“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan had demanded permission to sift you like wheat; ”
(Luke 22:31; NASB)
We have an enemy that is constantly looking for an opening to tempt us to do the wrong things. He is referred to as the one who “deceives the whole world” (see Rev. 12:9). Jesus called him the “father of lies” (John 8:44). In today’s verse we see Satan has “demanded” permission (some translations say he “asked”) to sift the disciples like wheat. In the Greek, the word “you” in this verse is plural. This meant that it was not only Peter that the devil wanted to mess with, but all the disciples. I’m sure most Christians have felt as though they were being sifted by the devil at times.
How could the devil be so bold as to demand permission to do anything to Jesus’ disciples? Because he is the prince (or ruler) of this world (see John 14:30). In the previous verses we are told the disciples had been arguing about which one of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24). This showed their prideful hearts, which gave the devil legal right to demand permission to mess with them, which he was granted.
Jesus’ next statement is very interesting. He said: “but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32). Jesus didn’t offer to keep the devil from messing with the disciples. He said He had prayed for them but obviously they would have to go through whatever the devil had in mind. Their faith would be tested by seeing their friend and Lord tortured and crucified. They would scatter, and Peter would deny he even knew Jesus. Peter would turn from Jesus out of fear, but Jesus would not hold that against him. He prayed for him and the others and told Peter to help his brothers after he turned back to Him.
You may have entertained wrongful thoughts and attitudes such as pride, vengeance, or unforgiveness. All of us have at some point. But in Jesus we have an
Advocate who intercedes for us to the Father (see 1 John 2:1). We may have to suffer some consequences for our bad behavior or attitude, but when we turn back, Jesus is there to lift us up. The Holy Spirit in us convicts us of those things harmful to our relationship with God. We can then turn back to His loving arms (repent) knowing that He forgives us.
The disciples came together after the crucifixion. Peter was restored from the guilt of his denying Jesus and given a calling for his life (see John chapter 21). He will do the same for you. Hebrews 7:25 says: “He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” It’s never too late to turn back, regardless of how far from Him you may have drifted. No matter how much you think you’ve done wrong, He will forgive you and restore your relationship with Him. Have faith that He will not leave you nor forsake you.
Have a great week and God bless.
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