Every time I read this episode of the night Jesus was betrayed and arrested it upsets me. Political opportunism, greed and jealously have orchestrated a cesspool of injustice. In the midst of the deliberate evil of the religious leader and Judas we see Peter’s dramatic fail. After pledging his unshakable devotion, Peter then just as boldly denies any relationship with Jesus, leaving Him abandoned and alone.
There is a big difference in Peter’s betrayal and Judas’ that we need to see and understand; it is the difference between pigs and sheep. Judas and the religious leaders hatched their attack on Jesus over time and with careful planning. Like pigs they wallowed in the mud of their jealousy and greed for quite a while as they developed their strategy to eliminate Him. Pigs enjoy and embrace mud as their preferred environment just like “sinners” enjoy and embrace their lifestyle of independence from God. Peter also sinned when he broke his promise to be faithful to Jesus and when he lied about knowing Him, but there is a key difference – Peter was broken and humbled when he realized what he had done.
“At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered that the Lord had said, “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 (NLT)
Like a sheep that wanders into a mud hole, Peter got messy and dirty but like a sheep he didn’t enjoy the mud for long. Pigs love wallowing in the mud and sheep don’t, that’s the difference. God knows His children will mess up along the way and make sinful choices and He has promised that if we will humbly admit our sin then He will forgive and restore us.
“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:8-9 (NLT)
The question isn’t whether we will sin or not, the issue is whether we enjoy, excuse and continue in it or admit our guilt and ask God for help. It’s the difference between pigs and sheep.