Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do. (Matthew 26:49-50a)
Jesus was with His disciples with three years teaching the truth and the love of God. It was one day before the Passover celebration. Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He came this world as the lamb to be sacrificed for us to forgive all our sins and transgressions. This was His love toward his disciples and all of us, who were and are not ready to receive this unfathomable gift of God – the salvation.
Even so, Jesus had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and he loved them to the very end. It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus although the other disciples did not know except Jesus and Judas. Jesus also fully knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God.
To show His love toward His disciple, Jesus got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Peter did not understand what Jesus was doing. Then Jesus lovingly replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” “No,” Peter, one who was stubbornly trying to do a right thing, protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus patiently replied as a parent told his/her own child with love, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.” Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”
Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.” Judas also heard this.
Then Jesus was deeply troubled, and he exclaimed, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me!” The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean. Simon Peter motioned to him to ask, “Who’s he talking about?” So that disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?” At that time, Judas was still there, but soon he left the place. The other disciples did not know why he left early. They just thought that Judas went out to pay for the food or to give some money to the poor.
As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory, and God will be glorified because of him. Soon you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going.” Then Jesus gave a new commandment: Love each other. He said, “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35)
As soon as hearing this, Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?” Peter did not know the real meaning of what Jesus was telling. He was just curious why he would not be able to come to Jesus. Peter diligently followed Jesus while throwing away his nets and boat catching fish for three years. He was always brave and loyal to Jesus, and he thought that he was the most royal and the greatest among the disciples. Thus, what was told did not make sense.
And Jesus tried to make Peter comforted and replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.” Jesus could not explain what would happen next. Peter directly asked, “But why can’t I come now, Lord?” Peter continued pouring out his heart, “I’m ready to die for you.”
Jesus could not hold up anymore what would happen, and He answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” Jesus finally revealed what would happened to Peter, and especially, for Jesus, Peter’s denials soon would be one of the most painful things that He had to watch and experience.
Now back to Judas. As the Festival of Unleavened Bread, also called Passover, was approaching, the leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus. However, they were afraid of the people’s reaction. What a coincidence! Judas, who left the supper with Jesus and His fellow disciples, came to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard. He wanted to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. They were really delighted, and they promised to give him money. So Judas agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren’t around. To help their capture effort, Judas explained the usual pattern of Jesus, who usually went to the Mount of Olives to pray with His disciples.
After the supper, as usual, Jesus took the eleven disciples to the Mount of Olives although he already knew Judas would sold Him. Jesus prayed and also asked for His disciples to pray because the time was coming quickly. However, those disciples were sleeping. A crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”
Immediately, there was a small fight between the disciples protecting Jesus and those who tried to arrest Jesus. Jesus shouted “No more of this,” and stopped the fighting. Then He healed the high priest’s salve eye, which was cut off by one of His disciple’s sword. Then Jesus voluntarily gave Himself up to the people, and Jesus was arrested and bounded. As soon as this happened, all of the disciples fled except Peter. He cautiously followed Jesus with distance. Peter was standing before fire to watch Jesus in distance. Soon Peter was challenged by a young girl, and other people gathered around fire to warm up themselves, and Peter denied three times: “I don’t know Jesus,” “I am not one of them,” and “I don’t know what you are talking about”
At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly. (Luke 22:61-62) Peter thought that the most brave, righteous and greatest among the disciples, and it was true till He miserably failed. Jesus also had to watch over this painful moment, which added a deep sorrow in His heart. Peter bitterly wept.
What did happen to Judas? When Judas realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. Yes, he felt same as Peter. After he realized what he did was wrong, Judas took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders, not like Peter, bitterly weeping, he hid himself in fear with other disciples.
Let’s continue following what Judas did. He said, “I have sinned for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple. (Matthew 27:4-5a)
Judas was brave enough to openly tell what he did was wrong, and protested about the wrong doing of the leading priests and the elders. It was not like Peter, who was just wept and cowardly hid himself for his protection.
How do you want to compare between what Peter did and what Judas did after Jesus’ arrest? Peter was truly coward to preserve his own life. Judas protested openly and threw the silver coins as a sign of wrong doing against Jesus by the high priest and the elders, who were the highest authority at that time. Yes, Peter’s behavior was really coward when compared with what Judas did.
However, Jesus found Peter after His resurrection, although Peter fled, dined and hid himself while Jesus was tortured and killed, after His resurrection. Why? Jesus loved Peter, who was worse than Judas in our earthly standard. But Jesus came to Peter. This is the mystery that we cannot fathom. God loves us. As He did to Peter, although we might be worse than Judas, Jesus loves us. Just come to Jesus. Jesus is always waiting for us while opening wide His both arms. Give thanks to Jesus! This is the reason why we have our complete and absolute assurance in Him. Praise Him! His is Our True Savior!
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. (John 21:17)