The twelve disciples became emboldened when they abided in the presence of Christ. He filled them with courage and gave them the strength needed to fulfill God’s calling on their lives. Time was ticking by and Jesus’ time on earth was short. A lot of things were going to happen to Jesus and it will cause His closest followers to question why they have chosen to follow Him.
In Luke 22, you read about events that began with betrayal by a so-called follower which leads to Jesus standing in front of religious leaders who hope to quiet Him for good. How ironic, isn’t it? The very people that knew God’s Word, understood the Law, and taught people how to walk by faith, were the ones who wanted to shut Jesus up. This had to have caused young believers in Christ to question what they really believe.
You read about Peter, and how he was going to be challenged for what he believes. His faith was going to be tested. Your faith, even today, will be tested just like his. It will take everything you got to keep believing. You will have to dig deep when it comes to abiding in Christ, staying focused on truth. Why? When you study this chapter in Luke, you see what goes on behind the scenes in the spiritual world.
In verses 31-32, Satan asked God for Peter. Jesus pleaded in prayer so his faith would not fail. Then Jesus told Peter what to do when he does fail. Even in your faith, you will fail. This is why Jesus emboldened His followers. He still does so today. It is very important that you keep Jesus close. Once you let some space come between you and Him, like a stone’s throw away, the enemy steps in and you turn your back on God.
Jesus gives Peter 3 things to do so he can return to God. These three things are vital in everyone’s faith. First things first, you must repent. I know it’s not a popular word, it’s quite uncomfortable, but it is a part of God plan in cleansing you from your sins. With time, you will become comfortable talking to Jesus about everything and anything and repentance becomes your friend.
The goal of every believer is to walk with Jesus where you become comfortable talking about your sins and faults, knowing that He still loves you and He will help you change.
Next, turn around. You must return to Jesus, and allow Him to change you. He will help bring you back on the road that leads to heaven. When this happens, the final step can take place, “strengthen your brothers.” You are to continue serving others and encouraging them to come to Jesus or remain faithful in their faith journeys. This is how to live life to the fullest.
You learn how Satan tested Peter in verses 54-62. Jesus was brought to the High Priest’s home. Peter followed at a distance; see verse 54. Understand that Jesus needed to be where He was alone without His 12 friends. He had prepared them a few verses before in verses 35-37. The disciples were used to not needing to take anything with them on mission trips, but that was about to change. Jesus spoke in verse 53, “But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.” The disciples were going to need to be prepared for battle, thus they needed to arm themselves. In Christ’s presence, He fought for them. Now, they would have to battle for Christ while He is not physically there. They were going to learn how to walk by faith like we do today.
Peter was the first to experience the reality of living by faith and not by sight. While in the High Priest’s courtyard where a fire was lit to keep warm, three people recognized that Peter was with Jesus. How did Peter react?
Away from Jesus, people in the world will question you and place a label on you. Fingers will be pointed and your flesh will protect itself, just like Peter did. Fear takes over. The words of Christ rang true in Peter’s ears when he heard the rooster crow. Pay attention to verse 61, “At that moment, the Lord turned and looked at Peter.”
Jesus was just a stone’s throw away.
You do not have to get too far away from Jesus to lose your focus. You can be near Him yet become so far away. Satan knows this. You cannot forget that there is a spiritual world where God and Satan are fighting for you. They are fighting over every soul that God creates. Do not make it easy for the enemy.
Today, choose to follow Jesus very closely. Believe with every fiber of your being. Trust without any reservation. Know that you will turn your back on Christ. Recognize when you do and return back to Him. He will keep you moving forward towards heaven where one day you won’t have to battle for your salvation.