Summary: Satan would like nothing more than to destroy you and your witness for Christ. But, even if you fail, Jesus has prayed for you and wants you, out of the failure, to strengthen others when you recover.
There are several events that have shaped the course of my life. Some have been quite dramatic. And because of the nature of the drama surrounding those events, they remain vividly etched in my memory.
My wedding day, although over twenty five years ago, remains a fresh memory on the landscape of my mind.
The adoption of our son, Kevin. I have a friend whose parents tell him they cannot remember the circumstances surrounding his adoption. There are graphic remembrances of everything leading up to and including the day we went to get Kevin.
Being called as pastor to my first church.
All of these events drastically changed the course of my life and because the circumstances surrounding them are so spectacular, they remain intensely vivid.
There are other events that have also changed the course of my life ... but due to the fact that they were less dramatic, while still important, they do not come up with such clarity.
Our Scripture passage for tonight is one of those events that seems to be overshadowed by the dramatic events unfolding around them. In the twenty-second chapter of Luke we have events that have greatly impacted the Christian faith for 2,000 years.
The institution of the Lord’s Supper; our Lord praying with such intensity in the Garden of Gethsemane that He sweat great drops of blood;
Judas’ betrayal of Jesus; Peter’s denial of Christ;
All of these events have had a great impact on our faith. It is easy to understand that our Scripture passage would be somewhat obscured by these great happenings. But there is a tremendous lesson for us in these two verses in Luke 22:31-32.
Please open your Bibles and follow along as I read.
Jesus betrayer had departed. Jesus was with this handful of men to whom He would ultimately entrust the future of Christianity. They had been hand-picked.
They had been with Jesus for three years, learning at the greatest seminary ever known to man.
They watched as He had performed one miracle after another. They were there when He walked on water.
They saw Him turn water into wine, magnificent wine.
They marveled as He raised Lazarus from the dead. They were on the hillside that day when He took a small boy’s lunch, and fed a multitude. And yet, they were still lacking in their preparation ... their seminary under the tutelage of Dr. Jesus.
He was about to be crucified and He wanted to warn them of the terrible trial that awaited them.
As He looked at these men, He knew their strengths ... their God-given gifts, He knew their potential ... each and every one of them. But, He also knew their weaknesses, their vulnerabilities.
And He wanted them to know that in spite of their potential, they were going to fail, and fail miserably.
Satan Wants to Sift You Like Wheat
Look at verse 31. Although Jesus comments were spoken to Peter, His message was to all the disciples. The "you" in verse 31 is plural. His message was simple, Satan desires to destroy your faith.
He told them, "Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat."