Thursday Evening of Easter Week brought the Passover meal and the Lord’s Supper. After the Supper, the pace of events seemed to quicken. It was an evening of feasting, of fellowship, and prayer leading up to Jesus’ betrayal and arrest in the early hours of Friday morning. There is much here in our larger portion of Scripture, but one particular prayer is capturing my heart today. Together, can we look to Jesus’ prayer for Simon Peter?
Thursday, APRIL 9th
Larger Portion of Scripture - Luke 22:7-46
Focused Passage for Reflection - Luke 22:31-34
Reflecting on the Text:
Robert Murray M’Cheyne was a 19th-century Scottish pastor who once said, “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.” Can you relate? I sure can. I can’t imagine the encouragement it would be to hear Jesus’ prayers on my behalf. But then again, shouldn’t the encouragement of the Word do the same? We are told in Scripture that Jesus is now sitting at the right hand of the Father, interceding on behalf of the saints. That’s what we are told. But in Luke 22:31-34 we get a more personal glimpse of His prayer as He prays for Simon Peter.
These few verses offer a glimpse into the spiritual war which is being waged even now. No surprise, Satan is demanding something. But don’t miss in this statement that, demand or no demand, he had to ask. Though I don’t understand the why’s and how’s of spiritual warfare, this passage reminds us that we have an enemy and that the enemy falls under the sovereignty of God.
Again, while not understanding the why’s and how’s, what is encouraging about this passage is the fact that in the midst of the attack, Jesus prayed for Peter. His prayer is a prayer for strength. It is also a prayer of commissioning. Jesus prays that Peter’s faith will not fail. Then, acknowledging there will be a temporal faltering, Jesus prays for Peter’s commissioning when he does turn. He prays that Peter would strengthen his brothers.
Those are the details of the prayer, but what encourages my heart more than the details is the tone. Yes, Jesus will eventually foretell Peter’s denial, but I don’t hear any condescension or condemnation in His voice. I hear a friend caring for His friend…and that friend is about to deny he even knows Him.
We shy away because of our weakness, don’t we? How often, in the wake of our failures, do we try and avoid those whom we have failed? How often do we abandon them altogether, all due to the shame we feel? Jesus knew the failure would come with Peter and He did not heap shame on him for it. At that moment, even on the night when He was to be arrested, this was Jesus’ focus. He simply engaged in the battle for Peter’s heart, by praying for him.
I’ve always read these words with a focus on Peter’s denial. But today, I see Jesus’ compassion. Maybe it’s because I know my own tendency to shy away because of weakness. Maybe it’s because, like M’Cheyne I need the Savior who knows me and prays for me, by name. How about you? Where is your focus in this passage…and why?
Questions for personal reflection:
In a week where we focus on Jesus’ sacrificial death, what encouragement do you find in His intercessory prayer?
How does the reality of a Savior who prays for you encourage you not to shy away because of your weaknesses?