31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
I was recently reading in Luke and came across the story where Jesus is talking to Peter and tells him that he is going to deny Him three times. Jesus brought a different perspective to this reading for me and an A-HA moment was born. I love when God brings about a new understanding of scripture even when you have read it several times over.
In verse 31, Satan has asked to sift all of the disciples and when Peter fails he needs to turn back and strengthen his brothers. The first thought that came to my mind was the fact that I didn’t really truly understand that Satan asks permission to sift all of us in hopes that we fall and don’t get back up. It makes sense if we are children of God, but I never thought of it that way. When God does allow a sifting in our lives Satan is laughing in the background, but God knows better. God is truly a good God and He will always use something bad for something good and he proves it with Peter.
Peter was one of the strongest disciples that followed Jesus and possibly one of the closest to Jesus. I would imagine that the other disciples looked up to him and wanted to follow his lead, so when Peter failed by denying Christ three times it must have come as a shock to the others. It could have been a disaster. The other disciples could have looked at Peter as a failure and eventually given up spreading the news of Christ and everything He taught them, but Jesus had given Peter some great words of wisdom. Verse 32 says “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
This verse to me is one of the biggest foundation builders in all of Christianity. Jesus was setting up a building block for all of us today through this situation. Christ showed us that even the best of us fail through sinful behavior every day, but it is how we react to this sinful nature that is key. We shouldn’t just crawl into a black hole and give up because we think we are not worthy to continue following Christ. No, we stand back up and brush off our knees just like Peter did, and as we stand back up we help strengthen our brothers and sisters by setting the example of asking for forgiveness and pressing on. We don’t give up. We don’t let Satan take advantage of our sinful nature. We remember that Christ spilled blood so that we can stand back up and continue in His name and for His glory.
We have all gone through some sort of sifting. You may even be going through one now. Let’s remember that Jesus is allowing the sifting to bring us closer to Him and to help us turn back and strengthen others. We can be an example to others of how to get back up. We can grow our character to become more like Christ. Let’s be like Peter and press on. Will you join me?