Daily Devotion: “When you have turned back”

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’

But he replied, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.’

Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” – Luke 22:31-34

Jesus is hours away from being betrayed, abandoned, and crucified. He is giving some of His last teaching and instruction before His greatest trial. In the midst of this, Jesus tells Peter he is about to deny Him three times.

While we may often read and study through Peter’s denial and then reconciliation, sometimes we miss that Jesus was planning His reconciliation before he had even fallen away. Jesus makes a remarkable statement when telling Peter what is about to happen. He says,

“when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Jesus is not dwelling on Peter’s denial as the end of the road or a failure that cannot be moved on from. Nor does Jesus use Peter’s coming failure to disqualify him from being a leader among the apostles and later the church.

Jesus knows that Peter is about to fail and deny that he even knows Jesus, but Jesus is already looking ahead to the next thing after that.

Our failures do not come as a surprise to God. He knew the exact ways we were going to mess up when He chose us in Him and forgave us and made us His children. While there needs to be repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation, God doesn’t get stuck on our mistakes. The works God has prepared for us to do, He has prepared in the midst of our failures.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10

God planned for Peter to become a leader in the early church among the apostles and that is what God did through him despite his denial. While scripture does not point this out explicitly, I imagine Peter was a more compassionate and humble leader after having denied Christ and been graciously brought back. He was also better able to encourage His fellow apostles and others who fell in similar ways because he had been through it himself.

As we stumble and fall, see the grace and mercy in Jesus’s statement to Peter and know He takes the same approach with all of us because He is faithful. Even when we have fallen, He has plans for us and He helps us get back up. He also wants us to encourage those who have fallen in similar ways. It is to His everlasting glory and honor to use the broken to accomplish His will.

“when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Denied before Men
Look to your leaders

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