“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to have all of you, to sift you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to Me again, strengthen and build up your brothers.”
Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with You, and even to die with You.” But Jesus said, “Peter, let Me tell you something. The rooster will not crow tomorrow morning until you have denied three times that you even know Me” (Luke 22:31-34 NLT).
Tonight at Bible Study, the Lord gave me another revelation of His mad, crazy love for us, and I just had to write it down while it was still fresh in my spirit. I know the Scripture above doesn’t say one word about love, but isn’t that just like the Lord? He loves us in what is spoken and in what is unspoken. Let’s examine this text together, and see if He reveals His great love to you too.
Jesus and the disciples were sharing the Passover Meal at what we’ve come to call the Last Supper. Jesus has just finished washing everyone’s feet – even Peter’s, though as we all know, He didn’t do it without an argument from Peter.
When He came to Simon Peter, Peter said to Him, “Lord, why are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now why I am doing it; someday you will.”
“No,” Peter protested, “You will never wash my feet!”
Jesus replied, “But if I don’t wash you, you won’t belong to Me.”
Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”
Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you are clean, but that isn’t true of everyone here” (John 13:6-10).
Now, I have to be honest. If I was Jesus (aren’t you glad I’m not?), I would have punched Peter right in the mouth for arguing with me. You see, here was Jesus, on the very night He was going to be betrayed, arrested and crucified the next day, and Peter wanted to argue when Jesus was demonstrating His great love for him.
You see, Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him. He already knew that He would be betrayed and who would do it, and yet He even washed His betrayer’s feet! And understand this – He didn’t out Judas in front of the other disciples, who would have surely killed him on the spot in order to stop him. I feel certain that Peter would have killed him. No, Jesus did something powerful and amazing. He got on His hands and His knees… are you picturing the magnitude of this?… and He washed His betrayer’s feet, lovingly, gently, carefully, kindly! Are you beginning to get the revelation of His crazy love?
And then He comes to Peter, who wants to argue with Him… Now in Peter’s defense, he really thought he was being humble and righteous, and the truth is, I can relate to that. You see, sometimes I think I’m doing the right things for the right reasons, only to have the Lord reveal what is really in my heart. “The heart is more deceitful than anything else and mortally sick. Who can fathom it? I, ADONAI, search the heart; I test inner motivations; in order to give to everyone what his actions and conduct deserve” (Jeremiah 17:9-10 CJB).
So Jesus, knowing that it isn’t humility that Peter is espousing, but pride, gently holds his foot and looks into his eyes and says, “But if I don’t wash you, you won’t belong to Me.” I can almost hear the gentle sound of His voice as He lovingly speaks to Peter. I can almost see the look in His eyes.
I can imagine how Peter’s deceitful heart must have pounded as Jesus looked at him and spoke to him, as he suddenly realized how desperately he needed Jesus to wash him. I feel certain that I would have responded just like Peter, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!” Haven’t you ever felt that desperation? That need to be cleansed? Haven’t you ever been astonished and dismayed at the filth within you? I know I have.
And then, here comes that mad, crazy love again as Jesus says to Peter, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you are clean, but that isn’t true of everyone here.” No anger or irritation over Peter’s argumentative ways. I imagine there was a smile – even laughter in His countenance as He responded to Peter, who really did love Him.
Then at the proper time Jesus and the twelve apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, “I have looked forward to this hour with deep longing, anxious to eat this Passover meal with you before My suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat it again until it comes to fulfillment in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 22:14-16 NLT).
I can almost see Him looking intently, lovingly at each disciple, memorizing their faces, because after tonight, He wouldn’t see them again until after His resurrection. I can picture Him looking at each one, loving him, praying for him, because He knew what each one would need to get past the heartache that was soon to come. As His gaze fell on Peter, He knew that Peter would soon deny Him, not once but three times, and that not one of the disciples would stand by Him when He needed them. But still, he looks at them and loves them and prays for them, and He continues to impart His love and His wisdom into them throughout the meal.
And as the meal progresses, He looks again at Peter. “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to have all of you, to sift you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to Me again, strengthen and build up your brothers.” I can just see His eyes piercing into Peter’s eyes and I can imagine how uncomfortable Peter felt, as all other eyes turned to look too, none of them understanding what Jesus was trying to impart to them, and yet all of them sensed the seriousness of the moment.
And Peter, perhaps feeling awkward and uncomfortable, not understanding Messiah and certainly not understanding what Yeshua was really saying to him, replied, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with You, and even to die with You.” Bless his heart! He was so foolish and so confused about what was happening, and his own heart had deceived him. “The heart is more deceitful than anything else and mortally sick. Who can fathom it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 CJB)
Jesus knew what was in Peter’s heart better than Peter did because, “I, ADONAI, search the heart; I test inner motivations; in order to give to everyone what his actions and conduct deserve” (Jeremiah 17:10 CJB). Therefore, Jesus gently spoke to him, “Peter, let Me tell you something. The rooster will not crow tomorrow morning until you have denied three times that you even know Me.”
There was no bitterness in His words, no anger – only love… mad, crazy love… the kind of love that can’t be measured… the kind of love that knew before the foundations of the world were laid, that this beloved disciple would deny Him and turn his back on Him, yet He still chose to create him… He still chose him to build His church… This mad, crazy love led Jesus to pray for Peter so that his faith would not fail, and after he repented of his sin and turned to Jesus once more, he was given the responsibility of strengthening the others!
Do you see what I mean about mad, crazy love? Peter, who right then, (aside from Judas who never really belonged to Christ) was the weakest link in the chain, but Jesus wanted him to strengthen the others! He trusted Peter to do this, because He loved him and He prayed for him…
Brothers and sisters, this is a message for all believers, not for the unbelievers… Do you know that right now, Jesus is praying for you? You see, He knows every dirty detail of your life and of mine. He knows every denial we made against Him, every lie we uttered in His name, every time we were offended by Him, and yet He still loves you… He still loves me with a mad, crazy love and He prays for us… Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25 NKJV).
Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is the mad, crazy love revelation the Lord gave me tonight… He loves YOU and He loves ME with the same mad, crazy love He loved Peter with, even though He knows the wickedness and sickness inside of our hearts… and I am eternally grateful for that mad, crazy love!
Cheryl A. Showers