" And the Lord said; ' Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
But I have prayed for thee: that thy faith fail not: and when thou are converted, strengthen thy brethren. '
And he said unto Him, ' Lord, I am ready to go with Thee, both into prison, and to death.'
And he said, ' I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall
not crow this day that thou shalt thrice deny
that thou knowest Me. ' "
( Mark 22:31 - 24 punctuation and capitals added )
The devil came to Jesus and asked for permission to turn the heat onto Peter. Jesus allowed it, but He prepared for Peter's failure! How did He prpare for it?
1. He prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail.
" But I have prayed for thee: that thy faith fail not. "
2. He opened the door for Peter's restoration.
" When thou are converted, strengthen thy brethren. "
Notice Jesus used the word brethren. We see from his use of this word, that Jesus was telling Peter that when he was restored to right relationship with Him, to strengthen his brothers in the Lord. If He had simply been talking Peter's immediate family, He would have said; " strengthen your brothers. "
Why did Jesus, knowing that Peter would deny that he knew Him out of fear, not once but three times, allow Peter to go through this?
1. He trusted Peter and knew that he loved Him enough that he would come back to him with a repentant heart.
2. He had plans for Peter that He knew he could handle.
Doing Something You Never Thought You'd Do:
Just as Jesus predicted, the day came. Jesus was arrested and Peter got into fear by the campfire as we find in Luke 22:54 – 62:
" Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest's house.
And Peter followed afar off.
And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.
But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire and earnestly looked upon him,
and said, This man was also with him.
And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.
And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them.
And Peter said, Man, I am not.
And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean.
And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice.
And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. "
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? You love God with all your heart, soul and being, but find yourself doing something that you knew hurt Him? I once found myself in that position, having been saved but away from God, cursing God and enjoying it. As you have read, I thought it was " cool " to take the Lord's Name in vain as many people, including some " Christians " do. But even when I was running from God, He did not leave me. He even saved my life on a few occasions even though I wanted nothing to do with Him at the time. And when I came to my senses and asked God to forgive me for turning my back on Him, He was there with open arms to welcome me back into relationship with Him.