This week we are continuing to look at the day before Jesus was crucified. Earlier we read Jesus’ warning to Peter in Luke 22:31-32: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” Jesus knew that Peter was going to fall, but he also knew that Peter would repent and be restored.
Think about what it must have been like to be Peter that night. The incredible fear and unbelief that these events were happening must have been overwhelming. The disciples feared for their own lives, and why wouldn’t they? They had every reason to believe that they would be rounded up and killed along with their Master. That fear was so pervasive that even though Peter was trying to stay close to see what was happening to Jesus, he denied three times that he even knew Him. After the third denial, the eyes of Jesus and Peter met and they both knew what had happened. Peter leaves, weeping bitterly.
Have you ever had a situation where you were convinced how you would respond, but when it actually occurred, your response was much different? I have, and I know some of the shame that Peter must have felt that night.
God desires to use every situation in our lives, every obstacle that we face, every success as well as every failure, to mold us and to make us more like Jesus. Whether that actually happens is up to us. Jesus knew that Peter would repent and that he would be used to strengthen the other believers. Earlier in scripture, Jesus even begins to call him Peter as opposed to his given name of Simon, telling him that he would be so very instrumental in the building of the church (see Matthew 16:18). Peter’s fall was not a surprise to Jesus. He knew it would happen even back then.
Peter is one of the characters of the Bible that I gain so much hope from. It’s easy for me to believe that my shortcomings and times of failure preclude me from having influence in God’s kingdom. But Peter’s story gives me a much different picture. It tells me that there is always room for repentance and restoration. ALWAYS. But the choice is mine.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach