Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Everywhere we go there are warnings directing us of upcoming danger or consequences. A stop sign warns a driver of oncoming traffic. A bell reminds a student that class is about to start. A growl alerts a prowler that a potential target home has a protective watchdog. And a closed barrier warns of an open or rising drawbridge.
My hometown of Kearny, NJ, is located along the Passaic River. As a child I remember lying in bed listening to the deep, lonesome sound of barges pulling freight along the channel. Sometimes when our family would travel across town we would be forced to wait at a bridge while the boat lumbered through the passing. A warning barrier would come down and the drawbridge would rise into the air allowing the boat to pass. When all was clear the steel bridge would slowly drop into position again and we would follow the traffic over the moveable road to the other side of the river.
Drawbridges have always given me a sense of fearful wonder. They are amazing in design and purpose, but also a bit scary. I recently read an article that highlighted one of my deepest fears as a child. In 2015, 29-year-old James Montano was forced to jump his SUV across a rising drawbridge in Palm Beach, Florida, in order to avoid a long drop into the cold, murky waters. I was transported back to memories of the steel monstrosities I had travelled across time after time while shivers raced up my spine. How could this happen? Reading farther, I found the answer.
The man who performed this stunt did so because he failed to heed the warning. Distracted by his GPS, this man missed seeing the barrier coming down, crashed through it, and was forced to gun his engine to soar over the rising bridge in order to save himself and his passenger. A disaster was averted by only a few inches!
Jesus’ final days on earth were upon Him. The Son of God understood all that He and His disciples would suffer in the upcoming hours. Speaking to Simon Peter, Jesus gave a warning. “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again strengthen your brothers.”
Peter, the brash and prideful fisherman, ignored Jesus’ warning. “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” Again, Jesus warned Peter that his courage would fail before the rooster would crow and he would deny that he even knew Jesus.
Jesus gave a way to escape along with His warning. Upon arriving at the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus asked His disciples to wait and pray with Him so they wouldn’t enter into temptation. But again the disciples, distracted by exhaustion and sorrow, ignored the caution. They fell asleep at the wheel and cruised through the warning barrier unaware of the danger ahead.
Soon the soldiers came to arrest Jesus. His disciples, unprepared for the disaster, reacted by trying to fight and running away. Late that night Jesus’ prediction came true and Peter denied the One he loved so much.
The Bible is full of warnings for us, too. They are there to make us aware of danger and to protect us from making damaging decisions. We must stay alert and heed these warnings if we want to avoid disaster. The alternative could be very scary. It may be denying the Lord or even making a chilling jump across an open drawbridge! — Love, Mama