“And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.”
The Lord, Peter, and the other disciples were in the comfort of a quiet Passover time. They had enjoyed a meal, and were enjoying each other’s company. All was warm and comfortable. They were amongst friends. Yet there was a dark shadow over the time. Jesus had said that He would not eat of the Passover again with them until it would be fulfilled in the kingdom. He also spoke of His betrayal and death. Yet, He also spoke of the role the disciples would have in His coming kingdom.
Then, Jesus told Peter in Luke 22:31,32, “…Simon, Simon, behold, satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22:33, above, is what Peter said to Jesus after He had told him this. Peter’s confidence was strong in the comfortable surroundings. But in verse 34 Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him three times. And, by the end of the chapter, that is exactly what happened.
Night came and one of their number betrayed Jesus in the garden. Jesus was arrested and taken away by a mob. Peter followed to the place where Jesus was interrogated by the leaders, and was among the waiting crowd. They huddled around a fire because of the cold. A young woman looked at Peter, and told those around them that he was one of Jesus’ followers. Peter denied it, and so it went. The confidence of the upper room melted away through of a series of difficult events. Everything that Peter thought was secure seemed to fall apart. It was such that a young woman was able to get Peter to forget all of that, and deny Jesus.
Aren’t we the same way? In the comfort of the church meeting, or among fellow believers, we have great confidence and are greatly encouraged in God and His things. But, when the meeting is over and we head back to our homes and we come in contact with the world, our bravado wanes. Someone may question our thinking if we claim to follow Jesus. The looks and sarcastic words may even cause us to wonder if we are thinking rightly. Our courage fades.
Jesus warned His followers that they would be hated by the world, because the world hated Him. In John 15:18,19 Jesus said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” They didn’t treat Jesus very well, and neither will they treat us well.
But, notice what Jesus said to Peter. “…I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not…” Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please (God): for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” The most important thing in life is faith, or trust, in God. It is the way to please Him. Without faith it is impossible to please Him. So, consider what Jesus said He had prayed for Peter. His prayer for Peter was that the thing in his life that pleased God would not fail!
Concerning Jesus, Hebrews 7:25 promises, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Just like Jesus prayed for Peter, He ever lives to make intercession for His people. And what is He praying? Could it be that our faith will not fail? Does He see the trials and traps that lie before us, and pray to His Father that our faith will not fail at those times? In our darkest moments He is praying for us.
Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Peter was not abandoned by the Lord when he denied Him. It certainly was a difficult time for him, and he may never have gotten over it. But Jesus said that He would never leave us nor forsake us. As Betsy Ten Boom said, “There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still.” Though all of Peter’s boldness, stated in the above verse, melted with the words of a young woman, Jesus told him, “…when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Peter’s faith did not fail.
Mindful of our human frailty
Is the God in whom we trust;
He whose years are everlasting,
He remembers we are dust.
Man is like the tender flower,
And his days are like the grass,
Withered where it lately flourished
By the blighting winds that pass.
Changeless is Jehovah’s mercy
Unto those who fear His name,
From eternity abiding
To eternity the same.
All the faithful to His covenant
Shall behold His righteousness;
He will be their strength and refuge
And their children’s children bless. (Isaac B. Woodbury)