From: Francis Harper
“When you are converted . . .” Message for 11/10/17
“When you are converted . . .”
“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired you, that he may sift the children of the kingdom as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not; and when you are converted, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:31-32).
Peter was offended. He was “aggrieved.” In defense, Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go with you, both into prison, and unto death. And the Lord said, I tell you, Peter, that the cock shall not crow this day, before that you will thrice deny that you know me” (Luke 22:33-34).
Jesus knew Peter’s future and how he would react when under the pressure of the possible crucifixion of himself! Jesus had already warned Peter and had promised to pray for him.
Peter had witnessed many of the miracles of Jesus. He had been with James and John when Jesus was transfigured into a being of light. It was Peter who said, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” He heard the voice out of the cloud say, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matthew 17:1-4).
In spite of being a witness to these miraculous events, Peter was not fully converted until after Jesus was raised from the dead.
Perhaps it was not until Jesus appeared to seven of his disciples, including Simon Peter, on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, that Peter became fully converted.
Peter may have remembered the words Jesus had spoken to him as he quickly cast himself into the sea, and hurriedly went to meet Jesus. Jesus knew Peter was now more fully converted and was ready to strengthen his brethren, so after they had finished their breakfast, Jesus turned to Simon and said, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? [catching 153 great fish! Peter must have loved fishing and catching fish]. How could Peter ever give up what he so dearly loved to do? This was a real test for Peter, but he answered, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.” Then Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my lambs” (John 21:15). Twice more the question was asked, and Peter’s answer was the same. Two times Jesus said, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:16-17).
This early morning meeting of Jesus with Peter and the sons of Zebedee [James and John], and the four others, is not a cunningly devised fable. I have twice been at Saint Peter’s Landing, near Capernaum. Simon Peter lived in this little fishing village with his wife and her mother. On one occasion, “Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever and they besought him for her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she came and ministered unto them” (Mark 1:27-28; Luke 4:38-39).
I felt a kinship with Peter while I was in his hometown. I could identify with his feelings of unworthiness. It was Peter who fell down at the knees of Jesus, and said, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8). The Lord promised to pray for Peter. I have asked him to pray for me. And I have no doubt that he has.
Rock on Sea of Galilee 001When I was at St. Peter’s landing, I picked up a small, black stone at random, as a souvenir. Later, I discovered it is shaped like a human heart, and is similar in size and shape to a small map of the Sea of Galilee, I found in a magazine. A year later I purchased a satellite map of Israel, and my souvenir stone is precisely the same size and shape as the Sea of Galilee, on this map.
This was an additional piece of evidence that we have a living Savior, who is saying to each of us today, “When you are converted, strengthen your brethren!” Ask him to pray for you. He prayed for Peter; he will also pray for you!