“And the Lord said: “Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired thee that he might sift thee as wheat, but I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not . . .” luke 22:31-32a KJV
What are the circumstances surrounding this statement?
Who was at the meeting that evening and why were they there?
What was about to happen within the next few hours?
What was on Jesus’ mind? What was on the disciples’ minds?
Was everyone “on the same page” here?
Why do you suppose Jesus singled Simon out and spoke directly to him? Why would he call him by name? Twice?
Does He ever have to call you by name to get your attention?
Why would “Satan desire” Peter? Or You? What’s his motive? Do you think his intentions will ever change?
Now, here’s a good place for you to use a bit of imagination: Can you picture in your mind what it would look or feel like to “be sifted as wheat?” Why do you suppose Satan would want to do that? Have you ever felt like you were being “sifted as wheat?”
Think for just a moment about the conjunction “but.” Our study here is not intended to be an English lesson. But why, though, would Jesus not just pause and continue with no interruption in the flow of thought? In our language “but” is almost like a stop sign. It isn’t simply a brief pause before continuing “business as usual.” It suggests a complete change of direction. To the left of the little conjunction is a statement of how things were and suggests the direction in which they will probably continue if allowed to run their course. The little conjunction interrupts that action abruptly and decisively and to your right there is an entirely new, different action which is set in motion. Read the statement without the conjunction and see what the effect is. If Satan is allowed to continue “sifting” Peter, wonder what the final, logical outcome might be
Think about the statement that follows: “I have prayed for you.” Think about that a bit! The Bible elsewhere speaks of Jesus as being our “mediator.” That means he approaches God on our behalf as our spokesperson! Think about that! What do you think about that? Can you imagine having a better person representing you before a holy God than His Son, Jesus? Can you conceive of the Father ignoring or refusing any request made by His Son on behalf of Peter? Or any other sinner? Or ME?!
Now, if you can get it into your mind that Jesus also cares for you just as he cared for Peter, what do you think would be the content and result of such a prayer?
Here’s just one other question: Why do you think Jesus placed so much importance on your faith not failing?