Home / Spiritual / Christianity / Peter vs Judas

Peter vs Judas

When contrasted with Judas Iscariot, it is evident that Peter did deserve full restoration.  

Both Peter and Judas exhibit imperfections in their faith in Christ, yet only Peter holds steadfast to his belief in Jesus since he recognizes His true identity.  He first points out the identity of Christ in Mark 8:29, “You are the Christ.”  Peter’s declaration of Jesus as Christ provides a basis for all of his consequent trials of faith.  Jesus distinctively places Peter in situations that question and attempt to further his faith in Jesus as Christ.  In this first trial, when Jesus elucidates on the Son of Man suffering and dying, Peter, the only disciple truly knowing that this refers to Jesus, sternly castigates Him.[1]  Even though Peter may know Jesus as Christ and the Son of Man, his rebuke proves that he does not fully understand His authority and place faith in His plan as the epitome of ultimate good.  Jesus’ emphasis on faith in Peter’s life again surfaces when he remembers the cursed fig tree and notices that it has withered.  Jesus’ first response to Peter’s observation is a command: “Have faith in God.”[2]  This command assures the reader of two things, that Jesus knows Peter doubts and that He wishes for him to maintain faith.  Peter’s surprise at the fig tree withering at Jesus’ curse remains unfounded.  Yet even after this testing, Peter again questions Jesus’ authority when He foretells of Peter’s future denial, to which Peter responds: “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.”[3]  Once again, he takes his judgment in higher esteem of Christ’s, not believing that Christ’s words are true.  This final act of Christ to prove His sovereignty and worthiness of Peter’s faith proves most debilitating and Peter finally realizes the reality of Jesus’ identity.  He had denied Christ twice yet he ‘remembered how Jesus had said to Him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.’[4]  He remembers and he weeps.  He remembers who He knows Jesus is and what He had said to prove His omnipotence.  He realizes through humility that Jesus is the omnipotent Son of God and this knowledge overwhelms him to the point of tears. 

            Judas contrasts Peter in that he lacks faith in Jesus because he does not understand His identity.  He, believing Jesus only came to save the Jews, notices that Jesus is not taking initiative to fulfill this mission.  Taking matters into his hands and lacking any faith in Jesus’ perfect plan, he betrays Jesus with a kiss, thinking that this will force Jesus to take His rightful place.  When his plan goes awry, he cannot but mourn in his control gone awry.  He, unlike Peter, knows nothing of faith, let alone Christ’s forgiveness, this manifesting itself in his consequent suicide.  Knowledge of Jesus’ identity, having faith in this divinity, and thus faith in forgiveness would have saved him.  But, unlike Peter, he does not know who Jesus is and thus cannot have faith in Him or His forgiveness. 

When his actions are contrasted to Judas’ actions, Peter does seem to merit restoration.  Even though he does have his share of doubts and falterings, he ultimately does name Jesus as the Christ.  He also repents, weeping, of his falterings.  This is a deed in which Judas will not participate.  

It must also be remembered that Peter followed Christ as a chief witness to His life and death, working alongside Paul in ministry.  This work, alone, merits restoration.  It proves that Peter believed Jesus was the Christ and was willing even to die for this belief.  If this will not merit restoration, it is difficult to understand how anyone can hope in any sort of restoration for themselves.

[1] Mark 8:32 (ESV).

[2] Mark 11:22 (ESV).

[3] Mark 14:31 (ESV).

[4] Mark 14:72 (ESV).