The Prayer Life of Christ.
Jesus addressing Peter says:
But I have prayed that your faith will fail not. (Luke 22/31-33)
This is a very interesting revelation we are offered here – we are given special insight into the private prayer life of the Lord Jesus.
He knows what is going to happen in the life of Peter.
He knows beforehand that Peter will deny Him.
This is the foreknowledge of God operating here.
Knowing something will happen before it actually does.
God knows everything that will happen before it does.
We are conscious of a fact of life. Namely, that life consists of the past, the present, the future. But even as I speak we are not in the present anymore.
The present in one sense does not exist. Because time will not stand still.
‘As I…’ (…let’s stop there).
the ‘As I…’ has just passed away.
We are in a different present than the one we were in – a few seconds ago.
But God knows what will happen in a few hours time, everywhere in the world.
God is in eternity. Now is eternity – time without end? Or is eternity a dimension in which there is no time, no past present or future? The eternal now.
Well, the bible tells us – we only know ‘in part’. And there is a day coming for all believers in Christ when we shall no longer know ‘in part’, but know – even as God knows us. (I Corinthians 13/9)
We shall have the total eternal perspective on existence.
Jesus knew the future for Peter – and He tells him so. Tells Peter that he (Peter) will deny Him (Jesus).
Peter has no intention of believing this word. Based on his inner sense of love for Jesus, and his zealous desire to be faithful.
Matthew 26/33 : Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”
Jesus knew that Peter would stumble, and deny Him. Knowing he would, Jesus took a certain course of action.
He knew Peter would sin in this way. He knew the ‘disaster’ would happen. He did not prevent Peter from denying Him.
Peter had freedom of choice which was not taken away from him. Nor is it taken from you or I.
There is a day of reckoning (commonly called) – when the goodness of God must put an end to all that is destructive, at which time, on which day, the rebellion of free will – set on – the rebellious violation of goodness and righteousness, must be stopped.
Jesus did not pre-arrange a situation for Peter in order to keep him from that hour of temptation.
Peter had to be there. He was one of the most zealous of the disciples, even though he was perhaps the one most exposed in scripture regarding his personal shortcomings and failings.
Now the disciples already knew the Lord’s prayer. Peter did not (as far as we know) pray that prayer on hearing the prophesy of Jesus. (about his denial and the cock crowing – Mark 14/30)
He didn’t believe The Lord’s prophetic word, because he didn’t want to believe it.
Nobody who is a genuine Christian wants to believe they will fail the Lord.
And it should be our hearts desire every day to walk with Him without failing Him.
But we are still encompassed with the infirmity of our own limited flesh. Referred to in scripture as ‘this body of death’. So unfortunately we shall fail The Lord, and need to return in humility once again. There will be many ‘once again’s’ in the Christian life.
But by the Grace (unmerited favour) of God we do not lose our place of salvation, while we return to our Advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ the Righteous. The one who is the propitiation for our sins. (appeasing God’s righteous indignation and supplying offered forgiveness)
Returning to our initial thought in this post. We are given insight into the prayer life of The Lord Jesus, as He communes with His Father continuously. Leaving us an example to do the same.
‘I have prayed the Father that your faith fail not’. prayed Jesus.
Wow! But surely Peter did fail? Yes he failed and denied the Lord, despite every intention initially, of not doing so.
But thanks to Jesus praying and agreeing with His Father – Peter was not cast off as a failure.
The good news is – he returned!
He went out and wept. And his mistake was an occasion for God to teach him a wonderful lesson, that he would learn more deeply for the rest of his days.
The lesson of how to walk with God in a Christ-dependant manner.
Not only dependant on Christ for salvation and eternal (future) life only.
But a lesson in learning how to walk with Jesus minute by minute, even in His earthly absence, after He (Jesus) had departed to be with the Father.
Walking in other words with The Holy Spirit, as his constant companion.
Peter’s bravado was based on his own ability. Our own ability will fail us when it comes to spiritual matters.
We must learn to live in the Holy Spirit and to walk in the Holy Spirit.
Faith gives us entrance into a relationship with The Lord Jesus Christ.
The outcome of that faith is a spiritual experience whereby we literally encounter God, The Holy Spirit, and having begun in The Spirit – we shall not be perfected in the strength of our own natural ability. (Galatians 3/3)
To encounter Jesus in this way is the most wonderful experience possible, this side of heaven.
To have our guilt removed by the Highest authority in existence. To satisfy God Almighty’s sense of Justice and at the same time to receive His forgiveness and freedom from condemnation and guilt, is or can be, a Time Surpassing any other in your life and mine.
All made possible through the finished work of Christ on the cross, where justice had it’s day and forgiveness was released to those who would ask for it.
Bearing in mind that God is omniscient (all knowing) – we conclude from this episode in Peter’s life that man’s freedom of choice, and God’s freedom of choice, go unhindered.
Whether man decides (volition) or not to satisfy God’s loving commands, there is always a place for returning to God, when, like Peter, we make a mistake.
However there is a sobering scripture addressing a lack of returning to God:
Whoever is stubborn [stiff-necked] after being corrected many times will suddenly be hurt [broken] beyond cure [healing]. (EXB translation – Proverbs 29/1)
Always a place for returning to God.
Unless we choose to die without doing so.