Have you ever felt like Peter? You honestly had the best of intentions, but life happened, and you failed to follow through. Today we will look at Peter declaring he was ready to die for Jesus, but in reality he was unprepared. We will find our scripture for today in Luke 22:31-35.
After the meal Jesus told Peter "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." But he said to Him "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death." Then he said, "Peter the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny me three times." And He said to them " When I sent you without money, Knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?" They said, "Nothing".
When Jesus speaks to Peter, he reverts to his old name, and repeats it twice. Repetition in scripture is meant to bring urgency to the situation. Simon had been his name when he was walking in the flesh, not following Jesus. The fact that he reverts to Peters old name, may be to intensify the rebuke because he was being overly confident in his flesh. If you will remember Peter stated that he was ready to be imprisoned or die with Christ.
Jesus states, "Satan has asked to sift you". The "you" used in this text is plural, meaning all the disciples, not just Peter. Peter may have been called by name just because he would experience the most strife, or because he was the most vocal among the disciples. Satan wanted to toss them around as wheat is in a sieve; to distress them, to fill them with doubts, and to make them fearful of being alone, once Jesus was gone.
Sifting grain was a way of life in the time of Jesus, so this concept would be easily understood by the disciples. Sifting was a two-part process. One step involves tossing the wheat in the air to allow the chaff to blow away in the wind. The second stage involves a sieve that would be used to separate what is valuable and useful from what is not profitable. The disciples were about to see what they were really made of, so to speak. Their teacher, Rabbi, was no longer going to be physically there to strengthen and encourage them.
The best part of the text however is when Jesus says these words "I have prayed for you". Literally, God in human form had already prayed in advance for Peter. Not only had he prayed for Peter, but said, "When you return to me, strengthen your brothers." In essence, it is going to be rough, but you will make it, and be an encouragement. How wonderful it is to have a heavenly Father, who at this very moment, is interceding for us, just as he did for Peter. It is only by his blood and intercession, we are able to have failings, but are able to rise again, and not be destroyed.
God allowed Peter to face failure and heartache, only to be stronger on the other side. He also permitted these trials in order for Peter to strengthen his brothers in Christ. As you go on to read about Peter's life, he in fact denied Jesus three times. The Bible says that even as he was denying him the third time, the rooster started to crow. Peter realized he had failed to be the man he thought he could be, and wept bitterly. You can feel the pain of defeat, the sorrow of betrayal, and the heartbreak of disappointment in the heart of Peter. However, Peter was being prepared for a greater purpose. The same is true with us; God allows people, circumstances, and events in our lives to take place in order to prepare us for His purpose. I am convinced God allows events, sometimes tragic, in our lives for the purpose of ministering to others. There is a big difference between sympathy and empathy. Sometimes we have to be able to give empathy in order to minster in certain situations.
The man that some considered a failure, ended up being the "rock" foundation for the Gospel. Although we fail God miserably everyday, it is by grace, that we are not destroyed and have hope. May God strengthen us through our trials to help us be the "rock" just as Peter was.