Over this past week I cannot get this passage of Scripture out of my head. Everyday I feel the Lord bringing it back up to me, so I’d like to share it with you and give you my personal commentary on it! It is a simple portion of Scripture from Luke 22:31,32 (NLT); “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
I just love this. Let me share some personal thoughts I have from this passage;
Satan hated Simon and wanted nothing less for him than painful destruction. He wanted to sift him like wheat, to pull every place of his life apart. Jesus was not surprised but felt it urgent to let Peter know that satan was coming for him, so that Simon would not be surprised when it happened. Jesus let him know that He had ‘pleaded’ in prayer for him. He knew that Peter’s faith was about to be challenged. But then look at this next part;
“…So when you have repented and turned to me again”
Jesus not only told Peter that satan was coming after him and that his faith was about to be challenged, but he alluded to the fact that Simon was going to hit rock bottom. He was going to…FAIL. Now pay attention, Jesus KNEW satan was coming for Simon, Jesus KNEW that Simon’s faith would be challenged, Jesus KNEW that Simon would fall away, BUT, He also KNEW that Simon was going to come back!
Listen to me; Jesus, before Simon even backslid, saw FURTHER into the future and KNEW that Simon was going to do two things; Repent and Return! Jesus did not have instructions for Simon in his backslidden state. Simon obviously knew what he would need to do; Repent and Return. What other instructions are necessary in that state? How many times have we lived with overwhelming guilt, shame and condemnation over our failures? What does it produce? MORE guilt, shame and condemnation! Want to break that cycle of emotions and reality? Repent and Return. But Jesus did have instructions for Simon AFTER he repented and returned;
“…So when you have repented and turned to me again, STRENGTHEN YOUR BROTHERS.”
There it is. Who better to strengthen those who are weak, than one who understands what it feels like to fail, to miss the mark, to have mud on his face. There is something powerful about someone who knew the disappointment and heartache of letting Jesus down, and yet finding a way back into His arms. Some of you are in that place right now, you have fallen away and you cannot seem to overcome the pain of your failure and disappointment. You need to know that He is waiting for you right now, and He has a future with your name on it.
If Simon could talk to some of you today, what do you think he would say? I think I have an idea. Perhaps it would sound something like this;
“I might not know the extent of what you have done, but I know how you feel. I know the depth of pain that your failure has caused you and your loved ones. I know you feel like it is all over and that there is nothing left for you, no more hope, no more dreams. Your future is over. But let me tell you something, I have been exactly where you are at. I walked in fellowship with Him everyday. I experienced His presence and have numerous testimonies with my own eyes. And yes, I failed Him. I denied Him. I said I did not even know Him, and I even cursed Him. I know the bitterness of pain you feel from your failure, and I want you to know that the story does not have to end here. There is work for you to do. Get up from your hole in the ground. Wash the mud off of your face and your hands. He is not fixed on your failure, He is fixed on your future. The only problem is that you cannot enter into His future for you until you deal with your failure. How do you deal with your failure? Repent. Return. He is waiting with arms wide open. Now hurry and do what you need to do, because there are brothers and sisters out there who need to be strengthened.”