a tale of two…

February 14, 2011

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way-… “

Thus begins one of the greatest books ever written, or so I’ve been told.  OK, I confess, I have not read, A Tale of Two Cities. I recently downloaded a (free) Kindle version, so it is the next work of fiction I read, when I finish with Dean Koontz.  Dickens has a lot to live up too, I really like Dean Koontz.

It is interesting, but it is the opening of Dickens’ masterwork that came to my mind this morning contemplating the plight of a friend.   He is in a place where soon he will choose to go to one of two “cities” and his choices could not offer more contrast than the opening of a Dickens novel.

It also reminded me very clearly of two disciples of Jesus, their choices and fates.  Judas and Peter.  Two men with high hopes and aspirations, both following someone they believed was the Messiah, the Savior of the world.  Both turned their back on him; one out of fear, and one out of greed.

One man sought forgiveness.  He was forgiven, restored and elevated to (or lowered to) a position of being the cornerstone of the church.  After his triple  denial, Peter turned his back and wept bitterly.  But then he repented, was loved and became perhaps the greatest spokesman for Christ of the first (or possibly any) century.

The second man, also wept, recanted, but instead of repenting and seeking forgiveness, he saw himself as beyond forgiveness.   The Bible doesn’t say so explicitly, but it does implicitly say that Jesus would have forgiven Judas if he had asked. But instead, Judas took the cowards way out, the ultimately selfish way out.

I know lots of people (all men or boys) named Peter, or Pete.

Nobody names their child Judas.

If only Judas had understood, with Jesus there is always forgiveness.  With Jesus there is always restoration.  With Jesus there is always hope.   He makes all things new.  I pray my friend realizes this, soon.



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