Even in Betrayal
Even in Betrayal
Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.
Jesus spoke the above words to Peter, knowing that just hours later Peter would betray Him, denying he ever knew Jesus. Jesus looked into the eyes of his betrayer, his friend, and told him He had prayed for him. Peter was one of the three – Peter, James, and John – who were in Jesus’ inner circle. The ones who Jesus chose to accompany Him for the Transfiguration and the healing of Jairus’ daughter. The ones He chose to stay with him the night he was arrested, knowing knew their mere presence would provide comfort as He prayed. They were His best friends. And Jesus looked into the eyes of his best friend Peter and knew he would soon disown him. Can you imagine?
Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail so that he could strengthen His brothers. Why this particular prayer? I think it’s because Jesus knew Peter needed to confront the ugliness of pride within his heart. Just hours before disowning Jesus, Peter declared, “Even though all may fall away, yet I will not.” (Mark 14:29) He alleged he would never have the capability of betrayal. Peter believed in Peter’s strength.
Jesus, thank you for taking on human form. You understand our frailty and how easy it is to turn away and live out of our own strength. The reality is: we need you desperately! Thank you for your patience. Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for using us despite our weakness and sin. Forgive us when we walk away from you. We love you.
Jesus needed him to believe in Jesus’ strength. Confronting his sin and arrogance, enduring the pain of knowing he betrayed his best friend, and accepting the forgiveness of His Savior – it revolutionized Peter’s life. After Jesus’ death, Peter became one of His most loyal followers – boldly preaching the gospel and laying his life down to establish the early church. Early tradition reports that Peter was sentenced to die by crucifixion but asked to be hung upside down, declaring himself unworthy of being crucified in the same manner as His best friend.
Have you felt the sting of rejection? The hurt of betrayal? Grief over a lost relationship? Take comfort in this: Jesus felt it too. He knows, He sees, He understands, He loves.
Have you been the betrayer? The one who walked away, rejected, disowned? Take comfort in this: Jesus forgives you. Jesus prays for you. Jesus wants to walk with you as you confront your sin. He will look in your eyes and love you through it all, because that’s who He is. Whatever pain you are enduring, allow it to strengthen you and lead you closer to the One who knows, the One who sees, the One who understands, the One who loves.
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