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Lenten Devotions: The Value of a Fall

by | Mar 30, 2022 | Discipline, Lenten Devotions, Shame, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Life

[Jesus said] ‘Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.'”

(Luke 22:31-32 ESV)

Almost everyone has an episode in their life that they look back on with shame, and so did Peter. He denied and abandoned Jesus during His trial. At the time Jesus spoke these words we’ve just read, Peter didn’t know that was going to happen—but Jesus did. So He prepared Peter.

I’m paraphrasing what Jesus said, because in English we can’t see the difference between the singular “you” and the plural “you,” though it is clear in Greek. Jesus tells Peter, “Satan demanded to have all you disciples, to sift you all like wheat; but I have prayed for you specifically, so that your own faith may not fail. And when you yourself have repented, strengthen your brothers.”

Although Peter will be shaken to his core, Jesus has asked God to maintain a tiny light of faith in his heart until Easter Sunday. Then he will see Jesus alive again—repent—rejoice—and be reinstated as a disciple of Jesus. More than that, he will become a major leader in the early church, strengthening all the other Christians.

Peter never forgot his fall, but it must have been a great comfort to the other Christians around him. They could look at this flawed, forgiven servant of Jesus, and know that they too could be forgiven—because Jesus gave Himself to die and rise for them.

Prayer: Dear Father, use even the shameful parts of my past to bring help and comfort to others. Amen.

Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on March 26, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved

Reflection Questions:
* How do people cope with shame?
* When has God used someone else’s past to help or comfort you?
* If you are willing, tell about a time you were able to use your own past to strengthen someone else.

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