Let us continue our journey of examining the apostle Peter’s BECOMING process through Jesus’ prediction that he would deny Him three times. We will begin by looking closely at Jesus’ words to Peter. For within them, there is a message relevant to the making of every disciple of Christ.
Luke 22:31-32 – “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren’” (NKJV).
Holy Spirit is revealing that Satan desires to sift every disciple of Christ for the purpose of total destruction, just as he desired to do with Peter. Yet, there is another kind of sifting that takes place in the life of every disciple of Christ at the hand of the Master Himself. This sifting is not unto destruction, but rather it is likened unto the sifting of wheat in order to remove the chaff from the grain for the purpose of discarding the chaff and keeping the good wheat for harvest. Likewise, sifting by the hand of the Master is likened unto the purging and pruning process that is necessary to produce progress within and through the life of every disciple of Christ.
Just as the Scripture says, the enemy of our souls seeks to steal, kill, and destroy; yet Jesus has come to give us abundant life. He has come into the life of every disciple in order to turn what the enemy meant for evil into goodness and righteousness. In fact, He will even take the destructive purpose of the enemy in our lives, such as his desire to sift us unto destruction, and use it to purge and prune us, in order to produce spiritual progress through the making of a strong, firm, and steadfast disciple. For truly, it is time for the making of such a disciple of Christ!
Therefore, Jesus is saying to us even as He stated to Peter, “Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (NKJV, Luke 22:31-32). Of course, like Peter we have reservations, because we cannot see how we would fall so low to deny our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ. We profess our praise, love, and worship through prayer and song. We sing wholeheartedly, “I surrender all!” Like Peter, our heart declares, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” We too feel Peter’s shock as a result of Jesus’ response to him, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
Peter’s Denial of Christ: “I AM” Versus “I am Not”
Yet, the greatest shock for me was when Holy Spirit revealed to me a fresh perspective and understanding of how Peter denied Christ, and the implications of this denial for the making of every disciple of Christ. Remember, Satan desired to sift Peter by tempting him to deny Christ unto utter self – destruction through an act of spiritual suicide. Yet, we know that the grace of God sustained Peter bringing him to repentance unto restoration. Likewise, Jesus sits on the right hand of the Father interceding for us, “that (our) faith should not fail” and that we should return to Him, be restored and strengthen one another in a spirit of humility and love.
The synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke recorded that Peter denied Christ by stating that he did not know Him, whereas, John’s gospel reveals a unique portrayal of Peter’s denial. In contrast to John’s record of Jesus’ seven “I AM” statements, through which Jesus boldly proclaims His true identity as the promised Messiah King of Israel and Son of God, John recorded that Peter denied Christ three times by stating, “I am not.” Now get this! Peter did not deny Christ by denying that Jesus was the Messiah or the Son of God. In other words, he never took back his profession of faith, yet he still denied Christ in an unexpected way. You see, Peter denied the essence of who he (Peter) was as a disciple of Jesus Christ. I had never seen this aspect of Peter’s denial until Holy Spirit opened my eyes and revealed it to me in such an amazing way. Suddenly, Holy Spirit began to teach and reveal to me that like Peter, we also deny Christ every time we deny who we are in Christ, as His disciple.
As Heaven’s Apostle, Jesus proclaimed boldly who He was to the world. He refused to deny who He was because it was the essence of His apostolic calling and mission. In fact, Jesus’ proclamation and demonstration of His Sonship to Abba Father was the crux of the thorn in the religious leaders’ sides that stirred them to seek to kill Him in the first place. Likewise, it is our proclamation and demonstration of our discipleship to Christ and Sonship to Abba Father that causes the enemy of our souls to rise up, seeking to sift us like wheat unto destruction. Yet, through the making process of discipleship, we too like Peter can and shall overcome every obstacle and barrier to our becoming all that God has created, called, and ordained us to be in Christ. Truly, this is the purpose of God: the making of many disciples who shall grow in the intimate knowledge of God, who they are in Christ, and their assignment as disciples of the Master who has and continues to pray for them.
Like Peter, it is time for every disciple of Christ to rise from the ashes of mistaken identity and destructive denial of Christ through the denial of their own identity, in order to be raised to new life through a revelation of God’s identity, their own identity, and the identity of their God breathed apostolic assignment. It is time for every disciple of Christ to boldly proclaim, “I AM; therefore, I am!” Brothers and sisters, will you cry out with me, “I AM; therefore, I am!”? Truly, this confession is the KEY to apprehending our next level of breakthrough and ascension in Christ, our beloved Lord, Savior and Friend.