Friday, March 4, 2016

Judas or Peter?

During the Season of Lent I reflect on story of the last 24 hours of the life of Jesus, and I ask myself a question… I am more like Judas or Peter? Peter who was forgiven… Or Judas who was not…

How is it that Judas, who betrayed Jesus once and was filled with remorse, became the villain, while Peter, who denied Jesus three times and wept bitterl, became the rock on which the church was built? When it comes down to it, what is the difference between Peter and Judas? Well, maybe nothing. And maybe there’s not a whole lot of difference between us and them too.

But we get to share something with Peter that Judas never got to experience and it’s the thing that could have made all the difference. In Judas’s isolation, he never availed himself of the means of grace. Judas carried with him into that field the burden of not experiencing God’s grace because he was removed from the community in which he could hear it. In Judas’s ears there never was placed a word of grace. And let me tell you, that’s not something the sinner can create for him or herself. It is next to impossible in isolation to manufacture the beautiful, radical grace that flows from the heart of God to God’s broken and blessed humanity. As human beings, there are many things we can create for ourselves: entertainment, stories, pain, toothpaste, maybe even positive self-talk. But it is difficult to create this thing that frees us from the bondage of self.

In the end we are all Judas. But, we can try to be Peter. So.. every day, I know that I have to make a choice to let the Grace of God into my heart, and accept gift forgiveness that Jesus paid for with his life and suffering on the cross.

We cannot create for ourselves God’s word of grace. We must tell it to each other. It’s a terribly inconvenient and oftentimes uncomfortable way for things to happen. Were we able to receive the word of God through pious, private devotion – through quiet personal time with God – the Christian life would be far less messy. But, as Paul tells us, faith comes through hearing, and hearing implies having someone right there doing the telling.

Dave Lockley is a lifelong Methodist who has attended Broomfield UMC for the past 8 years, with his wife Jamey and children Eddie and Anabella. He has degrees in History and Education from CU Boulder and is a teacher, for the Adams 12 School District. At BUMC, he teaches classes and small groups studies on Christian History and the Bible. You can contact him at  

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