Putting God's Word into Practice…

Luke 22:31-34;54-62 Directions to Denial

on November 5, 2014

(Jesus said to Peter) “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.”

Satan has a lot of guts to make demands of God. But because God knows that trials and temptations strengthen our faith, He allowed Satan to steam roll Peter.

Peter had a lot of pride that needed to be humbled before God could use him the way He wanted to–as a preacher and leader of the first church. Peter was over-confident in his commitment to Jesus.  His response to Jesus’ proclamation and prayer was, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” To which Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.” Jesus knew that Peter’s faith would be tested and that it would falter.  He also knew that Peter would be restored and that his experience would make him even more useful to the church.

So how did Peter move from confidence to denial?

  1. Forgetting.  Peter forgot the words and warnings of Christ.
  2. Following at a distance.  In verse 54, it says that Jesus was led away and “Peter was following at a distance.”  Our boldness and strength are found in the presence of Jesus.  When we keep Him at a distance, we will falter.
  3. Fitting in.  Peter sat down among the antagonists and got comfortable with them around the fire.
  4. Fear of man.  He lost his confidence when the fear of man took control of his tongue.

Thankfully the story doesn’t end there.  Jesus revealed Himself to Peter personally and Peter moved from denial to humility.  And the Lord turned and looked at Peter.  And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord…and he went out and wept bitterly.  No more forgetting; no more distance; no more fitting in; no more fear.  Now the chaff was being separated from the valuable seeds of Peter’s faith.  Seeds that can be planted and grow a harvest.  The sifting of Satan served to strengthen Peter and sanctioned him to strengthen others.

God is all-powerful and can use anything for His purposes–even our failures are redeemed in His hands!


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