Jesus said: “Simon, Simon,
Satan has desired you
that he might sift you like wheat;
but,I have prayed for you
that your faith fail not”
Luke 22:31-32 a
We’re winding down our consideration of the words Jesus spoke to Simon that evening as He and his disciples gathered for their “farewell meal,” what we’ve come to commemorate as the “Lord’s Supper,” or “The Last Supper.” Did you get past the haloes we’ve painted on the heads of that “rowdy band?” Disciples? You’d hardly consider them to be “saints,” considering how they were behaving at this time. Governed by raw ambition and completely oblivious to Jesus’ suffering, it was close to a collision of strutting egos and about to erupt into an angry explosion of selfish ambition. If I missed the fact they were about to get into a fistfight while Jesus was trying to prepare them for what was coming, then perhaps I wasn’t paying close enough attention. Jesus warned them. Tried to get them prepared for the clear, eminent and present danger they were facing, and the storm about to be unleashed upon Him and them. He tried His best to alert them to the Enemy they were facing, the methods he’d employ against them, and let them know He’d be observing, praying for them. Just as He does for us today.
He prayed: “That your faith fail not.” Now, that may not be what I want. It may not even be what I think I need. Perhaps I’d prefer better health, a better job, more money, nicer friends, a better car, better-behaved children. There were times when being well-liked, popular, even famous were things that mattered to me most.
But, from Jesus’ standpoint, faith was the most important thing He could ask from His Father for His friend.
I’m not real sure I can adequately define “faith” or that it’s even necessary to do that. The thing which impresses me is that’s the thing to which Jesus attached the utmost importance. . . the one thing He knew which would sustain Simon Peter when all else was lost.
Please don’t ever underestimate the importance of faith. “Without faith,” the Scripture says, “it is impossible to please God.” If you don’t even believe He exists, what basis is there for any type of relationship with Him?
Dictionary definitions might not really “nail” it to your satisfaction. You need faith in yourself, to be certain. If you lack self-confidence, rest assured you’ll have an impossible task of convincing anyone else to believe in your integrity or ability.
In this case, though, I believe Jesus was speaking about the faith Simon Peter has in God. When the Bible speaks of “faith,” it encompasses your emotions, your intelligence, and your will being surrendered to God’s will. It involves my recognition of my own sin and a conscious decision to accept the facts about Christ (His death, burial and resurrection. And then living my life as though that is absolutely true. It is all this and more, and my attempt here to explain is at best amateurish and perhaps inadequate.
It is believing God is God, and I am not. Here’s another of those little “words.” FAITH. Obviously, Jesus felt when he prayed for His friend THAT WAS THE THING HE NEEDED MOST.
Not long ago I plowed through Isaacon’s recent biography of Albert Einstein (Don’t know what it says about my reading habits, but about the same time I was reading another biography about Hank Snow!). The story of Einstein obviously cannot be told without his famous “theory of relativity” and some “stuff” having to do with atoms. Atoms. Now there’s some power to ponder. You can’t even see those tiny things. Not even under a powerful microscope. But the evidence is there. And if you ever “split” one, you better watch out! Enough power is locked up in one of those little “thingies” to provide lights and power for a large city.
Jesus must have known something about the power in just a little bit of faith (a “mustard seed!) to know power is there. Strength, hope, peace. . . enough to help you through any trial.
My reason tells me: if Faith is THAT important to Jesus, wouldn’t it be a good idea to find out what it is and get some? To think about what it is? To exercise it?
I can do without many things. But faith is not one of them. A servant, donkimrey