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Summary: Jesus promised Peter and his fellow disciples that they would be sifted as wheat. This sifting had profound implications for these men and could for us as well today.

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SIFTED LIKE WHEAT

Luke 22:24-34

24 Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.

25 And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called 'benefactors.'

26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.

27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.

28 "But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials.

29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me,

30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

31 And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you (“demanded that you be brought to trial”), that he may sift you as wheat.

32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."

33 But he said to Him, "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death."

34 Then He said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me."

What Jesus said to Peter sounds a little harsh. It’s actually not when you think about the context. Verse 22 follows one of the holiest scenes in all the New Testament. First Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles and then they celebrated their last Passover Meal together; the meal that became our Lord’s Supper. As soon as they finished the Apostles immediately began arguing about who would be the greatest in the kingdom.

There is no doubt that Peter was somehow involved in this discussion. We can almost see him arguing for his position before the others. It was then that Jesus took him aside and gave the leader of the Apostles some pretty disturbing news. Satan had asked for him and he had been turned over to the evil one.

Jesus warned Peter that he would be sifted like wheat. Let’s see what this meant to Peter and what it could well mean to us today.

1. SATAN’S SIFTING BEGAN WITH AN ARGUMENT (v. 24):

24 Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.

It seems the twelve were always disputing about something. It this case their argument had to do with personal pride: who would be greatest among them in the Kingdom of God. Really? Could they just not sit quietly and take in the importance of the moment? It was their pride that eventually got them in trouble.

How many of us get in trouble with God because of our pride? How many of us never become what God longs for us to be because of our pride? Jesus had to let his disciples know that it was not about them, it was about Him and what was to take place over the next few hours.

Sin will get you sifted!

2. SATAN’S SIFTING WAS A REQUEST THAT WAS GRANTED (v. 31):

31 And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, (“made an argument against you”) that he may sift you as wheat.

Apparently, Satan was required to go through a process before this sifting could take place. He had to go before God and be given the freedom to put his hands on God’s people. I know what you’re thinking: “God would never permit that.” But you would be wrong. God did and will grant the evil one permission to thrash His people. We know this because of how the story ends.

Do not think that just because you are saved and belong to God that the Lord will not permit you to be disciplined. He will do it because He knows it’s for your own good. The only reason we’re not always being assailed by Satan is because of God’s hand of protection. It is when that hand is removed that all hell breaks out!

Sin will get you sifted!

3. SATAN’S SIFTING WAS A FATE THAT WAS SHARED (v. 31):

31 And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.

Some might ask here, “Wasn’t it just Peter who got sifted?” It would seem that way except that the word “you” in verse 31 is plural and not singular. Jesus was apparently referring to all the disciples and not just Peter. He was speaking to Peter because Peter was in many ways the leader of the twelve. Of course Peter would be sharing the fate of everyone else.

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