Simon had a dramatic transformation in his life and Jesus changed his name to Peter. From that point on, in the Bible, we hear him called Simon Peter or just Peter. Jesus calls him by one of those names, unless Peter is behaving or thinking like he did before he had his dramatic change.
Immediately following the Last Supper, Jesus speaks with Peter.
“But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
— Luke 22:32 (NLT)
There are a few things about this verse that just blow me away:
Jesus cares for us so much, He prays to God the Father on our behalf. Jesus isn’t running through His prayer request list here — He, instead, is praying for Peter’s faith not to fail. Jesus isn’t manipulating lives or decisions, that isn’t what He does, he is praying for strength for His friend. When was the last time your prayed spiritually proactively for the people in your life?
The concept of Jesus praying kind of makes my brain hurt. Jesus is part of the Trinity and still prays. It gut checks me that the Son of God values prayer to the point that He does it Himself. There are days that I forget to pray, other days that my prayers feel rushed or unfocused. Jesus, our perfect example of humanity on earth — who never once sinned — still valued and needed prayer. If Jesus Himself prayed, I should be stepping up my game.
This verse is a reminder that God does not avoid or abandon us when we slip back into bad habits, He instead lovingly and gently calls us on it. He doesn’t beat Peter down with a lecture, He simply calls Peter by his old name since he had just spoken like his old self. Jesus doesn’t ignore reality, but He faces it with love. When we mess up or lose focus, Jesus is right there to dust us off and put us back on His path. Notice that before Jesus even calls Peter, “Simon,” he, “pleads in prayer,” for him. I’m really good at picking out people’s flaws, but even if I’m approaching them in a loving way, am I praying for them first? Jesus did. He gave us the example of valuing prayer, so should we.