Ikuro Teshima

Peter feared persecution, denied the Lord three times, and stumbled. Until cowardly Simon built up his character to become Peter the Rock, as befitting his name, the Lord Jesus took painstaking efforts to train him. He planned the spiritual sanctification of Simon.

After completing Jesus' spiritual training, Peter became a great apostle who did not mind even martyrdom. We learn a great lesson through tracing the process by which Peter climbed several steps of faith.

The Maneuvers of Satan

Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: 'I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee."
(Matt 26:31-32 NKJV)

As Jesus said, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night," there was one who was made to stumble first. It was Judas Iscariot. He had already betrayed Jesus, left the table of the Last Supper and disappeared into the dark night. Jesus also foretold the other eleven disciples that all of them would be made to stumble. Not only Peter, Thomas, and James, but all of them nearly fell. There are times like this when everyone’s faith is violently shaken. The book of Luke writes in detail:

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." But he said to Him, "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death." Then He said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me."
(Luke 22:31-34)

The word "asked" means "begged earnestly." Satan earnestly begged God permission to shake their faith and, apparently, his request was granted. When Satan works, Jesus says, "I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail."

Judas Iscariot was seized by Satan. Jesus foresaw those who would be shaken next. When a strange and inscrutable spirit works, we cannot think objectively and calmly. Not only that, we are unable to even think about what is true. Then we stumble. Such "a time of temptation" comes even within ourselves.

In my life of faith until now, I have seen such dangerous scenes many times. In my ministry, I can clearly see which souls Satan tries to capture. I perceive, "Oh, that person will be made to stumble. He is in danger." When I witness such a scene, even as a last resort, I make further efforts of love in order that he is not made to stumble. Despite my efforts, however, some people helplessly become captives of Satan and fall.

While Satan violently shakes our faith, Christ continues to pray for us, that our faith should not fail. Therefore, we are just barely saved. If, without knowing this fact, we boast saying it is "by my faith" or "by my belief," we are already tripped up by Satan without realizing it.

You may wonder if such a thing could happen, but it actually does. A lady who until recently had such good faith, suddenly lost her faith. When an inscrutable spirit works, we are helpless.

(1969)

*Click here to "From Simon to Peter (2)"