On our journey with God, we travel in a paradox of strengths and vulnerabilities. We have New Man perceptions and mindsets that are growing stronger and old patterns of thinking that are being renewed. And sometimes, they collide in ways that we didn’t see coming.
On the days we hope to rise to the occasion, but instead revert to old habits of self-preservation, what is Jesus doing?
Such a collision of old and new occurred on what we now call “Good Friday.” As Jesus and the disciples are walking to Gethsemane, Jesus turns and says to Peter in Luke 22:31-34,
“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
But Peter is astonished. He doesn’t think Jesus is wrong about much, but he’s certain that He’s missed it this time, so Peter assures him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
Jesus doesn’t respond to this. He simply continues, letting Peter know that before daybreak, he will deny his Friend, not once, but three times.
We’ve all been there. So certain of our commitment and strength—only to discover that we haven’t yet fully become who we hoped to be. We create our own internal courtroom of condemnation, but don’t expect to find Jesus there…
…because He’s too busy praying for your faith and your future.
Notice that Jesus didn’t lecture Peter on how he should have listened closer to the Sermon on the Mount or tell him how to prevent the denial from happening.
Instead, Jesus let Peter know He had prayed for him – and then He anchored him to the good outcome that was already His reality.
The Lord doesn’t dwell on Peter’s impending failure, because He’s got that covered. He wants his friend to know He’s not alone. He’s already prayed for Peter and that for Him, it’s not a matter of “if” Peter returns, but “when.”
Luke 22:61 says that as Jesus was being led between His trials later that night, bloody and beaten… and as Peter was loudly denying any association with his Friend, Jesus turned and looked at him.
What was in that look? It couldn’t be disappointment or distress because Jesus knew it was coming.
I think Jesus looked at Peter with absolute love.
Why do I think that? Because Peter was immediately repentant—and it is the goodness of God that leads to turn and go a different way (Romans 2:4).
When we feel that we’ve blown it so bad that there is no future… it’s not true.
Romans 8:34 says, Jesus is praying for you too. He’s already covered that failure, so He’s not praying about that. He’s praying that you’ll have faith in His unchanging love and that you’ll see your good future that is already His reality.
So when you discover that your new life in Christ has some upgrades needed, stop… and ask, “What have You prayed for me Jesus? And what is the good future You see?”
And one day, someone will come to you—as they surely did with Peter over the years— to share how badly they’ve blown it. And you’ll put your arm around them and say, “Let me tell you a story about the goodness of God…”
– Allison Bown