Are You Sure You’re Ready?
When Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death,” (Luke 22:33) he meant every word. What he did not know was that it was not true. Peter thought he was stronger than he really was. But he was not ready. This proves to be true because soon after this confident confession Peter denies Jesus three times (vs. 57, 58, 60).
If it wasn’t for Jesus’ prayer for him Peter would have been in a lot of trouble, spiritually (vs. 31 & 32). Jesus was the reason Peter remained in the faith. As the gospel unfolds, and the history of the church unfolds we know that Peter remained faithful until the very end. Church tradition even tells us that Peter was crucified upside down at his own request (sometime between 64-67 AD.) Therefore, somewhere along the line Peter became “ready to go with you (Jesus) both to prison and to death.” The question is, how did this happen?
The answer, at least part of it, is given to us in James 1:2-4. This passage makes the connection between the trials that we face in life and our steadfastness in the faith. It tells us that trials of various kinds are God’s means of producing in us the endurance that we need to make it to the end. We know this is what James is talking about because in verse 12 of that passage James says, “When he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life.” The testing that James is talking about here is the kind of testing that purifies faith, not to see if it is there or not. In other words, in James 1:2-4 God tests believers not to see if they have faith but because they have faith. This is why we should “count it all joy” when we face trials of various kinds. God is doing something great in us whether we know it or not, because we have faith.
This is a wonderful encouragement for us as believers because this is not only Peter’s issue, it is our issue. We tend to think that we are stronger than we are. But God knows our ways and He knows the devil too well. Our enemy aims to wreck our faith. He is out to do all that he can to cause us to abandon our faith. But God cares about whether or not we mill make it to the end and he makes sure that we will. He will cause us to be sick if he has to, to get us there. He will cause us to be poor if he has to, to get use there. He will allow, and even ordain that trials of various kinds come into our lives in order to grow our endurance for the rest of the journey home.
Thank you Father for your love and faithfulness. We are in good hands. Take us home. Amen.