“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 art 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, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.” Luke 22:31-34
Don’t you just love and admire the boldness of Peter in this passage? He was ready to fight and die for Jesus, he even drew his sword and cut a mans ear off when soldiers came to arrest Jesus. But soon thereafter we see a very different man; Peter following from a distance, warming himself at the fire of the enemy, and denying that he ever knew Jesus. What caused Peter to sink so low? I believe it was out of weakness and fear. You may recall in the garden that Peter fell asleep when Jesus asked him to pray. He was weak and tired from a long, busy week. He failed to do the one thing that would have given him strength – pray. But Peter learned his lesson about being watchful, and he exhorts us in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” The second reason for his denials was fear. He saw Jesus being arrested, falsely accused, and even beaten. No doubt he feared for his own safety and life. He was not prepared for the hatred, ridicule, and persecution that Jesus was about to endure. Peter may have been more prepared for this and less fearful had he listened more intently as Jesus spoke about would what soon take place. Why would God allow Satan access to Peter and let him fail so miserably? God was preparing the man for greater things. Peter, the fisherman, a common man with a common name became Simon “the rock.” He goes on to become one of the pillars of the church throughout the remainder of the New Testament. Jesus told him to “strengthen thy brethren” after the ordeal was over. Peter is still strengthening us today as we read his epistles. God allows many trials and adverse circumstances to come into our lives. We can succumb to our circumstances or, like Peter, learn our lesson and go forth to boldly serve our Savior! Pray when you are weak. When fear grips you and causes you to stumble, pray for forgiveness, dig into God’s Word, learn from it, and be bolder for Christ as a result of it!