Are You Struggling With Falling Short?
Do you feel like you’re not good enough? Have you done a lot of awful things over the years, and feel like you can’t be redeemed from them? Has shame weighed you down?
A man named Peter was incredibly passionate for Jesus. He wanted to do anything he possibly could to show his devotion to Christ. He walked on water towards Him, trusting by faith that Jesus would help him. He was the first to testify that Jesus is the Son of God. He tried to defend Jesus at His arrest by cutting off a soldier’s ear. This man would do anything he could for Jesus Christ. But even Peter sinned and fell short, “of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) multiple times!
The time was approaching for Jesus’s trial and crucifixion. He had been warning His disciples there would come a day when He would choose to die for the sins of the world, yet they didn’t understand the full ramifications of what that meant. They thought Jesus was going to be the next king of Israel; He had raised others from the dead, so He couldn’t possibly die!
The disciples and Jesus sat down to eat the Passover meal together. During the feast, Jesus again prophesied His coming suffering and crucifixion. And again, the disciples ignored the severity of His words and broke out in competition of who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. While discussing this, Jesus warned Peter (who was previously named Simon),
“‘Simon, Simon, look out. Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’
‘Lord,’ he told him, ‘I’m ready to go with you both to prison and to death.’
‘I tell you, Peter,’ he said, ‘the rooster will not crow today until you deny three times that you know me.’” Luke 22:31-34
You can hear Peter’s zeal for Jesus by proclaiming that he would die for Him if it was necessary. Look again though at Jesus’ warning to Peter. What do you notice?
There are three things I specifically want to point out that are key in displaying God’s care and grace here:
- Jesus interceded for Peter
He knew Satan had requested to challenge Peter’s faith greatly. So, He had already been praying for Peter’s faith to be strengthened. You will find in the book of Hebrews, that Jesus continues to intercede on your behalf to the Father. (Hebrews 5:7-10, 7:24-25)
- Jesus Warned Peter of the Result
Jesus gave Peter a fair warning that he was going to fail against Satan’s attack, “And you, when you have turned back…” This is clear that Peter would run from Him when the pressure got too hard. That would be extremely difficult to hear; especially for one as passionate as Peter.
When Peter resisted the news that he would reject Christ, Jesus told him exactly how he would do it; Peter would deny Jesus three times.
- Jesus Commissioned Peter Forward
After His warning, Jesus told Peter to strengthen his brothers once he returned to Christ. This is where the grace of God really shows. He cares for Peter by saying He was praying for him. Then He gives grace to him without lecture or judgement in letting Peter know that he was going to turn from Jesus. He remained calm and gentle in His words, but used the emphasis of saying Simon’s name twice to share the importance of the situation. Then, He continues to show His grace and care for Peter when he commissioned him to strengthen his brothers when he returned to Jesus.
Do you know that Jesus is praying for you, and interceding to the Father on your behalf?
Do you know that He warns you of areas you might fall into sin? And how to get out of it again?
Have you seen where God has extended care and grace in your life?
Has He given you directions of what you’re supposed to do in this season? Have you followed through with it? Why or why not?
The beautiful thing about what Jesus did with His death and resurrection, offering gracious healing to you, means that you are set free. If you believe in the powerful work of Jesus, you have received redemption from every sin you have committed and will ever commit going forward. There needs to be no shame, no feeling like you’re not good enough; like you’re too broken for Him to heal you. Those are straight up lies from the enemy.
Yes, you need to confess and repent. You need to surrender your life down. But the beautiful healing and peace that comes from that will outweigh ANYTHING else. Jesus cleansed you from your sin by His blood. You’ve been set free, made a citizen of heaven, and a co-heir with Jesus Christ. Remember who you are and live a life worthy of the gospel, knowing that you’re going to make mistakes. In God’s love for you, He has made you whole. Thank Him for the life you now live in Him.
We’ll explore more of Peter’s story next week.