24 And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. 25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ 26 But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. 27 For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
28 “You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; 29 and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” 34 And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”
35 And He said to them, “ When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.” 36 And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘ And He was numbered with transgressors’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.” 38 They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”
Observation – What does it say
- While discussing who would betray Jesus the discussion turned to who was the greatest.
- In order to be great you must serve
- The greatest must become like the youngest.
- The greatest leader is the servant
- The one who is being served is thought to be greater than the server
- Jesus was one who served
- The apostles had stood by Jesus during all his trials
- The father gave Jesus a kingdom
- Jesus gave the right or ability to dine with Jesus in his kingdom
- The apostles will sit on thrones
- The apostles will judge the 12 tribes of Israel
- Satan demanded permission to assault Peter. Interesting the word demanded. Satan demanded of God?
- Satan needed permission to assault Peter
- Jesus prayed for Peter
- Jesus prayed Peter’s faith would not fail
- When Peter “turned again” seems to say that Satan will assault Peter. Peter would fall but would turn back.
- Peter was to strengthen his brothers after he turned again.
- Peter said he was ready to go to prison and die for Christ.
- Jesus knew that Peter would deny him
- Jesus knew when Peter would deny him.
- Jesus had sent the apostles out previously
- Jesus had sent the apostles out without anything.
- When Jesus had sent them out they did not lack for anything.
- Now the apostles were to take money, bag and sword
- What was written was fulfilled in Jesus
- Disciples point out 2 sword
- 2 swords were enough.
Interpretation – What does it mean
It appears the disciples were taken aback by learning that one of them would betray Jesus. It appears their defense for it not being them was they were going to be great in the Kingdom of God. That devolve into who would be greatest. Jesus pointed out that in the economy of the Kingdom of God the greatest is the one who serves rather than the one who is served. The apostles were promised they would sit on a throne and judge the twelve tribes of Israel but that required that they act as servants.
Having previously entered Judas and it appears that Satan wanted more. Satan demanded permission to assault Peter. It is unclear what exactly is happening here. Was Satan given permission to assault Peter but Jesus prayed for him that he would be able to turn back after the assault? The phrase “when once you have turned again strengthen your brothers,” makes me think that Peter would fall away and then return back to Christ.
What does this do the the doctrine of preservation of the saints. Nothing! Christ redeemed Peter and prayed that his faith would be strong enough to draw him back. Peter sinned and sinned greatly but nonetheless his relationship was restored. Is it possible for a saint to fall away? Peter’s example would answer yes. But there is also the good news that Christ’s prayed for him. And he was restored.
God is in control. Note that Satan had to get permission to assault Peter, just as he did for Job. There are no sneak attacks. Additionally, I Corinthian 10:13 says God will not allow Satan to mount an attack stronger than we can withstand “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
Application – How does it work?
Greatness is something to strive for. But to attain true greatness where it matters, that is, in the Kingdom of God, you must be a servant. We do not all serve in the same place or the same way. But we are all servants. It is easy to become jealous of someone else’s talent, someone else’s ministry, someone else’s recognition. But doing so we forget, we are but servants.
Peter’s experience and I Corinthians 10:13 should give you hope and peace. Often we try to use short cut phrase such as, “Once saved always saved” While I understand the sentiment of that statement it is not technically correct. God will draw the elect to Him. He will not allow one He has chosen from the foundation of the world to remain in a state of sin. He will restore the relationship not because of you but because of Him.