Sifted Like Wheat

For many years, Luke 22:31-34 has ranked high on my list of favorite scripture passages:

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”

Breaking this portion of scripture apart, we find:

  1. “Satan has demanded to sift you like wheat”. I believe this applies to everyone who is a believer and follower of Christ, as he would like nothing better than to trip us up in any way he possibly can.
  2. “But I have prayed for you”. Jesus is praying for us, and interceding on our behalf before His Father’s throne.
  3. “That your faith may not fail”. Nowhere does this imply that Jesus’ prayer was for Peter to be removed from the sifting or not have to go through it, but rather that Peter’s faith would not fail while he was enduring it, in the midst of it.
  4. “When once you have turned again”. This tells me that Jesus knew that no matter what struggles Peter would go through, no matter what temptations he faced or emotions he may have felt – including denial, fear, and temporary abandonment of Him even after he had just told Jesus he was willing to both be imprisoned or even die for him – Jesus knew Peter would turn back to Him again.
  5. “Strengthen your brothers”. So even though Peter was about to be sifted and would see himself as a failure, Jesus was not finished with Peter.  He had a plan and purpose for Peter’s life, knowing that because of the sifting, Peter’s faith had increased, and he would be a valuable part in strengthening and encouraging others as a result.

Where are you in your journey with Christ, and how does this portion of scripture apply to you?  Perhaps, like Peter, you feel washed up or like you have made too many past mistakes that you feel disqualify you from being of any use to God.  Or perhaps you are going through a period of testing and may have been wondering where God is and why He was allowing it to happen.  Wherever along the path you may be, I pray this scripture encourages you.  Satan plans to test each of us, but Jesus is praying for us that in the midst of the testing our faith does not fail.  And He is not finished with us, because He knows we will turn back again, and now that we’ve come through the sifting, we have a job to do!



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