LUKE 22:31-34: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: No one makes a plan to fail. I did not wake up this morning and say – “I wonder how I can miserably fail today?” Deep within, each one of us wants to succeed. When we play a game we want to win. When we take a test we want to pass. As we go through life we want to make wise choices. Yet, we all fail at some time in our life. When we do we are reminded of our personal limitations and weaknesses. To fail is not fun!
Peter was no different. In Peter’s mind there was no way that he was going to fail his Lord. Peter emphatically said to Jesus – “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Peter was not just telling Jesus something he thought Jesus wanted to hear, Peter meant it. Yet, Jesus knew that Peter would fail. Jesus replied – “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”
This story is not to be used as an excuse to fail. It does not mean that we should forget trying to do our best. However, this story does bring us comfort and hope in many ways. First, Jesus knew that Peter would fail – yet – He did not withdraw His love from him. How many times are we tempted to draw away from someone who has let us down? I am reminded of the story of the Apostle Paul and John Mark. John Mark had let Paul down and Paul refused to bring him along on one of his missionary journeys. Yet, Jesus did not react to Peter in this way. Rather, Jesus prayed for Peter. Jesus said – “…I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.”
Jesus knew that Peter was going to fail in his actions. However, Jesus prayed for Peter that he would not fail in his faith. Ultimately it was his faith in Jesus Christ that would sustain and restore Peter. It is our faith in Jesus Christ that sustains and restores us when we fail. In all times and in all circumstances – Jesus is praying for us! What a comfort to know that He stands always to make intercession for the saints. Jesus prays for you and I each day – that our faith will not fail!
Jesus also assured Peter of his ongoing worth and ministry. Peter’s failure would be painful, but it would not take him away from God’s love or God’s greater purposes for his life. Jesus said – “And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” In this statement we see the promise of both Peter’s restoration and his ongoing worth and purpose as a minister of Jesus Christ. God’s love is greater than our weakness! We are not kept by the power of our efforts – we are kept by the power of God! This truth does not give me the license or the desire to willingly go out and fail the Lord. NO! – This truth humbles my heart with deep affection and gratitude for a love so great, and it compels me to live daily surrendered to His Great Grace!
Lord, thank you for Your Love that is greater than my weakness. Thank You for praying for my ongoing walk of faith. Thank You for Your power to forgive, cleanse, and restore. May I run to Your throne of Grace and Mercy whenever I feel weak. May I be “kept” from falling by Your Great Love! In Jesus Name!