November 5, 2022

A Tale of Two Sinners

Written by Tripp Prince

All genuine repentance begins with remorse, yet remorse does not always lead to repentance.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 5, 2022

And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate the governor. Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” Matthew 26:75-27:5, ESV

To sin is to be human, yet how we respond to our sin defines the type of lives we live and people we are becoming. In quick succession, the Gospel of Matthew presents a snapshot of two men at their worst, both suffering under the weight of sin and self-made alienation. One is ashamed of their fear and unwillingness to identify with Christ in his time of trial, the other broken by his betrayal of the man he had promised to follow and honor as Lord. In many ways, Peter and Judas suffer from the same sickness, yet their response to their ailment is what sets them apart.

Though closely related, there is a profound difference between remorse and repentance. All genuine repentance begins with remorse, yet remorse does not always lead to repentance. Pay attention to this truth, for it is a key to our growth in the spiritual life. 

Many people are blind to their sin, unaware of the ways their words and actions cause harm to those around them. Or, even worse, they see this harm yet are so self-absorbed that they are indifferent to the suffering of others and care only for themselves and their own advancement. As such we must pray for eyes to see our sin and that God would grant us sorrow over it. This Godly sorrow is the heart of remorse, seeing and regretting one’s actions with the awareness of the harm they bring to others and to ourselves.

When in a place of remorse, we then have two paths that lie before us. Sorrow without any hope for the future, or sorrow rooted in the belief that the Lord can bind our wounds and bring life where there is only death. This second path is the way of repentance, a path that Peter alone chose to walk. As he began to realize the depth of his deception and disease, Judas was deeply remorseful, yes, but failed to believe there was any possibility for the healing of so great a wound. He therefore walked his chosen path to its inevitable end, one of self-made destruction. Peter on the other hand, though he wept bitterly over his shortcomings, chose to remain close to Christ, turning toward him again and again, and it was in this nearness that his healing was found.

Peter did not heal himself, but in choosing to stay near to Jesus, he placed himself in the river from which healing waters flow. This is the invitation that lies before us as well. No matter how desperate or dire your situation may be, can you return to Jesus and stay close to him, inviting him to make all things new, even your own life?


Father, may our remorse lead to genuine repentance, returning again and again to you for forgiveness and the promise of a future, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Reflect upon the sin and brokenness in your own life and whether your response has been more like Judas in mere remorse, or like Peter in a remorse that leads to repentance.

Related Reading

Proverbs 28:13; Acts 3:19; 1 John 1:9

Worship Resource

Bright City: Lead Me To The Cross


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