Luke 22:32 – I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.
Peter thought he was ready to fully serve the Lord. After Jesus gave Peter His counsel, Peter replied “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” From Peter’s viewpoint, he had given his all to the Lord. Remember, it was Peter who had the confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). He was seen as a principal leader among the twelve. Peter thought the work in him was finished.
Jesus responds to Peter’s commitment to go to prison and die for Jesus, telling Peter in verse 34, within the next 24 hours you’re going to deny Me three times. I am sure that sent Peter into a tailspin. It is a good thing Jesus had prayed for Peter’s faith not to fail. Peter was about to receive the greatest test of his life. Without the prayer of Jesus, there is no telling what would have happened to Peter.
True freedom is found in the Lord Jesus Christ as our High Priest. “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). As with Peter, our freedom begins in the knowledge that Jesus is praying for us so that our faith will not fail.
True freedom is found in conversion. I do not mean gaining information about Jesus and saying we believe in Him. True conversion is turning from depending on our natural life as our source to depending on the Holy Spirit as our source of life and knowledge. Peter was still trying to figure things out on his own. He thought he had surrendered all to Jesus, but he had not yet undergone the death process. Death to self is required in order to know true conversion. It is a process we learn and not a one-time experience we have. Note what Jesus said to Peter – “when once you have turned again” (verse 32). It is the again part that is difficult. Peter, like us, vacillated between his natural life and the new life the Spirit was generating in him.
After conversion we begin to turn our attention to others. An evidence of “self” being crucified is our willingness to give up our life to serve others in their need. Jesus knew Peter was not ready for the task he was destined to accomplish. The Lord pointed the way forward as He said “when you are converted” (KJV). Jesus has a purpose for each one of us, but there is a process we must go through. Many get hung up in the process. Some get burned out trying to “strengthen” others before they are fully converted themselves.
Father, I humble myself before You. Keep me from arrogance which causes me to think I can serve You out of my own strength. I am weak, but You are strong! Help me to live a lifestyle of conversion, walking in faith, being changed daily, and strengthening others in their journey.