Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” 33 But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” 34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
Jesus was trying to give him a word of caution. Satan was seeking to turn Peter’s world upside down, and what’s more, God had given him permission.
Jesus gave Peter a word of caution, but He also gave him a word of comfort. “Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail.” Jesus did not say that Peter would not fail. He said that his faith would not fail. What is the difference? In his strength, Peter would fall flat on his face. The Bible says that after the rooster crowed and Peter realized what he had done, he went out and wept bitterly. (see Luke 22:62) This was the worst moment of his life. But he did not lose his salvation. His faith did not fail. Why did his faith not fail? His faith did not fail because Jesus was praying for him. We read from the book of 1st John, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1) John does not encourage us to carelessly sin; however, he tells us that if we do sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, who is Jesus Christ the righteous. What is an advocate? An Advocate is someone who stands by our side to help us. Some have interpreted it as a defense lawyer. The Bible calls Satan ‘the accuser of the brethren.’ Just like he accused Job of loving God only because God blessed him, so he accuses each of us. When he accuses us, Jesus, our advocate, stands to our defense. Jesus does not defend us on the grounds of our righteousness but on the grounds of his righteousness. He died on the cross for our sins and therefore, through faith in Him, the penalty of our sins has been paid for, and in Christ we are declared to be righteous. Peter’s faith did not fail because Peter was great, but because he had a great Savior.
Jesus gave Peter a word of caution, a word of comfort, and a word of challenge. “and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Jesus knew that Peter would eventually return. The gospel of John tells us that after the resurrection, Jesus went to Peter personally. See John 21:15-19. Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. Each time Peter said, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love you.” And each time Jesus replied, “Feed My lambs.” I do not think that Jesus asked him repeatedly because Jesus was trying to scold him. I believe he asked him three times because He was trying to restore him. “Dig deep Peter. Do you really love Me?” “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” “Then get up and get busy. There’s work to do and it’s time for you to receive My forgiveness and move on.”
God did restore Peter. In his first two public messages, 8,000 people were saved. Peter became a pillar in the church, and he wrote two amazing letters to Christians who were being tested. I leave you with these words from his first epistle – “Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:5-11)
Thank you for joining me in this week’s study. God bless you brethren.