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To the edge

19 June 2020

I was thinking, how far would God go to fashion us after his own heart?  My answer is right to the edge, and here’s why.  In Lk 22:31-32 we find Jesus saying to Peter, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat.  But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail.  So, when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”  Simon did the almost unpardonable in denying Jesus.  Realization of his failure came very quickly with the words, “At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”  And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly” (Lk 22:61-62).  Peter understood what he had done, it was only one level above Judas’ betrayal.   When Jesus says, “I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail,” we can deduce if Jesus hadn’t prayed, Simon’s faith would fail.  How could Jesus let Simon go to the edge?  And with such high stakes!.  Such was his trauma, it registered among the angels of God, with one of them at the tomb saying, “Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter …” (Mk 16:7).  No doubt the other disciples also went through the sifting process with the words, “sift each of you like wheat,” but Peter took the blunt shot.  The Lord knew exactly the risks involved, he used Simon’s name three times; it was highly personal.  Something he does nowhere else in the Gospels.  Peter the one who always had plenty to say, the courageous disciple who ventured on the water when no one else did, the one who cut off Malchus’ ear trying to defend Jesus (Jn 18:10), was not yet ready for God purpose.  It took the near loss of his faith to ready Peter for God’s purpose.  It was Peter who spoke to the crowd on the day of Pentecost where 3000 people believed.  Believed, because he was believable.  Peter, the disciple who knew personally the mercy of God.  He couldn’t have done it before.  Considering what Jesus allowed Peter to go through to get him ready, how far will God allow us to go the edge to bring about our own heart shift?  Consider the balance tipper for Peter was Jesus pleading for him.  Maybe we should plead for each other more.  So, are we ready? 

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