in Matthew 26:25, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” This leads me to think that he didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah, nor omniscient (all-knowing). He thought he could pretend like he wasn’t already planning on betraying him.

This week, we read about Judas leading the arrest of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Matthew is the only gospel that tells us what happened to Judas after this. Jesus gets betrayed, He faces the Sanhedrin, and ultimately gets sentenced to death. “Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, was full of remorse…” (Mt. 27:3)

Sometimes it’s easy to think of these pieces of the story in light of how we know the story ends. As you’re reading, unless it’s your first time ever hearing the story, you know that Jesus gets arrested and sentenced to a brutal death on the cross. So it’s easy to read it under an assumption that Judas knew his betrayal would conclude that way. But I don’t think he did. So after the arrest, when he realizes what they are going to do with Jesus, he feels deep regret for betraying Jesus just to get some money. He returns the money, and goes out and hangs himself. Getz writes, “Judas’ desire for money had led to this deceptive rationalization and tragic decision” (Getz, p 1256).

In this way, Judas demonstrates the principle Paul talks about in 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (bold emphasis mine).

Judas was completely buried in remorse. He felt there was no other way to escape the pain and regret, and chose to take his own life. This is a tragic ending to his story, and it didn’t have to be his ending. If Judas had recognized Jesus as the Messiah and Savior and turned to follow Him, he would have been forgiven and saved. I’d bet big that Jesus would have used him for a lot of good, if he had simply chosen to live for Jesus.

If you are feeling a similar burden as what Judas felt because of something you’ve done or a situation you are in, I sincerely want you to know that there is hope, life, and freedom in Jesus. Please reach out and call the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255. And continue reading to see how Peter makes a similar mistake, but has a different outcome for his life because of how he chooses to respond to it.

We know from last week’s reading that Jesus told Peter at the Lord’s Supper that he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed twice. Peter’s response was that he would never be disloyal to Jesus.

After Jesus is arrested, Peter courageously follows behind in the dark, but imagine the fear that must have been raging within him. So when confronted, he ultimately denies knowing Jesus three different times, and then the rooster crows the second time. Just as Jesus said would happen.

Matthew, Mark, and John tell how Peter remembers Jesus’ prediction right after hearing the second rooster crow, and feels deep remorse. Luke is the only gospel that mentions that at that moment, “the Lord turned and looked at Peter” (Lk. 22:61). Can you imagine that moment? Peter then “went outside and wept bitterly” (Lk. 22:62).

As you keep reading about Peter’s life in the rest of the Gospels and through the book of Acts, you will see that Peter witnesses Jesus after He is risen, and goes on to be a key leader in the early church. He spread the Gospel, performed miraculous signs in Jesus’ name, and brought many more people to Him. Peter comes back strong after his mistake and lives an incredible life.

What Peter did and what Judas did are essentially the same thing. Two different stories with different motives, but at their core, they are both betrayals of Jesus. They both felt remorse. They just had opposite outcomes. Why?

The outcome for Peter had everything to do with the condition of his heart, and the hope and forgiveness he knew was available to him through Jesus. Knowing Jesus as his Messiah and Savior, he chose to live for Jesus. So with a repentant heart, he went on and boldly served Jesus, winning many more hearts for the Lord, until he suffered a martyr’s death.

None of us are perfect. We all have failures stemming from different fleshly motives. Take comfort knowing that Jesus understands our humanness. It doesn’t make our sins ok, but when we repent and follow Jesus, we are freed from sins captivity, and can be reassured that Jesus will use our shortcomings (no matter what they are) for good. There is hope, life, and freedom in Jesus.

Questions for Reflection: What would it look like to betray Jesus in this day and age? Is there anything you need to seek forgiveness for?

In our readings, we see that Pilate knew Jesus was innocent. In Luke 23:22, Pilate says, “I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty.”  Matthew 27:18 says, “For he knew it was because of envy that they had handed him over.”

So, Pilate realizes that they are simply mad at Jesus and turned him in because of envy, and finds no reason to give him the death penalty.

But what does Pilate ultimately do? Gives him the death penalty. Why?

Matthew says a riot was starting to break out, so Pilot washed his hands of the situation, and let them do with Jesus as they wish, but specifically said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood” (Mt. 27:24). Basically, he wanted no part of this, and he was afraid of the crowd.

Mark 15:15 says that Pilate was “wanting to satisfy the crowd.”

John specifies a threat the crowd was shouting at Pilate. John 19:12 says, “From that moment Pilate kept trying to release him. But the Jews shouted, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Anyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar!” So Pilate turned Jesus over to the crowd to do what they wanted.

Essentially, Pilate neglected to do what he knew was right out of fear of the crowd. Simply put, he gave into peer pressure.

Question for Reflection: In what ways might you be giving into peer pressure or people pleasing, rather than listening to your better judgement (the Holy Spirit) and being only concerned with pleasing God?
To conclude, we’ve talked about the shortcomings of three different men. Judas betrays Jesus, Peter denies Jesus, Pilate crucifies Jesus.

These men’s mistakes turned out to be a vital part of God’s plan. This does not mean that God causes bad things to happen. He does not cause us to mess up. Sin does that. Sin is the cause. But God, in His Almighty Sovereignty, uses all things, including our mistakes, for His glorious and good plan. These pieces we discussed today were used by God to make a way for Jesus to save us from our sin.

God is unchanging. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8), so if He used all things for good then, we can trust He will use all things for good now. We can rest in that, hand over all our worries, our anxieties, our fears, our shortcomings, our mistakes, and know that the Father is in control. He will use it all as a part of his grand redemptive plan for humanity. As a response to this, let’s turn our hearts towards Christ and follow Him wholeheartedly.

Questions for Reflection:
What do you need to hand back to God, trusting that His plan is good and that He works all things together for our good?

Can you think of a past event that seemed totally evil at the time, but later the gracious hand of God became evident? (Getz, p 1339)
Citations: Getz, G. A. (2019). Holy Bible: CSB Life Essentials Study Bible. Holman Bible Publishers.
All Scripture quotes are CSB.
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