Summary: Peter denied Jesus three times in one night Yet Jesus prayed for him. What about you? What is your big failure? Do you feel like it is the end? IT IS NOT. For God our ends are His beginning. Jesus is praying for us.
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, 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.”
A few points:
1. Jesus prayed for Peter-not that he would be saved from Satan’s grasp, that he would avoid “sifting”. Sifting purifies, removes useless weights and impurities. Instead, Jesus prayed that his faith would not fail-so Peter was about to go through some difficulties-but Jesus had prayed for him, so that the difficulties would not defeat him, but instead build his faith.
2. I imagine Jesus looking at Peter when the cock crew with love and compassion-sadness at the struggle he faced-not “I told you so”, but “I love you. I’ve prayed for you. Keep the faith”. Peter had to come to terms with the reality every one of us will eventually have to meet-His goodness and work in us is not determined by our goodness or quality of character-but based on His grace and choice. We have to have faith-we will never be perfect, but His strength is most clearly shown when our weaknesses are most evident. His grace is most visible when our imperfections are revealed. Peter did not fully understand God’s perfect nature until he was brought face-to-face with his own imperfection.
3. Though Peter thought well of himself and was stunned and heart-broken when he discovered he was not all he expected, God was not surprised. Peter failed when Jesus needed him most. Yet, Jesus never really needed Peter-Peter, though he did not yet fully understand it, needed Jesus.
So what is the main point of this story of Peter’s failure? Why is it included in the Bible? Surely it demonstrates to us that our failure is not permanent-that God knows that we are weak, and He is willing to work through us anyway.
for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. Proverbs 24:6
A FEW STORIES
ILLUSTRATION: The story is told that Andrew Jackson’s boyhood friends just could not understand how he became a famous general and then the President of the United States. They knew of other men who had greater talent but who never succeeded. One of Jackson’s friends said, "Why, Jim Brown, who lived right down the pike from Jackson, was not only smarter but he could throw Andy three times out of four in a wrestling match. But look where Andy is now." Another friend responded, "How did there happen to be a fourth time? Didn’t they usually say three times and out?" "Sure, they were supposed to, but not Andy. He would never admit he was beat -- he would never stay ’throwed.’ Jim Brown would get tired, and on the fourth try Andrew Jackson would throw him and be the winner." Picking up on that idea, someone has said, "The thing that counts is not how many times you are ’throwed,’ but whether you are willing to stay ’throwed’." We may face setbacks, but we must take courage and go forward in faith. Then, through the Holy Spirit’s power we can be the eventual victor over sin and the world. The battle is the Lord’s, so there is no excuse for us to stay "throwed"!