Summary: Helping us deal with our temptations learning from Simon Peter during the trial of Jesus
Help with our Battles against Temptation
Did you ever wonder why the Holy Spirit led the Gospel writers to include this tragic chapter in the life of Peter in their Gospels? Had I been writing I would have left this out. The Bible is a book that lets it all hang out, so to speak. From King David to the Apostle Paul, the Bible airs the dirty laundry of even its greatest heroes. This is done, of course, to help us learn not to make the same mistakes they made. For example, there are several things in this text that we would do well to remember.
1. Remember Satan want to sift you. (Luke 22:31)
Most of us here are too old and too worn out for Uncle Sam to want us, but Satan wants us. Jesus told Peter, “Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.” I don’t know much about sifting wheat. I do remember Daddy use to pick his dried peas, put them in a tow sack, and beat them with a stick till they were all out of the hull. He would even let me have a turn beating them. Then he would put them in a washtub and shake them. All the hulls would come to the top and peas would settle at the bottom. Then he would scoop off the hulls and have pea seed for another year. The devil wants to take us and shake us until all the bad in us comes to the top. You see, if Satan can destroy our testimony, we become ineffective witnesses for Christ. This will enable him to drag more souls along with him down into bottomless pit into which he is about to be cast.
The closer you get to Jesus the more Satan desires to have you. Remember Peter was not only a disciple; he was in that inner circle that was even closer to Jesus. The devil doesn’t bother the unsaved much because he already has them. He doesn’t even spend his time with lukewarm Christians. It’s those who are trying to walk with Jesus that he goes after.
I remember wading in the Louisiana creeks when I was a boy. When you waded downstream, you hardly noticed the current. When you turned, and began walking up stream, the current began to push against you, sometimes making it hard to walk. When you turn around and start walking with Jesus, Satan releases his big guns on you. If you have had revival this week, watch out, Satan is going to tempt you big time next week.
2. Remember that while the Spirit is indeed willing, the flesh is weak. (Matt. 26: 41b)
When Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death,” there’s no doubt in my mind that he meant every word he spoke. However, he forgot that, “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matt.26:41) I don’t know about you, but I’m in a battle with the flesh. The Bible says our old man is crucified with Him. (Rom. 6:6) The new man that I have become in Christ still lives in an old fleshly body.
Paul had the same problem. He said, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, I kept on doing.” (Rom. 7:19-25) If we are to have spiritual victory we must nail the old fleshly man back on the cross daily, every morning and every night.
3. Remember stay close to Jesus; don’t try to follow at a distance. (Luke 22:54b)
Peter went to sleep in prayer meeting that night. (Luke 22:45) He didn’t pray like Jesus asks him. (Matt 26:41a Luke 22:40,46) I’ll bet he didn’t read the scripture much either. When things begin to get, rough Peter slipped into the shadows. He was still following Jesus but now it was at a distance, for fear of being associated with Jesus. Like Peter, a lot of people are trying to be Christian without letting everybody know it. They’re not totally committed and they’re careful not to let anyone know about what little commitment they do have. Let me ask you a question. Does everyone know that you are a Christian? Do they know what you stand for and which side you’re on?
“Fear of being associated with Jesus, like Peter, some of us permit distance in our relationship because we prefer the approval of people more than the approval of God. We routinely follow Jesus at a distance and utilize him only when we have needs. |” Like a teenager embarrassed to shop with her parents, we maintain a safe distance behind Jesus and run to catch up only when we need something.” (Jeffrey E. Miller)