31“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
33But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
34Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” (Luke 22:31-34)
Thoughts: Our deserting Christ to go our own way- to fail Him is no surprise to God. Jesus predicts Peter's desertion here But He also predicts He will turn back- and He thus gives words of encouragement- to keep Peter from getting totally discouraged about his faith. His prediction of Peter's desertion is not so remarkable- all the disciples denied, betrayed or deserted Jesus. But that He predicted Peter's coming back is quite remarkable. His asking Peter to strengthen his brothers is a reminder that his calling is to build up the church- the disciples of Christ.
Today is the day we remember St. James Intercisus, who publicly fell away from the faith when the Persian king began persecuting the church. His mother and wife rebuked him, and he publicly came back to the faith during a new king's ascension to the throne. The new king threatened and made good on the threat to dismember and behead him. James knew it was better to die for what he believed in to live a hundred years shrinking back. Today, the world needs Christians who are not afraid of death- but brave enough to be faithful- or perhaps even better- brave enough to come back to the faith and strengthen the brothers.
Prayer: Lord, if I fail, give me grace to come back to you. Help me to be gracious to those who seek to come back to you. Raise up those who have fallen.
There is always room to come back to Jesus- as the Prodigal Son came back.