Seeing Our Weaknesses
“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.” But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Luke 22:31-33
Jesus loved Peter (formerly called Simon), even when he did foolish things. Peter often acted impulsively and sometimes very wrongly.
Peter loved Jesus and didn’t want Him to die. He was willing to do whatever he could to prevent others from killing Jesus. When the chief priests, Pharisees, and officers of the temple guard came to arrest Jesus, his followers saw what was going to happen and asked, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” (Luke 22:49)
Peter didn’t wait for an answer. He boldly drew his sword and struck Malchus, the High Priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this!” He touched the man’s ear and healed him (John 18:10 and Luke 22:50-51).
After Jesus was arrested and taken away, Peter followed at a distance. He was losing his courage. When faced with his own arrest in the temple courtyard, he weakened. Fear replaced zeal and Peter denied he knew Jesus. Three times (Luke 22:54-61).
But Jesus is never surprised by our weaknesses. He had predicted Peter’s three denials (22:34). After Peter’s third denial, Jesus turned and looked at Peter (Luke 22:61). Was his look full of compassion? Forgiveness? Love? It was not full of condemnation. Jesus had prayed for Peter, saying, “When [not if] you’ve turned back, strengthen your brothers” (22:32, emphasis added).
Peter hadn’t seen his weakness even when Jesus warned him about it at the Last Supper. Jesus had said to Peter, “Satan has asked to sift you as wheat” (Luke 22:31). The word “you” is plural. Satan wants to sift all Jesus’ disciples. But Jesus prayed for Simon Peter. He prays for us too. The writer of Hebrews tells us, “but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (7:24-25).
Have you experienced Satan’s sifting and succumbed to weakness? Have you acted impulsively and done foolish things? Jesus is praying right now that your faith won’t fail. Turn back. Jesus loves you. Trust Him.
Read Psalm 19:12-13. What are the two types of sin David asks God to forgive? Do you see both types in your life? According to the psalm, how can you be blameless?
Read 2 Corinthians 12:8-10. Why did Paul say he could boast and delight in his weaknesses? Do you have a weakness that causes you to sin? How often have you prayed about it? How can you boast and delight in this weakness rather than feel frustrated?
To read more about Jesus restoring Peter after his denial, see Forgiveness in Dig into Easter.