Jesus, Peter, and the Preservation of the Saints

As the narrative of Luke starts drawing to a close, we see Jesus and Peter at the Last Supper.  Here, Jesus foretells Peter’s denial.  He says to Peter (who was also called “Simon”), “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:31).

At first glance, this verse actually seems to speak against God’s sovereignty.  It’s almost as if Satan is making a demand, and the Savior has no say in it.  After all, rather than deny Satan’s demand, Peter is in fact turned over to him temporarily, and it looks like all Jesus can do is pray for Peter.  However, pay close attention to what follows: “And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”  It’s not “if you have turned again” or “hopefully you will turn again”.  It is wholly known to Jesus that His prayer that Peter’s faith will not fail will definitely result in Peter’s turning back to Him.

God is not at the mercy of Satan’s demands.  He allows Satan to operate and uses him as a means to accomplish His greater will.  But if the Savior intercedes for someone, there is absolutely no way that Satan can thwart God’s will of salvation for that person.  For a true Christian who falls into sin, it’s not a matter of if they’ll return to Jesus, but a matter of when.  Praise God for His faithfulness to us, even when we are unfaithful to Him.

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