This week we have been discussing episode 1 of the NBC mini-series “AD The Bible Continues.” My goal is not to promote this series or to endorse everything that is portrayed. My goal is to help us resolve in our minds some of the issues that might be contained within the series and to prepare ourselves to be able to discuss it with others who might be watching it as well. In addition to these devotionals, I will also be teaching on this each Wednesday night during our Bible study.
As I watched the first episode I noticed that there were three main characters: the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate; the Jewish High Priest called Caiaphas; and the disciple named Simon Peter.
Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
Peter was not only a disciple of Jesus, he was also most likely the leader of the group. Throughout the gospels we find him often speaking up even when the others were silent. It was Peter who preached the first messages of the early church. It was Peter who said: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”. (see Mt 16:16) And it was Peter who chopped off the soldier’s ear when they came to arrest Jesus. (see Jn 18:10)
I believe that Peter was very sincere when he told Jesus that he was willing to go to prison or even die if need be. Yet Peter made two tragic mistakes:
- He underestimated the power of his enemy
- He overestimated his ability to resist him
Jesus told Peter of what was to about to happen. “Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”
- Satan is going to go after you
- In your own strength, you are no match for him and you will fall
- But I will keep you through the storm
Grace does not give us a license to sin. (see Romans 6:1-2; Gal 5:13) Grace is God’s power that makes a way for us to be saved and then help us to become more like our Savior. (see Titus 2:11) As Christians we must never forget that we are saved and kept by grace and grace alone. Peter had to learn this lesson the hard way. He had to fall flat on his face. Yet his fall was not final. Jesus said: “…and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Peter failed, yet he came out of his storm a stronger person. Like Job, David and many others – Peter’s knowledge of God went beyond what’s written on paper. Peter’s ministry came from what God had written on his heart.