The text reads: Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift 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.
Right off the bat, if I’m Simon Peter, I’d sure have preferred Jesus to have said, “Satan has asked… but I said NO!”
Peter confidently asserted that he was ready to go to prison, or if necessary to death, with Jesus. I believe that he was sincere when he said it. But he was unfamiliar with the instability of his own heart. Jesus–as God–knew Peter, as he knows each of us.
Don’t miss the tremendous love and care Jesus demonstrates for Simon Peter. He knew what would transpire in just a few short hours. He knew how overwhelming it would be for his followers, and particularly for Peter. He knew that the enemy of God would do everything he could to shipwreck this Christ follower. Jesus prayed for him, specifically that his faith would not ultimately fail.
Jesus wanted Simon Peter to know that in his moment of great personal struggle–Jesus was praying for him.
More than that, Jesus lovingly gave Peter a glimpse of the bigger picture. And when you have turned back… Do you see the beauty and love in those words? Simon Peter, your faith will fail. But not ultimately. Be comforted. There’s a bigger picture–and it involves the good that God will bring forth from this most difficult experience.
We all will face moments of great trial and tribulation as we follow Christ. There will be times when we are so utterly confused that we can’t see Jesus for all the smoke. There will be times when we hear a voice in our soul asking, “Where is your God?” There will be times when we cannot make sense of it. Our faith may indeed seem to fail us–but not ultimately. He keeps us. And in time, He will bring forth fruit–we’ll be able to strengthen our brothers and sisters with our testimony.