Letting Jesus Down

"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:31-32 NIV)

The US presidential candidate Donald Trump has recently been in the news talking about his faith. As part of that, he revealed that he doesn't really ask for forgiveness. Now I don't know much about Donald Trump, but I do know we all need forgiveness. You don't have to be a Christian for long before you realise that you regularly let your Lord and Saviour down.

Perhaps Donald Trump's attitude is a little similar to that of the apostle Simon Peter. When Jesus tells Simon Peter that he has prayed for him, because Satan is going to attack and cause him to let Jesus down, Simon Peter is bullish. He says:

"Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death." (Luke 22:33 NIV)

We've all been there. We're confident in ourselves and confident that we will do the right thing. We're confident we're not like other people who let Jesus down. We're not really confident though. We're overconfident. Jesus responds:

"I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me." (Luke 22:34 NIV)

And we all know how that story ends. Simon Peter fails to live up to his boast and does exactly as Jesus says. In a sense Simon Peter is a model of us all. For all our bravado, whether loud or quiet, we all continue to sin and let our Lord down.

Sometimes it may be in very similar ways to Simon Peter. How often have we shied away from standing up for Jesus? We've been thinking and praying about sharing the good news of Jesus with our friends and our neighbourhoods over the last few months. When we pray like this, often God will give us opportunities to say something. Most of us will have the experience of failing to take those opportunities and hiding our faith.

The thing that strikes me in Luke 22:31, is that Jesus doesn't give up on Simon Peter. He's already prayed for him that his faith will not completely fail, that he will repent of his sin and want to come back. More than that, Jesus has a job prepared for him when he does – to help the other believers.

It's fascinating isn't it that the Lord Jesus wants to continue to work with and through us, even though we fail him and let him down. It's a great comfort for anyone who is even a bit sensitive to their failures.

So perhaps you have been tempted to look back at missed opportunities and failures to stand firm for Jesus. Perhaps you have been tempted to think he wouldn't want to work with or through you again. Well the story of Simon Peter reminds us that Jesus is always ready to forgive and welcome his followers back when we turn from our sin. And he doesn't just welcome us back, he always has a job for us to do.

So what about you?

  • Are there times you have let Jesus down that you need to turn back to him and say sorry for?
  • Do you need to trust that Jesus will still want to work with and through you? Will you pray for him to continue to do so and show you the job you can for him?

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