Rend your hearts! The concept of contrition is an ancient one. It was commonly shown in the ancient world by sackcloth and ashes. Everyone who saw the person would understand there is something very wrong. Someone died. Some tragedy or heartache has happened. The sackcloth and ashes are only signs of the first half of repentance. Contrition is the technical term for sorrow over sin. Just having contrition is not repentance. Repentance is a two part process. Don’t get too excited these divisions are logical not chronological. Contrition must be paired up with faith. Just to be clear we are not looking for a five minute period of contrition followed by faith measurable by its fruit. A Christian, trusting in Jesus as his Savior, can find repentance every day by looking at God’s Law, knowing that he has failed, and enjoying the peace that comes from a clear conscience. That brings us to our first case study.
Judas and Peter are an interesting study during Lent. They are main characters in the Passion Accounts. We see them fail every year. Because Judas ends up at the end of his own noose, it might be tempting to assign him an inordinate amount of derision. This is where Peter helps us out. Let’s break them down.
Judas betrayed our Lord. That’s pretty bad. But before we throw another stone, walk through Judas perverse logic. Had Jesus ever been convicted of a crime? Had Jesus ever done anything remotely wrong? Alot of people hated him, but it wasn’t because he was evil. It was because he was perfect! What would be the harm if the Jewish officials gave him 30 pieces of silver. Jesus escapes as normal – he’s perfect in every way. Judas has 30 more coins to give to the poor. Why, I bet Jesus would even commend Judas for his quick thinking – playing the Jewish leaders like that. Good job Judas!
Let’s come back to reality: Judas was living with a heart full of greed. That logic was perverse. Jesus warned him clearly that what he was doing was dangerous. He refused to listen, blinded by his own sin. When Judas heard that Jesus was condemned – everything came crashing down around him. He had contrition all right, but he didn’t pair it with faith. There was no repentance. Judas ended his life in despair.
Want to hear more? Including a break down of Peter’s fall? Watch this week’s lesson in our two week series Rend Your Hearts.
Please click HERE to find the Bible class slides.