March 18

Restored to Serve, Pt. 1

Luke 22:31-34 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.”

Peter’s story in the gospels is full of drama, and more highs and lows than most people experience in a lifetime. He was in Jesus’ inner circle, hearing things that few others had the opportunity to. He walked on water, saw Jesus transfigured, and was the first disciple to see the risen Lord after His resurrection. He also denied the Lord three times, and “wept bitterly” at his sin.

Peter’s restoration back to loving service is one of the most exquisite passages in all literature, not just the Bible. Yet the beginning of that restoration was not the call to Peter on the beach, or Jesus’ conversation with him. It was an incident often quickly passed over by readers, one that occurred quite a while before the cross:

Matthew 8:14 Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them.

There is a lesson here, of course. We are called to serve, and when we are raised up in any way, it is to continue serving. But this was, for Peter and for us, a prophetic occurrence as well. Peter saw someone laid out, unable to serve, counted out for the moment. Then Jesus touched her, she was healed, and she was restored to health and service.

This had to have left an impression on Peter, though one can guess that he might not have realized its full import until well after his own restoration. But the Lord put that incident into Peter’s experience, and the Holy Spirit made sure it was recorded in Matthew for us to read. For Peter, it gave the Lord something to use in Peter’s own experience to lay a foundation of hope—that one can be restored to service. We will never know until we see him and ask him, but its presence in the gospel shows that the Lord was not only praying for Peter, but had laid a strong act of healing and restoration into his experience, one as close as his own wife’s mother.

If Peter didn’t end up looking to that experience for hope, let us not make that same mistake. Jesus did something that He knew could bring hope to Peter later, in his darkest hour. How about you? What have you seen the Lord do, for you, or perhaps for others? Take time to think about that today. Having a strong remembrance of His power and faithfulness will be a valuable, encouraging memory for you someday when it’s greatly needed.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for showing us in Your word that You put a prophetic act of hope and encouragement into Peter’s life. I believe that’s a picture of Your heart, and of what You do. Please bring to remembrance those things You’ve placed in my life, so that I am reminded in the future of what You’ve done in my past.