“Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
Simon had more confidence than he deserved. As Jesus predicted, the disciple denied his master three times before the rooster crowed that day. The real test for Peter was not in the moment of his denial of Christ. That was expected. Jesus did not pray that Peter’s “faith should not fail” the temptation to bolt at the crucifixion. Jesus knew what His disciple would soon realize. Peter was destined to betray his conscience, and deny Jesus in that crucial moment of truth.
The real test came later when Simon faced the crushing weight of his own remorse. It began the moment “a rooster crowed” and “Peter remembered the word of the Lord”. Knowing deeply, perhaps for the first time, the depravity of his tortured and empty soul, Simon “went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22.60-62).
Once confronted by his own weak and sinful nature, it is difficult for a man not to quit. Hence, Christ prays that our “faith should not fail” in our darkest hour of personal regret. Peter found the grace to forgive himself and he returned to Jesus after his colossal fail. This same man advanced to lead the early church and fulfill Christ’s charge to “strengthen your brethren”.
Out of a man’s own brokenness and profound sense of failure, he may receive what it takes to ‘return to Jesus and strengthen the brethren’.