7732 - Simon

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In our last few studies together we have discussed several different scenes, which occurred in the upper room as the apostles enjoyed their last evening with Jesus before his arrest.

Today let’s listen to an exchange between Simon Peter and Jesus. Listen to Luke 22:31-34.

"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."

Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."

Simon Peter was introduced to Jesus by his brother Andrew. This was shortly after John the Baptist had proclaimed to the crowd of people who had come to hear his teaching, that Jesus was the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world; the very Son of God.

A small group of fishermen had come to the Jordan valley to hear John the Baptist. Andrew and John first got acquainted with Jesus, and they got excited. Listen to John 1:41-42: “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘we have found the Messiah’. Then he brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas (which, when translated, is Peter)’”

These three: Andrew, John and Peter, along with Philip and Nathaniel became the first disciples of Jesus, in those days, there beside the Jordan where John the Baptist was ministering.

Time had passed and impetuous Simon Peter had become a strong believer in Jesus and a leader among the twelve. Simon Peter was the first apostle to openly announce his belief that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ.

Here, on this night, Jesus gave a divine insight to Simon by telling him that Satan, the devil, was asking the Lord for permission to test and sift Peter’s faith.

Here we have affirmation of the spiritual warfare in which every child of God is engaged. The devil is always seeking to rob us of our peace, and to destroy our testimony; but he must go through the God of Heaven before touching any of God’s children (Job 1:8-12; 2:3-6; 1 Jn. 5:18; 1 Cor. 10:13; James 4:7). Just because Peter had come to a strong belief that Jesus was the Messiah did not mean he had come to the position where he could not be tested.

Notice the precious truth that Jesus had prayed for Peter. You know, he has prayed for you and for me also. In John 17 as Jesus prayed he said (v20): “I pray also for those who will believe in me...” Thus, he was praying for believers in the future. We are also told that the Holy Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will (Rom. 8:27).

So friend, God will permit Satan to test each of us to prove the depth and genuineness of our faith. But God is overseeing the testing to make sure we are able to stand.

Consider this, the greater the testing which God permits shows the strength of his confidence in our faith. Wasn’t that true in Job’s life? God knew that Job would not fail.

Now, don’t become self-confident. The power is all God’s, and our trust in Him is what allows Him to work His wonderful work of power in and through our lives.

Satan is the looser. He has never won a combat with God. But he never gives up either. That’s why we must remain in our abiding relationship with Jesus. In our own strength we will fail miserably.

In this scene between Peter and Jesus, we see the confidence Jesus had in Peter. He said, “when” you turn back. Peter would recover, and he gave Peter an assignment: when you turn back strengthen the brothers.

In this scene we also see the deception of self-confidence. Peter states that he was ready for battle, even to the death. Yet in a few hours, when the trial came, Peter’s strength crumbled. We will look at that scene later in our studies.