Best of Daily Reflections: Jesus Sees Beyond Your Faults and Failures
“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.”
At the center of today’s passage, we eavesdrop on a conversation between Simon Peter and Jesus. It begins with bad news, namely, that Satan intends to “sift each of you like wheat” (22:31). This metaphor suggests that the disciples of Jesus, including Peter, are about to experience trials and testing. They’re on the verge of hard times that will shake their faith. For Peter, in particular, Jesus has prayed that his faith will not fail (22:32).
Peter boldly claims that he is ready to go to prison with Jesus, even to die with him. Jesus responds with a chilling prediction: “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me” (22:34). Luke does not report Peter’s response, but surely he is distressed, whether he believes Jesus or not.
You may have noticed I skipped over a line in this dialogue. It’s the line that impresses me strongly as I write this reflection. Right after Jesus says that he has prayed for Peter, he adds, “So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers” (22:32). This statement assumes what Jesus reveals a moment later, that Peter will deny him three times. Peter will need to repent, to turn away from his sin and turn back to Jesus. This is something about which Jesus is certain.
Yet this certainty does not keep Jesus from assigning to Peter the task of strengthening his brothers, that is to say, his fellow disciples. Jesus sees beyond Peter’s obvious faults and upcoming failures. He sees that which is good in Peter, his strength, faith, and compassion. He knows that Peter will be the one to build up his fellow disciples, in spite of the fact that Peter himself will fail along the way.
What an encouragement this can be for us! We know our weaknesses. We know how many times we fail to live up to God’s standards. We are broken, sinful people. Yet Jesus sees beyond our faults and failures, much as he did with Peter. Jesus calls us into his service, not because he has an unrealistic picture of us, but because he sees us truly, as people gifted for and called into his ministry.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you ever discount your value in Christ’s work because of your faults and failures? Do you let your shortcomings keep you from serving the Lord in every part of life? If you really trusted Jesus as your Savior, what might you do today as one of his disciples?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I see so much of myself in Peter. He is eager to do what’s right. He wants to be loyal to you. He minimizes his shortcomings. And then he fails to do what he had promised. He falls short in dramatic ways. I am so much like Peter, Lord!
So I thank you for choosing me as one of your disciples. I thank you for seeing beyond my faults and failures. I thank you for forgiving me when I fail, for lifting me up and helping me to press on in your service. Help me, I pray, to serve you faithfully in all that I do, relying on your grace and confident in your love. Amen.