It is now Holy Week–a time we use to contemplate the last week of Jesus’ life before the crucifixion. I’m not sure why, but a few verses of Scripture have been on my mind. I’m referring to a conversation between Jesus and the disciples, with special emphasis on Simon Peter.
It was the Passover meal. Jesus was explaining the “new covenant,” based on the blood he would soon shed on the cross. The disciples still didn’t get it—they began arguing over which one was the greatest. Jesus told them just how weak they really were:
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
But he replied, “Lord, I am 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.”
Peter refused to believe the Lord’s prediction, but we all know what happened. Jesus loved him in spite of his failures (just as He does with us).
“I have prayed for you”
This is the statement that strikes me. Jesus would soon atone for Peter’s betrayal with His own blood. Three days later He would conquer death itself. But He wanted them to know something else: “I have prayed for you.”
The enemy had asked to “sift” all of the disciples. I don’t pretend to completely understand this, but his request was granted: the disciples all scattered when Jesus was arrested. But the Lord had interceded on their behalf. He fought one last battle on His knees before walking the road to Calvary.
I’m reminded of the importance of intercession—fighting the unseen battle on our knees. How often do we try to do ministry in our own strength? How often do we fail to consult with Him and ask Him for the victory? Paul reminds us of the true nature of the Christian’s battle:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
The battle belongs to You, Dear Lord. Thank you for reminding me of this, and please forgive me for those times I try to win it in my own strength.
*Photo courtesy of CarlBloch.org
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