In Luke 22:31-24 and 54-62, Jesus first predicts that Peter will deny him three times. Relying on himself, Peter insisted he would not. But in the end, Peter’s self-dependence was his undoing, and Jesus’ prediction came true.
“Simon, Simon, behold” (v31)
- When Jesus uses Peter’s original name, he seems to be trying to get his attention.
- Using a name twice indicates seriousness.
- Behold means “listen up.”
“Satan demanded” (v31)
- What right or claim does Satan have that he can make a demand of God?
- None — he operates within the limitations God allows.
- Demand (exaiteō) is an intensified for of ask (aiteō).
- The word urged might better communicate the intent here.
- You (hymas) is plural.
- Jesus said that Satan asked to sift all of the disciples.
- It is likely that this is the case for all believers as well.
“sift you like wheat” (v31)
- When sifted, wheat was battered and tossed in the air, and the chaff blew away.
- Satan desired to afflict the disciples, hoping to prove them imfaithful.
- It is exactly what he attempted with Job.
“but I have prayed that your faith not fail” (v32)
- The word but suggests a sharp contrast — that Jesus’ prayers are the solution to Satan’s intent.
- Peter’s perseverance is dependent on Jesus.
- Jesus prays for us, too.
- He prayed for us on the night he was betrayed.
- He prays for us today.
- According to Hebrews 7:25, the fullness of his saving (“saving to the uttermost) is based on his continuing prayer.
- For us, like Peter, perseverance in trials depends on God, not on ourselves.
- By “fail,” Jesus meant completely fall away.
- Peter did not completely fall away, but he had to learn to rely on Jesus.
“I am ready” (v33)
- Problem #1: Peter counted on himself.
- Problem #2: Peter believed he had arrived.
- Peter rejected the possibility of his own failure and therefore also rejected the need for dependence on Jesus.
“you [will] deny me” (v34)
- Jesus told Peter what Peter was capable of (in fact, what he would do).
“I will not deny you” (Matthew 26:35)
- Peter rejected Jesus’ warning.
- His pride seemed to prevent him from admitting his vulnerability.
“Peter was following at a distance” (v54)
- It was good that Peter was following.
- But he had already begun to compromise by following at a distance.
“Peter sat down among them” (v55)
- Peter remained in the area of his Lord.
- But he wasn’t near enough.
- Peter’s self-dependence had begun to affect his faithfulness.
“he denied” (v57)
- Peter’s failure culminated in three denials.
- Denied (arneomai) is a strong word that can mean to completely disavow or abandon.
- Peter had fallen as far as he possibly could have.
“the Lord turned and looked at Peter” (v61)
- Even when we fail, Jesus remains Lord.
- Even when we fail, Jesus turns toward us.
“Peter . . . wept bitterly” (v61)
- Peter recognized the failure of his self-dependence and it affected him deeply.
- Jesus would continue Peter’s restoration in John 21.