Summary: Satan has a plan for each of our lives - to sift us like wheat. If we recognize it we can overcome it in the power of the Holy Spirit
There is a philosophy out there today that says man is basically good and if you take off the restraints and the laws we will eventually grow into a utopian world where crime and poverty will be a thing of the past. There’s only problem with that philosophy: its dead wrong; its 180 degrees out of phase with reality.
Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? NKJV
Ephesians 4:17-19 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. NIV
The Bible says that our hearts are not good on the inside, they are black and sick with an incurable disease called sin. Left alone we don’t gradually get better we very quickly get worse.
That is no more evident than with the power of darkness that is unleashed in the second half of Luke 22 where we see what man does to the Son of God-inspired by the enemy: Lucifer.
In this chapter we see Jesus giving men the straight truth, that Lucifer seeks to make them an enemy of God and will use any means possible to do it. We see Judas betray Jesus with an act of respect, we see Peter betray Jesus by self interest, we see men with power mock and beat Jesus, and finally men in authority deny Jesus even when He clearly represents who He is.
It’s tough to look at because as people we are capable of doing the same thing when we allow the power of darkness to rule. But in the midst of it, God’s truth speaks out, and there are lessons for us to learn when faced with the power of darkness in our own lives.
Before we get into Luke I want to explore the character of the mastermind of evil: Satan. Jesus describes him in two ways in the gospel of John:
John 8:44-47 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God." ESV
And: John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. ESV
The book of the Revelation gives two other names for Satan: Abaddon, which means destruction, and Apollyon, which means destroyer. Lucifer used to be one of God’s chief angels. In Isaiah 14 we read how Lucifer, called "Day Star, son of the dawn" wanted to be God. He was thrown out of his place and his anger and jealousy towards God or anything that God loves has never abated. So his character is to never tell the truth and his action is to always do things that hurt or destroy. Did Satan ever have to touch Jesus? No. He prompted men to do his bidding for him. As we go through the section let’s look for the lie and how Satan steals, kills, and destroys in each of these situations then look for God’s truth and what could have happened had faith ruled instead of the power of darkenss.
Verses 31 - 34
We will fail the Lord when we try to hold onto Him or serve Him from our own strength
Oddly, and this doesn’t show up in English, the "you" in verse 31 is plural (2x), but all four times in verse 32 it is singular. It is almost as if Satan’s aim was to attack all those that belonged to Jesus and represented him in the world. The Father, though, would allow only one to be tested, or "sifted" in this way, and that was the leader of the disciples: Peter.
Good old head strong Peter wasn’t listening to Jesus. Instead of just saying "thank you Lord for praying for me," he got his bravado all up and declared that he was capable of supporting Jesus no matter what. We all know that’s not what happened, but it is good for us to see that man’s best falls far short-that without the power of Jesus in us we are incapable of following or belonging to Him. Later we see Peter attempt to defend Jesus with a sword, which fails miserably and was actually counter to what God was doing. Then we see him try to get close to Jesus but will not own his relationship with him-all signs of his total failure in the flesh to belong to Jesus.