Theme: The source of true courage. 
This week’s lessons show us the importance of depending on Jesus.
Matthew 26:47-50
While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” 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.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.


Why did Judas do it? Millions have asked that question ever since. Was it greed? Did he do it for money? Thirty pieces of silver was not that much money. Was it jealousy? Disappointment that Jesus was not turning out to be the Messiah he expected? Resentment at having wasted three years of his life in what had turned out to be a lost cause? The only explanations we can reject outright are those that attempt to exonerate Judas, like saying he was only trying to force his master’s hand and get him to seize power boldly.1
Judas is a warning to all mere adherents of religion. J.C. Ryle points out that Judas was a chosen apostle, an eyewitness of the miracles, a hearer of the Lord’s sermons, a fellow-laborer with the eleven, and a reputable professor of religion. Not one of the eleven seems to have doubted him.2 Yet Judas was no friend of Jesus. He was lost and is now in hell. Be warned by him about being merely religious. Learn from Judas how important it is to make your calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10).
It is not only from Judas that we learn about failure. We can learn from Peter, too, though Peter’s failure was of a different order. Matthew does not mention Peter, perhaps because he was still living when Matthew wrote and might have been in danger if he had. But John, who wrote later, tells us that it was Peter who attacked the servant of the high priest and that the servant’s name was Malchus (John 18:10).
What was Peter was trying to do? He was trying to cut off Malchus’ head, of course. Malchus ducked and only lost an ear, which Luke says Jesus healed (Luke 22:51). But there was more going on than this. After Jesus’ repeated warnings, Peter probably felt that the critical moment of his testing had arrived. He had been asleep. He awoke suddenly to find the arresting party moving toward Jesus in the garden. He was courageous, and drawing his sword he struck out boldly. But Peter is also pathetic, because his boldness evaporated in a moment when Jesus rebuked his action, and he quickly fled into the darkness with the others. What he did not anticipate is that his real test would come later when a servant girl asked him if he had been with Jesus of Nazareth and he denied that he knew Jesus at all. 
It is often that way. We think that our tests are physical: will we have courage to act in some bold way? Actually they are far more likely to come in quiet moments when we may suddenly speak up for Jesus or deny him. 
1 William Barclay suggests that “when Judas stepped up to kiss Jesus, he kissed him as a disciple kissed a master, and that he meant it; that he stood back with expectant pride waiting on Jesus to blast these people and at last to act” (The Gospel of Matthew, vol. 2, Chapters 17-22, pp. 370, 371). Comments like this say more about how we view ourselves than about these past events.
2 John Charles Ryle, p. 351.


What warning can we learn from Judas?
What can we learn from Peter here about failure?
When are tests most likely to come to us?

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