“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)
Have you ever regretted saying something? I know I have. The trouble is once you’ve said it you can’t recall the words and pretend you didn’t say it.
Here are a few things people have said down the years that they probably wish they could take back:
“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” (Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962).
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” (Chairman of IBM, 1943).
“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” (Western Union internal memo, 1876).
And to cap it all, “Everything that can be invented has been invented,” (Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899).
The passage of time doesn’t make any of the comments less painful considering what has taken place since they were made. And the same is true for some of the things the Apostle Peter said.
After Jesus had said that he must go to Jerusalem and be killed, “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’” (Matthew 16:22)
Then following Jesus telling Peter of Satan’s desire to sift him like wheat he said, “…Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” (Luke 22:33)
And to cap it all we have Peter’s denial of his Lord. When a servant girl asked: “…‘You also were with Jesus of Galilee,’…he denied it before them all. ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ he said.” (Matthew 26:69-70) Later another servant girl said, “…‘This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.’.. He denied it again, with an oath: ‘I don’t know the man!’” (Verses 71-72) Then those standing near to Peter said, “…‘Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.’ Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know the man!’…” (Verses 73-74) The full force of Peter’s words here mean he is saying, ‘I don’t know this Jesus; I don’t know Him as the Messiah, the Son of living God. Let Jesus hang on the cross, and be cursed’.
Don’t you think Peter wished he could have taken those words back? Impossible once they had been said. But incredibly, even after such a denial, Jesus wanted to restore Peter. This is hinted at by the angel after the resurrection of Jesus, when he said to the women ‘…go, tell his disciples and Peter…’ (Mark 16:7), and came to fruition at the breakfast on the beach in John 21. Jesus still believed in Peter’s potential, even after he had failed him so badly, and restored him to become the boldest of the Apostles, who did go on to strengthen his bothers.
It’s tremendously encouraging to me that whatever I regret saying (or doing), like Peter I too can be restored by Jesus for his service. And so can you.
Father, thank you that you are a God of love, mercy and grace, and that in your Son Jesus you pick us up when we fall and restore us.
Study by Barry Robinson
Worldwide Church of God London
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
Local Congregational Contact:
Phone: 020 8202 3998