Luke 22:31-32 “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.”
Have you ever felt great comfort knowing friends are praying for you? Perhaps you asked them to pray for a difficult situation that doesn’t appear to have an obvious solution or way out. We all need comrades to help us fight our spiritual and physical battles.
Jesus is praying for you too.
But how does Jesus pray for us? Does he pray generic prayers for humanity, or does he pray for us individually based on our specific weaknesses or needs? I believe the relationship Jesus had with Simon Peter is a good indication that Jesus prays for us individually.
Jesus knew Simon more than Simon knew himself. In Luke 22, Jesus told him that he had prayed that his faith would not fail when the time came for Satan to sift his disciples like wheat. Simon did not understand how much he needed this prayer because he responded, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and death.” Simon hated to fail, and Jesus understood this about him. We all know from reading the subsequent chapters of the gospel of Luke that Simon did not stick to his promise. He denied Jesus with curses when a servant girl asked him if he was with the Galilean who was arrested and condemned to death.
Simon bitterly wept when he could not live up to his promise. He was not the man he thought he was, and he could not be there for his friend.
What is the significance of Jesus’s prayer for Simon?
Jesus’s prayer is a demonstration of interceding for Peter. Intercession is acting or intervening on behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble by pleading or petitioning.
Jesus is intervening even when we don’t think we need it. We are often unaware that we are heading for trouble or difficulty, but Jesus knows.
Sometimes we are like Simon. We underestimate how much we need Jesus’s prayers and intercession. We think we’ve got this, but we become bitterly disappointed when we fail miserably. Jesus did not want remorse to harden Simon’s heart but rather learn from his failures to strengthen others for the rest of his life. Jesus wants the same for us too.
Like Simon, I a tempted to think, “I want to be good and even perfect at following Jesus.” But I can’t. Thus Jesus’s intercessory prayer saves me because I cannot save myself.
In Gentle and Lowly, Dane Ortlund says, “It is the most counterintuitive aspect of Christianity that we are declared right with God not once we begin to get our act together but once we collapse into an honest acknowledgment that we never will.”
I relate to his statement. As someone who prefers always to be correct, I’m in desperate need of the intercessory work of Christ so that being close to Jesus is more important to me than looking good or being right.
Here are some amazing Bible verses to meditate on regarding the intercessory work of Christ.
Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save forever those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
Romans 8:31-34 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was [l]raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
What I glean from the Bible verses above is that Jesus approaches his intercessory work with the same passion, love, and sacrifice that allowed him to endure the cross.
Even while Jesus was gasping for air on the cross, he was interceding for those around him as demonstrated in Luke 23:33-34:
When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.“And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.
After Jesus rose from the dead, he immediately got busy interceding for us so that we would stay faithful through all of our disappointments and failures.
Jesus is interceding for you. What an incredible Savior we have!!!
This blog is the fourth in a series of posts I will be writing to share my journey of growing in God’s Grace. To automatically get notifications when I post a blog, click on Follow Me and enter your name and email in the box.