(Jesus said) "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. ..." (Luke 22:31).
Read Luke 22:31-32.
Already in this meal Jesus has foretold His coming suffering and death, established a new Sacrament to give us His own body and blood in bread and wine, and exposed the betrayer who will set it all into motion. Now He turns to the leader of His disciples, bold and impetuous Peter. His words seem totally at odds with the Peter we meet in the Gospels-confident, strong, impulsive. But Jesus knows.
With deep concern and tender care He speaks Peter's given name twice, "Simon, Simon." Back when this disciple expressed his faith that Jesus was God's Son, the promised Savior, the Lord had given him the name Peter, which means "rock." But this night Peter will be the furthest thing from a rock as he crumbles before servant girls and soldiers.
Confident in his foolish pride, Peter will put himself in great danger. Satan will seek to use that bitter moment of denial to shake Peter with deep guilt and regret in an attempt to crush his faith. Peter's leadership will be severely hampered as he asks how he could possibly remain one of Jesus' chosen apostles.
But Jesus steps in to reassure Peter. "I have prayed for you." The gracious voice of God's Son will overpower the tempter's foul accusation. By Jesus' power, Peter will turn from his denial, and follow his Savior yet again. Then a restored Peter will strengthen his brothers and sisters. As we recall the depth of Peter's fall and see Jesus' gracious restoration, Peter's experience encourages us to leave behind our guilt and regret and boldly trust in Jesus' full and complete forgiveness for all our sins and failings.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You plead for me before Your Father in heaven. Reassure me of Your complete and free forgiveness every time I fall. Amen.
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