About Jesus Steve Sweetman
"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you all as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have returned to me, strengthen your brothers". - Luke 22:29 Ė 30 (NIV)
An interesting point in this Scripture is that Satan "asked God" (some scholars use the word demand instead of ask) to sift Simon and the rest as wheat. I have always thought that Satan asked God to sift Simon only, but the NIV for good reason says that Satan wanted to all the disciples ("sift you all"). The sifting process was a heavy duty shaking. You shake the wheat so the wheat would fall to the ground and the left over chaff remains in what was called a sieve to be thrown out. The disciples would really be going through a major shaking during Jesusí time of trouble.
Once again, as in other places in the Bible, Satan had to be granted permission to attack the disciples. It shows us Satanís limited power over Godís people.
Another point is that Jesus prayed for Peter, "that his faith would not fail". Some Greek scholars like to use the words "begged for", instead of "prayed for". This begging suggest real intercession on the part of Jesus for Peter. This is a key thought. Jesus knew that Peter would fail, that is his actions would deny Him, but Jesus was more concerned with the faith of Peter in this instance. He knew Peter would fail Him. What Jesus did not want to happen was to see Peterís faith fail. We may slip up at times, but our faith, our trust, our reliance totally on Jesus must never fail. We must always come back to Him and trust Him alone for our Salvation, and for our very lives. Jesus was most concerned about Peterís trust in Him, less concerned about some of his outward failures. I am not saying that Jesus is not interested in the things we do. I do strongly believe that if someone comes to Jesus in true faith, there will be a noticeable changed in the way he lives,
Yet another point in this verse is that Jesus told Peter, once he returned from his denial that he should strengthen his brothers. Some translators like the word support instead of strengthen. Jesus seemed to have put Peter in a place of responsibility here. It also may mean that the rest of the disciples were tempted in some way as well. This we know probably is true since Satan asked to tempt all of them. It seemed to be Peterís job to help the rest out after he came back to the Lord.
The lessons I see here for us is that it is entirely possible that Satan could request, or demand that he sift us as well. I suppose if we are not a threat to him it may not be worth his while fooling around with us. If we are making a difference in the world around us he may just want to go after us. If God decides to give him permission to shake us, then we can be assured that Jesus will be begging His Father on our behalf so our faith will stay in tact. The bottom line for us is that we continue to have faith, to trust in, totally rely on Jesus for every aspect of our life.