“And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat—but I have prayed for you, that your faith fails not. And when you are converted, strengthen your brethren’. . .And Peter said, ‘Man, I know not what you say.’ And, immediately the cock crew. And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter. And, Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said unto him, ‘Before the cock crows, you shall deny Me thrice.’ And, Peter went out and wept bitterly.”
Luke 22:31-32, 60-62
He knows. He always knows. But, through His Grace and Mercy He brings us back to Himself, cleansing us from guilt and sending us forth in service.
“But I have prayed for you.”
This is a past-tense prayer for a future event. It was no accident that Jesus used Peter’s birth name (“Simon, Simon”) in this conversation instead of “Rocky,” for our Manna reveals he was still more shifting sand in his faith than solid-Rock at that point.
We pride ourselves on knowing who we are (we think); yet, soon we discover “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). Such was a painful lesson for Peter in those early morning hours as he warmed his hands around the fire outside the high priest’s house (vv.54-55). Three different times he’d deny knowing Christ—and, just as Jesus had predicted, the rooster crowed as his third denial rolled off his lips.
“And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter.”
Only Luke’s Gospel records these piercing words; but, oh how important for us to know that Peter knew that the Lord knew.
Nothing is hidden from His all-seeing Eye, Pilgrim. Nothing.
Yet, the same Grace that Noah found in God’s Eye that day (Gen. 6:8) is the same Grace would later transform Peter from a cowardly follower into the bold preacher of Pentecost.
Jesus’ words in the upper room about his upcoming denial were what Peter heard as he “went out and wept bitterly” that night. During those hours Jesus’ body was in the tomb, Simon’s conscience accused him and his memories of the rooster crowing and Jesus’ look haunted him.
That’s why he went fishing after Jesus appeared to them in the closed room after His Resurrection (Jn. 20:19-23; 21:1-3).
He was guilt-ridden. And, no doubt he couldn’t stand looking into Jesus’ eyes when He appeared in the room and later during their early-morning breakfast on the seashore (Jn. 21:4-14).
Yet, that morning when Jesus’ three-times-asked, pointed questions of “Do you love Me?” pierced his heart (Jn. 21:15-27), it was His commissioning words of “Feed My lambs/sheep” that reminded Him of the Master’s words in the upper room that night before Jesus’ crucifixion (“strengthen your brethren”).
Oh, dear Pilgrim, aren’t you glad our omniscient Savior “looks beyond our sins and sees our needs”? Aren’t You glad it’s “by His Mercies we’re not consumed” (Lam. 3:21-23)? And, aren’t you glad He’s praying for you right now (Heb. 7:24-25) and can still use you?
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated April 2, 2010