Follow me through the progression of this story:
“And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:31-32 NKJV
Jesus warned Peter. He told him satan was about to test him…and that he would fail that test. Notice Jesus didn’t pray that Peter wouldn’t be tested, He prayed Peter’s faith could withstand the fire.
Today, Jesus still warns us because satan is still asking for us the way he did Peter. Jesus sits as our mediator, praying for us. But we must also do our part. We must heed His warnings…and when we fail, like Peter, we must return to Him.
“ When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”… When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”Luke 22:40-46 NKJV (emphasis mine)
Here we see Jesus instructing His disciplines to pray…pray they wouldn’t be tempted. You’d think after the warning Jesus just gave Peter that Peter would be diligent to heed that warning and he’d be praying long after everyone else. But he didn’t. His flesh, like ours, was weak. Instead of praying, he slept.
Makes me wonder, when Jesus warns us today, do we press in closer or is our flesh weak? Do we pray or do we sleep?
Peter had been warned a test was coming. Petered had been instructed to pray. Peter failed…and he knew it. We aren’t told why Peter didn’t heed Christ’s directives better; it could have been short sightedness or even pride. It’s easy on this side of the event to judge him, I mean everything Christ said was playing out step by step (denial by denial) but it’s harder when you’re IN the situation to realize what’s transpiring.
Our flesh is weak. Some of us are guilty of being short sighted, others of being too prideful. There are a million reasons why we don’t listen to Christ or heed His Holy Word (Bible) but the ‘why’ isn’t the point here. The result of what it produces in us is the focus on this discussion.
Failing to obey God, giving in to our flesh, will cause us to weep bitterly.
This is where it’s vital we remember the rest of what Jesus told Peter…”when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren”
After failing, we must return to God. Not only that, we must learn from the failings and use it to help others. Let the fire refine us. Nothing like fire to help us learn more about our need of God and how to apply His Word to our lives (Psalm 119:71).
“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” …Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.” John 15:21-17 NKJV
Christ is asking us today, “Do you love me?”
If you say “yes” then He wants to know if you’re obeying His commands?
Are you living your life for you or for Him?
Are you giving into your flesh or pressing in with more prayer?
Are you sharing your testimony of all the grace God has bestowed upon you?
Are you feeding His sheep?
Daily we are tested. Daily we fail. Daily we must return to Him and let Him re-direct our paths for His glory.
Daily we must choose Him.
Daily He warns us. Daily He prays for us. Daily He asks, “Do you love me?”