Interceding on our behalf
Most Christians are familiar with the story of Peter denying Christ three times. This event happened at arguably the worst possible time – after Jesus had been arrested and then brought before the Jewish religious leaders at a secretive, illegal nighttime tribunal. Even though Jesus being deserted by all of His disciples was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, none of them saw it coming.
During the Last Supper, Jesus had given this warning:
Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
The “you” in Satan has asked to shift you like wheat is plural. Sifting wheat was a filtering process that removed dirt, rocks, and chaff from the valuable wheat kernels. Satan certainly wasn’t advocating that the disciples be purified and have the chaff of their lives removed – rather, Satan was accusing the disciples of being useless chaff, and he wanted the opportunity to prove it.
The “you” in the rest of Jesus’ words are singular. The upcoming denial of knowing Jesus is going to severely shake the guy who has been known among the disciples as “the rock”. Jesus is specifically telling Peter that He has interceded for him, not to the exclusion of the other disciples, but because he will need to know this information. Later on, Peter will be able to look back and remember Jesus’ encouraging words.
When speaking of God’s unfailing love toward those who believe, Paul also mentioned a similar situation to the believers in Rome:
Romans 8:34 Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.
Christ’s prayerful intercession between Peter and God the Father wasn’t a one-time thing. He now acts on behalf of all believers. Jesus hears the accusations of Satan, knows our weaknesses, and then intercedes on our behalf to God the Father.
How incredible is that?
There are troubles on the horizon that we don’t see coming. When our failures in those situations shake our faith, we need to remember that we have an advocate. We haven’t been abandoned due to our mistakes. We can take a lot of encouragement from remembering that Jesus is on our side…just like Peter did.