You Will Survive Part II

Lu.22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

These three verses are emotionally charged. Jesus said that all of the disciples were going to be sifted but he spoke very specifically to Peter. Can you imagine what was racing through Peter’s heart when he heard Jesus’ words to him? His words must have sounded like the roar of a freight train headed for the road crossing. Imagine what was going through the minds of the other disciples? They were probably whispering to each other, “Did you just hear what Peter said?” or “Oh Peter, you have done it now.” When Jesus spoke to Peter, he wasn’t shaming Peter or trying to disgrace him in front of the others. He was communicating to Peter that “confidence is what you have until you understand the situation.” An enormous lesson was about to take place.

The denial of Jesus, by Peter, took place just as Jesus prophesied it would. Peter was about to experience the public display of his broken soul. As a friend of mine says, “I hate being exhibit A.” Here is the man who had so bravely and repeatedly forsaken everything in following Jesus. He had made errors in his walk with Jesus before, but those errors had never deterred God’s plan for this broken man with a tender heart. Peter’s spirit was willing, but his flesh was weak.

Please note the words of Jesus, “I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. and when you have turned back, strengthen you brothers.” Jesus knew that Peter was going to survive the sin of his denials. He also knew that Peter was going to learn from this experience, and it would strengthen his commitment to fulfill God’s purposes. A purpose is “setting something forward with deliberate intent.” In this example, God was setting Peter forward. He was shaping him for greater purposes that were coming, and they were not that far away. Jesus knew Peter would grieve his actions and that Peter would heal and move forward to be used in a greater way than ever. However, I am sure Peter questioned that. God’s grace was at work in Peter. Grace is defined as “the supernatural influence upon the heart and its reflection seen in the life.”

Jesus was telling Peter, “you are going to survive this,” because I am interceding for you.  Not only are you going to survive this excruciating trial, but you are going to use lessons learned as powerful tools to strengthen your brothers.  It is true that when we respond correctly to God’s sifting process that’s disguised as “trials of all kinds,” Jms.1:2-4. God will use those painful experiences to aid and strengthen others that he will direct across your path. Part of the purpose of trials is to call to attention areas where we need healing and deliverance. It takes courage to address those issues, but God gives the grace to do it and overcome. All for his glory!

We do not know exactly what transpired in Peter’s life right after the denial of Jesus. We do know that he wept. Mk.14:72 Can you imagine the grief he felt?  What we do know is that Jesus’ prayers for Peter worked. We do know that he did return and strengthened his brothers. In order for there to be a return, there must be a departure. Peter withdrew, shrunk back or disappeared, either emotionally or physically. He must have been overwhelmed as disbelief along with his regret and shame set in. The self-talk must have been deafening. “How could you do that to the one you love so much?”

Peter sinned! Yes, he did, and he could not correct it now. Furthermore, he could not control the consequences that were coming his way from that sin. Everyone he had walked with and loved heard the prophecy and witnessed its fulfillment. Imagine his regret. He was a loyal follower of Jesus and yet he was overwhelmed with uncontrollable fear and denied the one he so dearly loved. How could that happen? The answer is not really complicated. It is called sin. Sin tempts and pushes a person to do the unthinkable. Every person is capable of sinning and does. When sin is committed, it impacts and damages other people in the sphere of influence. Sin is sin; it cannot be justified away. The Good News is that Jesus came to forgive sin. That my friend, is man’s only hope. Jesus came to this earth to heal and restore broken people. Here we are, exhibit A.

The Good News is that you will survive the sifting. You will find deliverance, healing and restoration. Your Heavenly Father loves you more than you could ever imagine, and He is holding good things for you and not from you.  

Don’t give up!

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