S (Scripture): LK 22:31 “Simon, Simon, pay attention! Satan has demanded to have you all, to sift you like wheat, 22:32 but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. When you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” 22:33 But Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death!” 22:34 Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know me.”
O (Observation): Jesus points out to his disciples, especially Peter, that Satan will be testing them. Peter’s failure, which Jesus says will happen soon, seems to be more of a lapse of faith, rather than a complete lack of faith.
And the truly wondrous gift Jesus gives to Peter is this: prevenient grace! Jesus knows that Peter will falter, and yet, declares that Peter will once again regain his strength (“When you turn back”). This is indeed Good News!
Poor Peter can’t keep his mouth shut (“I’ll go with you to prison and death”). Peter’s adrenaline is pumping, but Jesus just kinda shakes his head and reminds Peter of what will happen. Even though Peter will falter, Jesus knows that God will guide Peter through the next several days and will give unnaturally strong faith to Peter.
“Prevenient grace” is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as: divine grace that is said to operate on the human will antecedent to its turning to God.
Ever known you were walking into a situation that you were going to mess up? Did your supervisor/ coach/ parent remind you that even when you mess up, that they would still believe in you?
That’s kind of like what happened with Peter. Jesus knew exactly what Peter would do when faced with the pressure of being associated with Jesus, once Jesus was on trial.
This gift of prevenient grace lies underneath all that we say and do. Jesus’ prevenient grace goes all the way back to before Peter was even called!
God knows the hairs on our head. God knows us in our mothers’ wombs. God’s grace kicks in even before we’re ready for it, even in light of the fact we will never deserve it.
What situations are you facing in which you know you’ll be needing this prevenient grace? Lift up your prayers to God and move forward in faith.
P (Prayer): Lord of all goodness and grace, remind us that, as unworthy as we are, you make us whole, you bring grace, and you equip us with grace so that we may serve you and our neighbor. Amen.