“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Travel back with me 2000 years ago to the Thursday night before Jesus’ crucifixion. We’re going to walk where Jesus and his disciples walked and listen in on their conversations.
We are especially interested in the fisherman named Simon ~ renamed Peter by His Lord and Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s failure as recorded in Luke.
We’ll look at:
3 predictions of denial and 3 rebuttals by an overconfident disciple
3 calls to prayer and 3 corresponding naps
3 declarations: I do not know the man.
But through it all ~ ONE EXTRAORDINARY Savior.
As we travel from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane to the Courtyard where Peter fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy, we’ll look at the ordinary failures and the extraordinary Savior. We’ll end on the shore of the Sea of Galilee as we witness Jesus restore Peter and recommission him to follow forward.
As we travel these roads, we’ll talk about what Jesus’ extraordinary gifts to Peter mean for us and draw parallels between the ordinary disciple from 2,000 years ago and you and me as the ordinary followers in the 21st century.
It’s a message of hope and grace and a call to recommit and follow forward.
This is part one of a 3-part series based on messages I delivered at a women’s conference. The theme was “Forward: What happens when ordinary women follow an extraordinary God.”
Message: Lay it Down
Outline | Notes
Setting 1: The Upper Room (Extraordinary Hope)
Selected Notes (Luke 22):
Jesus told Peter (in advance of his failure) it’s NEVER too late to return.
When the post-sifted Peter emerged from the trial, he was more prepared to take on the role in building Jesus’ church that Jesus had promised him.
If Satan wants to get to God’s disciples, he must go through God. Satan may have been the demander, but God was the “allow-er” and If God allows it, it’s because He’s going to use it. It was going to backfire on the enemy.
The imagery here is sifting — a separation. Satan has a sieve. He wants to use it to separate the believer from his faith. But God says, “I’ll see your sieve and raise you one. We can use YOUR sieve but for MY purposes.”
Setting 2: Garden of Gethsemane (Extraordinary Will)
Selected Notes (Matt. 26):
There’s a difference between “willing” and “will.” We can be willing and not do God’s will. As believers, our willing spirits are still incarcerated in a weak flesh. Jesus displayed a willingness to follow God’s perfect will even though his flesh was weakened.
People in your life may be willing to support you, willing to comfort you, willing to defend you, and willing to stay with you. But their will ~ WILL fail at some point or another.
Though all else fail you, God will not forsake you. He does not fail. The same Savior who took that will to the cross for you is the one seated at the Father’s right hand interceding for you. The same God whose will it was to sacrifice the life of His one and only so that your life could be redeemed for eternity is the same God who is working out HIS will for your life while you still have breath.
Setting 3: The Courtyard (Extraordinary Sight)
Selected Notes (Luke 22):
After Peter’s third denial, Jesus turned and looked at Peter. The word used for looked in this passage is not just any look. It’s a “locked-in gaze” — “to look at in a sustained, concentrated way.” It’s the same word used for “looked” when Jesus looked at Simon before renaming him Peter as recorded in John 1:42.
Long before Jesus actually commissioned Peter as a disciple, He LOOKED at him and knew him. Jesus saw all the times Peter was going to speak too soon, say too much, ask too many questions, give too many rash answers, and think he knew better than his Lord, rebuking him even.
He saw these three denials before they ever happened — before he ever chose Peter. And yet, he still chose. He still renamed him. He saw the coward and renamed him the rock.
Jesus sees you and knows you. Nothing surprises Him and nothing is outside his area of expertise.
Setting 4: Shore of Galilee (Extraordinary Grace)
Selected Notes (John 21):
Jesus gave Peter the gift of a do over. He did it in parallel structure to the circumstances of the failure. Over that charcoal fire, Peter was restored, recommissioned, and ready to follow forward.
This was not easy, and John tells us Peter was grieved. Facing the fire is never comfortable, but it’s necessary and the results are strengthening. When it’s done in the presence of the grace of the Savior, it’s safe.
The baggage of guilt, the weight of working in your own strength, and the burden of trying to keep everything pressed down is released, and then you are free to move.
The next message in this series is: “How to Develop Survival-grade Faith.”
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