Scripture Reading: Joshua 3:1-5:12 / Luke 22:1-38 / Psalm 50:1-15
A “Know-It-All” is a person who acts as though they know everything and dismiss the opinions, comments or suggestions of others. I believe we have all been guilty of being a know-it-all at some time in our life. As a teen, maybe you had an attitude thinking you knew what was best for your life while believing your parents didn’t have a clue. We can struggle with a “know-it-all” attitude with our co-workers, boss, spouse, friends or family.
Peter displayed a “know-it-all” attitude with Christ. Jesus told Peter, “Simon, Simon, satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31,32) Peter’s “know-it-all” response, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” (vs.31) Jesus announced Peter would deny Him three times.
Peter’s response was not a reflection of his spiritual immaturity or a bold confession of faith… it revealed his pride. Just a few hours before, Peter objected when Jesus tried to wash his feet. Peter was not a spiritual slouch and was a leader among the disciples. In fact, Jesus called Peter “The Rock” because of his declaration of Christ’s divinity. Yet “The Rock” needed to be broken of his pride before God could use him.
We are no different. Spiritual pride blinds us to our true condition. Pride does not measure spirituality with God’s Word but with others, “I’m not that bad… I don’t do what they do.” The hard heart of pride is one of the most difficult things to penetrate. Those who are so “spiritual” are hard of hearing - Peter’s pride drowned out Christ’s warning and Peter had more faith in himself than Christ’s words. Jesus warned him, “You will be sifted.”
Wheat was sifted by putting it in a box with a screened top, turned over and shaken violently until the dirt and chaff shook out. Spiritual sifting is a necessity for pure faith and it is often accompanied by unexpected and violent circumstances. When we don’t think there is anything else left to shake out, more prideful chaff falls out. Peter’s spiritual pride was delivered a devastating blow and his spiritual eyes were forced open. Peter talked a lot about dying for his faith but he first needed to die to himself. Unless a man dies to himself, they can’t live for Christ.
Something died in Peter that day but something was also birthed...a humble and surrendered heart began to beat. Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail. His faith did waver but it brought him to a place of repentance and restoration. Something happened inside Peter that three years of teaching could not accomplish and Christ’s warnings could not shake. He went through the fire of purging, humbling and sifting. Jesus knew Peter was safe in his sorrow and would come forth a better man. Sifting is not meant to destroy us but to restore us. Like Peter, Jesus sees something in us that is worth sifting… because we are worth saving!