31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” 33 But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” 34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
Here, Peter seems very positive that he will not fall away and he repeatedly claims to love Jesus. But Jesus knew that Peter will fail Him.
A doubt may arise:
Why did Jesus allow Peter to be sifted in the hands of Satan?
Jesus himself gives an answer to this by telling Peter, “when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren“. Jesus knew that Peter will fail in the test but He would have allowed him to be tested so that on returning Peter may strengthen his brothers. Mostly, Only a person who has experienced a fall can help a brother who is falling away! Also Peter may be having experiences of the love of God more intensely after this incident.
At times, in life, we also fall away from the love of Jesus. Just like Peter we claim to love Jesus more than everything , but ironically at many circumstances the opposite takes place. When Jesus was arrested by the Roman soldiers, Peter being a good companion kept following Jesus. But near the kindled fire, he denied even knowing Jesus. As Peter stopped to relieve himself in the cold night and enjoyed the heat from the fire, he denied knowing Jesus. We also claim to be good apostles of Jesus and we try to follow his footsteps, but so often as we stop to relieve ourselves, our feet may slip. But remember those falls are not to cast you away forever. We have to learn from our mistakes and help others.
In the later chapters we read that as soon as Peter realized his mistake, “he went out and wept bitterly.” Peter did make a mistake in His life but he as he realizes it, his conscience pricks him and he corrects the mistake.
We all make mistakes in life, but God doesn’t expect us to be dipped in sin always. He wants us to realize our mistake and correct them. Tomorrow, we may be strengthening a brother who is falling away! Every fall is not for ruin, some lessons will help us to love God more and share His love. But that is not a license to continue in sin! On realizing our sin, we have to confess it and make the necessary corrections.
On returning we have a commission set before us. Whatever be our status, God can use us, if we commit ourselves to His love…
May God help you…