Summary: How to deal with Satan’s attacks, especially when we have failed God.
28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials.
29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me,
30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
31 "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.
32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
33 But he replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death."
34 Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."
Daniel Morgan commanded a unit called Morgan’s Raiders during the Revolutionary War. He was on the colonist’s side. It was his strategy that led to the turning point in the war at the Battle of Saratoga. Morgan told his riflemen, “Forget the poor fellows who fight for six pence a day. Concentrate your fire on the officers. In fact, try your best to hit their epaulets that officers wear on their shoulders.” As a result of Morgan’s orders, British General Burgoine’s officer ranks were so depleted that he surrendered at Saratoga.
Well, Morgan’s strategy is still the way to win a battle. When Jesus walked the earth, He knew all too well the fierceness of Satan’s power—that he comes with every weapon in hell to sift the Lord’s people. He has been doing this from ancient times, when Job was severely put to the test. I don’t think any of us can comprehend the great conflict right now that exists in the spirit realm.
Nor do we realize how determined Satan is to destroy all believer’s faith who have fixed their hungering hearts firmly on going all the way with Jesus. You see, when we make the decision to follow Christ in total obedience, an alarm goes off in hell. We become a threat to the kingdom of darkness and a prime target of demonic forces.
“Simon, Simon, Jesus says, Satan has asked for you that he may sift you as wheat.”
Here our Lord introduces the subject of sifting saints. In His day, grain workers used a sieve just before they sacked grain. They shoveled wheat into a square box covered with netting, then turned the box upside down and shook it violently. The grit and dirt fell through the netting until only the grain kernels remained.
So then, “sift” in this verse means “to be turned upside down, shaken and separated–to be shocked through the agitation of sudden trials.” These trials can take many forms—sickness, death of a loved one, loss of reputation, financial disaster, loss of employment, broken relationships, etc. The whole purpose of this sifting is that we would turn from our faith!
Jesus used this analogy to say to Peter, “Satan believes you’re nothing but grit and dirt and that when he puts you in the sieve and shakes you, you will fall through to the ground.”
Not unlike what Satan said to God re: Job. “Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."
Please note that Jesus did not pray that Peter would be spared from Satan’s sifting. Rather He prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail. That is Satan’s prime target: OUR FAITH!
1. NOTICE WHEN THE SIFTING CAME
It came immediately after a great revelation. Peter and the other disciples had jusr received a promise from Jesus that they would have a fruitful ministry. In verse 29, Jesus said, “I confer on you a kingdom.” He told them that they would eat and drink at His table and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. In essence, He told them that He was going to channel His kingdom through them, just as the Father had made Him a channel of His glory. In addition to this, Jesus said that they would become princes, ruling and reigning with Him.
So be on your guard when you’ve had a great spiritual experience–when you feel the Lord’s presence and power in your life—when you move closer to Him than ever before.
I can almost hear the devil saying to God, “So, You think Peter is a rock do You? You think you can build your church on his kind of faith. Well, let me put him to the test. Let me place him in my sieve and shake him for a while. He won’t last. He’ll cave in.”