Our devotion today is from Luke Chapter 22 beginning with verse 31 and Jesus has here been speaking to his disciples. This is the night before he goes and gets arrested in the garden of Gethsemane and then will die on the cross the next day. He’s talking to Peter, he says:
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you all as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have returned to me, strengthen your brothers.” But he replied, “Lord I’m ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I tell you Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
This famous story about Simon Peter is an interesting one. He’s an interesting character, one of Jesus disciples. Peter was the type to kind of shut off his mouth and say things quickly without thinking too much. Peter is a very interesting figure here. He’s saying to Jesus I would even be willing to go and die with you or even go to prison for you. But we know later in the story that after Jesus is arrested Peter denies that he knows Jesus and wants nothing to do with him. He even calls down a curse from God on himself to try to make it sound like he has nothing to do with Jesus.
So Jesus words in his little prophecy here about Peter certainly come true, that before the rooster would crow in the morning he would deny Jesus three times that he knew him. And at the same time we know that after Jesus dies and rises from the dead he comes back and seeks out Peter specifically and asks him three questions. And he says “Do you love me?” And he very directly talks to Peter.
Sometimes our sins cause us to feel like Peter did when he denied Christ, we’re told in another text that he went outside and wept bitterly. Sometimes our sins against God can make us feel very sad and sometimes afraid of God as well. But God because of the work of Christ comes to us through His word through his sacrament and he says to us “I still love you and I forgive you.” He looks us right in the eye just as Jesus did to Peter after his resurrection. But not only that notice what Jesus says here.
“He says when you have returned Peter strengthen your brothers.”
God may even take us after he has forgiven us for some great sins and turn it around and use us for the benefit of his kingdom for the benefit of helping others in their faith in Christ as well.
So don’t be surprised if after you come to know and learn of the wonderful grace of God in Christ and even if you have fallen into a horrible sin come to see that Christ can forgive you and don’t be surprised if he turns around and uses you in his kingdom to talk to somebody else and to bring that same wonderful gospel to them as well. Amen.