In our Christian culture, we often believe what is being taught from the Bible without question or seek the Lord for an understanding of what is being taught, which sometimes causes us to go down a path that God didn’t intend for us to travel. As the Bible tells us do not believe every spirit but we should test every spirit to see whether if it is of God, 1 John 4:1. As you read what I am about to share with you, my prayer is that you do more than just merely read but also ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to you.
In a conversation before He was crucified Jesus spoke to Simon, Peter, saying “Simon, Simon! Indeed Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren. 33But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” 34Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” Luke 22:31-34NKJV
Most times when we hear a message from this passage of Scripture the focus is on Satan’s desire to sift Simon as wheat, and the emphasis is placed on Peter’s denying Jesus, but I believe that wasn’t the point of this conversation Jesus was having with Peter.
In this passage, Jesus’ emphasis was not on Satan’s desire or Peter denying Him; the emphasis was on Peter’s faith and ministry.
There are a few principles that we can glean from this passage. The first principle is that “prayer strengthens faith.” Jesus told Peter, though Satan asked for you that he may sift you as wheat, “I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail you, and when you return to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
Jesus reassured Simon (Peter) that in spite what Satan desire was, his faith is what will bring him back to Jesus. It didn’t matter what Satan wanted to do to him. It didn’t matter what Peter was about to say or do, it was about his “faith.” It was about his confidence in knowing who Jesus was and his love for Him. Regardless of what he was about to experience, his survival was dependent upon the strength of his faith.
Secondly, Jesus told Peter, “When you return to me strengthen your brethren.” Peter’s responsibility after his experience was to strengthen those around him. It was his duty to share with others how his faith in Jesus brought him through his experience. Through his life experiences, Peter experienced the grace of God.
Thirdly, Jesus taught Peter that He cannot rely on his own strength. Peter had the best of intentions when he told Jesus, “Lord, I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death. His best of intention was not the source of Peter’s strength.
It was from these principles that Peter’s ministry was established by Jesus. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to Peter by the sea three times He asked Peter, “Do you love me,” Peter responded, “Lord, You know I do.” Jesus told him “Feed my sheep.” John 21:15-17NKJV
Peter, himself warns us of the desire of Satan toward us as believers, in 1 Peter 5:8-9(NKJV) he warns us; “Be sober, be vigilant, because the adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9Resist him, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by the brotherhood in the world.”
With this knowledge and experience, Peter also prayed for his fellow brethren as Jesus prayed for him, “But may the God of all grace who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” 1Peter 5:10
How do we make the word of God applicable to our lives today?
As Jesus said to Peter when you return to me strengthen your brethren; even so, He requires us to do the same. There is no doubt that as believers we will suffer in this world, but how we deal with it will establish if we are capable to strengthen our brethren. We can either depend on our own strength or turn to the God of our faith for strength. If our faith is strong in Him, we will not fail. Revelation 12:11(CJB) tells us, “They (believers) defeated him (Satan) by the Lamb’s blood and because of the message of their witness. Even when facing death they did not cling to life.”
Let us not be selfish in our witness of God’s grace and love towards us. What are the lessons you have learned from your life’s experiences which you know without a doubt if it had not been for your faith in God and His grace you would have not made it through? Bear in mind you are not the only one who is suffering or has suffered in this world. Your brothers and sisters need to know that God is as faithful today as He was in the life of Peter and all those who chose to follow Him.
Will you strengthen your brethren today?