The Easter story and the aftermath is full of emotion and rebirth. It also has its share of sorrow, betrayal, and denial. As Jesus was facing the Cross, He was abandoned by the disciples. By the time He died and rose again, the disciple circle was in shambles.
I’m sure when Judas looked back at what he had done, he realized there were ways he could have done things differently. He was remorseful, but he moved away from the crowd. However, moving away from the crowd only distanced himself from Jesus. Remorse does that. It distances us from those we have wounded. Scripture tells us that when it was over, Judas went out and hung himself.
When Peter heard that cock crow, he remembered what Jesus had said would happen. He wasn’t with Jesus, but he eventually came back. He was one of the first at the tomb that Sunday morning, but that night, Peter went out and wept bitterly.
These two men betrayed and denied Jesus when He needed them most. Two different responses: 0ne of remorse, which took him farther away from the Man who could bring healing and the other of repentance, which brought him back to the open, empty tomb and a relationship with the One he had denied earlier.
With remorse, so often we are just sorry we got caught. We’d never admit the truth unless it was discovered by someone else. In repentance, there is sorrow for the sin. There is also a change of direction. Repenting means turning around and going the other way.
Peter made the right choice. He acknowledged his sin and was so sorry – a fact evidenced by his bitter weeping.
It’s a lesson for all of us.
Remorse only drives us further from Jesus. Repentance brings us to Him.
The pain from their sins was felt by their Master. Restoration came to the one who repented of his sin. Remorse was not enough. It was the repentance that brought restoration.
How about it, friends? What is our response when we’ve failed the One who died for us?
Remorse is not enough. Repentance is – for it brings complete healing and restoration.