Another thought about Peter. Have you evere wondered why he and Judas ended their lives in two completely different ways? Both of them spent time with Jesus. Both of them saw the miracles, heard the teachings and felt the compassion that Christ showed the people of their day. Their personalities were similar in some ways: bold, aggressive, committed and hard-headed.
So, why does Peter's life end as the Rock of the church while Judas brings his own life to an end, failing to understand the role of Christ?
I heard a preacher one time make the argument that it was because Judas was the treasurer for the disciples. He believed that being in charge of the funds caused Judas to become a lover of money.
I don't think that's it. I think it goes deeper. I think the point of divergence for these two followers comes down to hunger and thirst. Jesus talked a lot about both. He said those who hunger and thirst for righteousness would be blessed. Both of these guys hungered, no doubt. I believe they both hungered for more of Christ. Here's where the similarity ends. I believe Peter hungered for Jesus and wanted his life to bring honor to Him. Judas, on the other hand, hungered for Christ because he saw what Jesus could do for him and how He could bring Judas glory. In other words, for Judas, Jesus was a means to an end--his goals, his dreams, his glory. For Peter, Jesus was the end--the end of a search for meaning and purpose and direction.
Which one more closely describes you? Be honest. A whole lot rides on this. Have you found everything you ever desired in Christ? Or do you find yourself using Jesus as a vehicle to get your promotion, to bless your new job, to promote your new lifestyle? Here's a simple test. The way you worship. I see it week after week where people come into church and ask the questions that implicate any self-seeker: what's in this for me? How will I be blessed? Worship is, at its heart, about what we bring to God of ourselves and our dreams. Think about it. We all hunger and thirst for something. Will you be satisfied with anything but Jesus?
SPECIAL NOTE: Five years removed from the accident that killed Sarah and Josh, I have not forgotten how precious life is and how much we should value every day we are given with our loved ones. With that in mind (and because I don't blog on the weekends) I wanted to take this chance to love on my mom, Nadine. Saturday is her birthday and she will celebrate three quarters of a century of life (I didn't tell them your age mom). She is an amazing woman. Everything good and right about me came from her and my dad. Every thing bad about me you can blame on someone else. I am most thankful for the family that God has blessed me with throughout my life. I thank God for the precious mom that He gave me. She was tough enough to raise me and make it through a whole lot of difficult times and to stay with the man of her dreams, my dad, for his entire life. For all of those things, I am grateful. I love you, mom. Hope you have a happy birthday and, I promise, the family and I are coming to see you soon.