Simon, Simon
Based on Series of Sermons on the Repetition of Name and Titles
preached in PCC Worship Services, Apr 2013 to Feb 2014
Part 3 of 3 


We’ve been looking at Luke 22:31-34, where Simon’s name was repeated by our Lord. We saw something about Satan and something about Simon. In this concluding article, we will see something about our Saviour.

Something about our Saviour 

In these few verses, we have a wonderful picture of the three offices or the threefold office of our Saviour – prophet, priest and king.

Let’s look first at the office of prophet. We see the prophetic office of Christ in two ways. First, we see it in His knowledge of the unseen and of the future. Christ knew that Satan, who dwells in the spiritual realm and cannot be seen with the physical eyes, was plotting and moving to destroy Peter.

And He knew exactly how things would turn out – Peter would enter into the sieve of Satan and he would end up denying Him three times before the cock crows. But He also knew that that would not be the end of Peter. Instead, Peter would be converted and he would go on to strengthen his brethren.

Now all these things happened exactly as Christ predicted. He was indeed a true prophet of God. But more than predicting the future and speaking of things unseen to the human eye, Christ exercised His prophetic office to Peter by warning and admonishing him. And this is the second way we see Him as prophet in our text.

“Simon, Simon,” The Lord lovingly and tenderly addressed Peter. He was deeply concerned about his soul and his eternal welfare. He knew that something was not right in Peter’s heart and mind, and He gently and kindly admonished him. Like Martha, Peter was one of His precious sheep and He was not going to allow him to go on in the path of danger without warning him.

The frightening thing is that Peter did not see the danger ahead of him, but the comforting thing is that Christ saw it and He warned him about it.

It’s interesting that the Lord, when addressing him, used his old, pre-conversion name “Simon” rather than Peter. Perhaps, He did so to remind Peter that he was really manifesting his old sinful characteristics of instability and pride and impulsiveness.

“Simon, Simon, behold…” As if the double mention or repetition of his name was not enough, the Lord adds the word “behold” to really capture his attention and give emphasis to what He was going to say to him.

It was as if the Lord was saying, “Simon, Simon, wake up, there is danger before you. See where you are and see where you are headed! See that your pride is going to bring you to a fall!” What a solemn warning!

As our great prophet, Christ comes to us in our ignorance and indifference and over-confidence in order to warn and admonish us, and how desperately we need His prophetic admonitions! In our foolishness and forgetfulness, we often walk right into the trap of the evil one without even realising it. But thank God for our great prophet who graciously reveals to us the way of salvation, and who gently guides our feet into the path of righteousness.

Let me ask you: how are you hearing and receiving the prophetic admonitions of Christ our Lord? How are you receiving His word, whether through your own personal reading of it or through the biblical counsel of the elders or other brethren or especially through the public preaching of it? Will we listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd or will we despise His prophetic ministry to us?

The second office which Christ executes as our mediator is that of a priest. And here in our text, we especially see His priestly office in the words, “But I have prayed for thee…” The word ‘I’ in the Greek is emphatic. But I or I myself have prayed for you. These are some of the most comforting words in all of scripture that a believer can hear.

Now it is a great comfort to know that others are praying for us, especially other godly Christians and saints whom we respect greatly in the Lord. James 5:16 says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

But how much more comfort should it bring to our hearts when we know that not just any righteous man, but Christ Jesus, THE perfect God-man, the Only Mediator between God and man, has prayed and is praying for us!

Hebrews 7:25 says, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

Romans 8:34, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”

Christ continues to exercise His highly priestly office in heaven on behalf of all His people. His work of atonement may have been finished on the cross but His work of intercession is not yet over. He is still appearing in the presence of God to plead for us, as He did for Simon Peter.

At times when we feel ourselves so weak and discouraged and depressed, and when we cannot even bring ourselves to pray, remember that Christ is interceding for us, and His prayers on our behalf will never fail.

“But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not…” Notice what Christ prayed for in regard to Peter’s situation. He did not pray that Peter would not enter into Satan’s sieve. He did not pray that Satan would be prevented from tempting and testing Peter. Instead, He prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail even while he goes into Satan’s sieve. The Greek word for “fail” is ekleipo, from which we get the English word eclipse.

An eclipse occurs, for example, when the light from the sun is obscured or blocked by the moon passing between the sun and the earth. It was Satan’s desire that when he has finished violently shaking Peter in his sieve, Peter’s faith would go into a total eclipse or total failure; that it would die off completely. He was hoping that Peter would forever sit in the darkness of hell, just as Judas Iscariot would.

But Peter’s faith did not fail. It did not fail, not because Peter was so strong and good in himself. Far from it! Peter’s faith did not fail only and solely because Christ prayed for him. Faith is a gift of God, but so too is perseverance and continuance in the faith. Without the great high priest’s continual intercessions for us, our faith will fail.

Now, we know that Peter did fall into temptation and he did fail to keep his promise to the Lord. Three times, he denied Him, and not only that, but he denied Him under oath. Matthew 26:74 says, “Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man.” In other words, he took an oath before God and asked God to be his witness that he did not know who Jesus of Nazareth was. A more emphatic denial of the Lord by Peter was not possible.

In those moments of temptation, Peter’s faith was very faint and flickering, but it did not go out completely. The prayers and intercession of the Great High Priest on his behalf kept it going and later caused it to burn brightly again. Peter did not fully and finally fall away from the Lord, but he came back and was restored and greatly strengthened.

The irony is that through this whole sad episode of failure and denial, Peter became stronger in his faith and he even became an instrument in the hands of the redeemer to strengthen the faith of other believers. Only a sovereign God can do that. Only He can overturn and overrule the works of the wicked one and bring good out of evil.

And this brings us to the third office which Christ executes as our redeemer, namely, His kingly office. The last part of verse 32 says, “and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

As a prophet, Christ warned and admonished Peter. As a priest, Christ prayed and interceded on his behalf. But now as a king, Christ both converts Peter and then commissions him to his task.

“and when thou art converted…” Notice the word “when.” Christ didn’t say, “and if thou art converted” but “and when thou art converted.” It’s a declarative rather than hypothetical statement. Peter would certainly be converted. There was no possibility that he would remain in a state of denial and darkness.

The use of the word “converted” here does not imply that Peter was not converted prior to this incident. Rather, it speaks of restoration and recovery from a fall. One commentator puts it well when he says, “This conversion was not from a state of sin: Peter was so converted before: but it was from an act of sin into which he should lapse...”

Peter would be converted not only because Christ the prophet predicted it, and Christ the priest prayed for it, but also because Christ the king powerfully brought it to pass. He was the One who converted him.

Christ powerfully preserved and supported Peter in his temptation and He ordered it for His own glory and the good of His people. He restrained and overcame the enemy of Peter, even Satan, and did not allow him to gain the upper hand over Peter.

Satan desired Peter but Christ desired Peter even more, and in the end, because Christ has a much stronger claim on Peter than Satan, He rescued him from Satan’s clutches and turned him into a useful instrument in His kingdom. “and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” This statement is nothing less than the command and commission of a King to his servant, and where the word of the King is, there is power.

Peter received a great commission from the Lord. Not only was he to be a preacher of the gospel to the unconverted, particularly among the Jews, but he was also to be a strengthener and encourager of the brethren.

And we see that in the book of Acts, where Peter was such a strong pillar and key figure in the early years of the church. We see that also in the two inspired epistles which he wrote. For example, in 2 Peter 1:12, he wrote, “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.” That word “established” is exactly the same Greek word as “strengthen” in our text.

And again in 1 Peter 5:10, “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”

Throughout his ministry, Peter was greatly concerned that the brethren be established and strengthened in the faith because that was the commission that he had received from Christ his king.

But Peter would not have been a very effective strengthener and encourager of the brethren if he had not first gone through that humiliating experience of being sifted by the evil one, and then being restored by Christ the King. He might have been proud and despised the brethren who were weak. He might have lacked understanding and tenderness in his dealings with them.

But now that he himself had been humbled and had learnt many precious lessons through that incident, he was able to minister much more effectively to them. And so, for example, he wrote to the Christians in 1 Peter 5 to be humble and to be watchful. “be clothed with humility:” he wrote, “for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time…Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:5-6, 8)

Conclusion 

And so in these articles, we’ve considered something about Satan, something about Simon, and especially something about our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

We’ve seen how Satan is an active and aggressive enemy of our souls and he is ever desirous of destroying our Christian faith and life. We’ve also seen how dangerous it is to be ignorant of Satan’s devices, and to be proud and overconfident in facing the trials and temptations of life in our own strength and ability. But finally, we’ve seen something of how Christ carries out His threefold office of prophet, priest and king.

Thank God that we have such a meditator and redeemer. He is all that we need and more. We are so ignorant. We need Him as our prophet. We are unable to intercede for ourselves as we ought to and we are unable to bless ourselves. We need Him as our priest. We are so weak and helpless and vulnerable. We need Him as our king to protect us and restore us, and then to commission us in His service.

Dear unbelieving friends, do you not see how perilous and dangerous your state is even now. Every moment, you are in the hands of Satan, and should you die in your present state, you will follow him into the depths of hell forever. Will you not cry out to Christ, who is the only Saviour of mankind, and the only one who can give you true meaning in life and bring you to everlasting life? And O would you not do so while there is still time?

But finally, a word to you my brethren in Christ. I trust that you’ve been reminded not to be indifferent or unaware of the real spiritual battle that is going on all around both within you and outside of you, and that you would not be overconfident in your own abilities as Simon Peter was. But most of all, I trust that you would look to Christ as your all sufficient Saviour to meet all your needs.

A woman once said to her minister, “I want to divorce my husband because he cannot meet all my needs.” The minister said to her, “Since when was your husband designed to meet all your needs? There is only one who can meet all our needs, and He is Jesus Christ.”

And so let us take heed to the word of Christ and to His prophetic admonitions to us about sin and temptation. And at times when we do fail and we do fall, remember that Christ will never fail us. He is our faithful and compassionate high priest, and He ever lives to make intercession for us. Regardless of how low we fall, the arms of Jesus come lower still to lift us up.

And may we serve King Jesus faithfully as His loyal subject, and may we be used of Him in His kingdom to strengthen other brethren around us.

─Linus Chua