Peter: Shifted as Wheat
Primary Purpose: God’s allows a sifting process to make us into what he
desires for us to be and do.
We are going to look at the example of Peter this morning and see how God desires to mold us into Christlikeness just as he did with Peter. He uses
trials and all sorts of circumstances to do that. Not that all circumstances that happen to us will be good. I heard about a man who always said “This is
good.” to everything that happened to him.
It seems that he went with his king on a hunting trip. He loaded the guns and the king shot them. Evidentially, he loaded one gun wrong and
when it went off it shot the king’s thumb off. Examining the situation, the friend said as usual, “This is good.”
Well, the king got mad and threw his friend in jail. “No, this is not good.” About a year later, the king goes on another hunting trip to a area
where there are cannibals. The Cannibals capture him and tie his hands and feet and bound him to a stake to cook.
As they come near, they find the kings finger is shot off. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone less than whole. So, they set the king free.
As he returned home, he felt guilty about putting his friend in jail for a year. So, he goes to the jail and apologizes to his friend. He explained what happened to him. He says, “I’m very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this.”
“No, his friend replied, “This is good.”
“What do you mean, This is good.”
“How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?”
“If I had not been in jail, I would have been with you.”
The fact is is that we all go through trials and difficulties. Jesus warned Peter that he would go through a testing period in our Scripture reference today. But, Jesus apparently believed that this process was necessary for Peter. Jesus called it a sifting like wheat.
Sifting is a two stage process I have been told. One step involves tossing the wheat in the air to allow the chaff to blow away in the wind. The
second stage involves a sieve that would be used to separate what is valuable and useful from what is not profitable. In this way, the farmer cleans the
wheat and prepares it for the market. He is preparing it for a purpose.
God does that with us. He allows people, circumstances, and events in our lives to take place in order to sift us. Notice what Jesus said to Peter in Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you turn back,
strengthen your brother.” NIV.
We might have expected Jesus to say, “Satan, demanded permission to sift you like wheat, but I didn’t let him.” I wish it had said that, but that’s not what it says. Jesus allowed it in Peter’s life even though he loved Peter. It had to go through Jesus before Satan got permission, but Jesus did allow it. Notice also that Jesus encouraged Peter by telling him “I have prayed for you.” v.32. He believed that Peter is eventually going to be stronger from having gone through this. He says, “When you turned back” not if, but when. Jesus sees what Peter can become, not just what Peter is. Jesus sees what you can become also. He sees what is valuable after all the chaff is destroyed.