It was Passover. Jesus told the disciples about His coming crucifixion.
Then He had a warning for Simon Peter. “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat….I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me’” (Luke 22:31,34).
Satan Will Reveal Your Faults
People sift wheat to reveal the dirt and debris in it. Satan wants to surface your faults so that he can accuse you before Almighty God. The name Satan means enemy.
There is someone else who also points out your faults, and that is the Holy Spirit. What is the difference between Satan’s accusation and the Holy Spirit’s conviction? The devil accuses us to condemn us; the Holy Spirit convicts to cleanse us (and that is how to get closer to God).
Your Strengths Will Sabotage You
Peter was so sure of his own ability. “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33). But Peter sabotaged himself.
People are trying to develop self-confidence today, but that is the one thing we need to lose! “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26). If you do not deny yourself, you will deny Jesus.
Jesus was in Gethsemane, praying in agony. “When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. Then He said to them, ‘Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation’” (Luke 22:45-46). Prayerlessness is arrogance. We are quite confident that we can make it without prayer.
When the saints of God fell in the Bible, they fell at their strongest points. Peter’s strongest point was his self-confidence and fleshly courage.
He jumped into the battle just before he denied Christ. The crowd laid hold of Jesus—“Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear” (John 18:9a).
Wrong enemy. (Ephesians 6:12.) Wrong weapon. (2 Corinthians 10:4.) Wrong attitude. (James 1:20.) Wrong energy—he tried to fight in the strength of his flesh; no wonder he failed. (Matthew 26:41.)
Your Actions Will Surprise You
Peter did not expect to deny Christ.
If you are trusting in your own abilities to stand true, you will find that you are not as strong as you think you are.
Christ Will Secure You
“And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren’” (Luke 22:31-32; emphasis added).
In His High Priestly prayer over His disciples, Christ said, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one….I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word” (John 17:15,20). And Jesus is still praying for you. (See Hebrews 7:25.)
Why does God allow suffering? Jesus could have stopped Satan from sifting Peter. But by this sifting, this cursing, stumbling, failing Peter became the flaming apostle of Pentecost, because Jesus Christ prayed for him. (Read Acts 2.)