“Simon, Simon, pay attention! Satan has demanded to have you all, to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. When you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”Luke 22:31–32

 

A few years ago, my daughter was playing at a friend’s house when, in a completely unavoidable accident, she fell backwards and landed hard on her arm. A quick trip to the doctor and some x-rays confirmed a small fracture, but for our soccer-loving girl, it meant a big change to her plans. Instead of planning for the upcoming soccer game, we had conversations about what it means to be part of a team and how we can show up for our friends, even when we can’t participate. And when things got extra frustrating, we talked about how amazing God made our bodies, that when something is broken, it heals even stronger than before.

 

Our Scripture today takes place during Jesus’ final meal with the disciples. Judas had already betrayed Jesus, and instead of focusing on their time with Jesus, the disciples started arguing about which among them was the greatest. In Jesus’ upside-down Kingdom, greatness is measured in service, not in power. As He shared this with His followers, He also gave them an amazing gift: “I grant to you a kingdom, just as my Father granted to me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom” (Luke 22:29). 

 

Knowing that He would be betrayed, knowing even that (Simon) Peter would deny knowing Him multiple times in the coming days, Jesus promised them a place at His table. But the part that stands out to me? He told Peter that he would face trials and he would make mistakes, but Jesus had prayed that his faith would not fail. And then, when (not if) Peter turned back to Him, he was to strengthen the others. 

 

What would feel broken, disappointing, and challenging to Peter would be redeemed and healed by Jesus’ forgiveness, giving Peter the chance to use his experiences to offer hope and encouragement and to draw even more people into the saving love of Jesus. 

 

Jesus is compassionate and kind, praying for us and interceding on our behalf. He knows the mistakes we will make, the wrong turns we’ll take, and He is always there for us when we find our way back. And, maybe, the expectations we let go of and the healing we experience will allow us to serve God’s kingdom in a greater way than we could have ever imagined as we allow God to use His work in our lives to strengthen those around us. 

 

 

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Crystal Stine

Crystal Stine

Crystal Stine is the author of Holy Hustle, Quieting the Shout of Should, and the Holy Hustle Planner. She serves as the Communications and Online Director for her church and has a passion for using social media as a mission field to reach as many as possible for Christ. You can connect with Crystal online at crystalstine.me, get a sneak peek of her first books through several YouVersion reading plans, or find her on Instagram @crystalstine. Crystal lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter.

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