“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”
Talk about epic failure. Not only was Peter not willing to go to prison or to death for Jesus, like he promised, but he flat out denied even knowing Jesus. Can you relate to Peter’s boldness turned to cowardice? I can.
We can take two encouragements from this text. The first: Jesus is praying for our faith. He is constantly pleading before God on our behalf as a sympathetic high priest (Hebrews 4:14-16) and if that is true, who could possibly condemn us? (Romans 8:33-34)
The second encouragement is that Jesus knows we will fail. Immediately after telling Peter that he has prayed for his faith he explains what to do after he does fail. “Turn again, strengthen your brothers. He told him how to proceed after his failure — before Peter even knew that he would fail.
Peter’s failure isn’t unexpected. Neither is ours. Our failures don’t catch God by surprise. Best of all, it doesn’t disqualify us from the ministry of strengthening others around us to avoid the same failures. God is a God of redemption and He is pleased to use our failures in a redeeming way.