I Have Prayed for You
April 5, 2022
Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers (Luke 22:31-32).
Jesus addressed Peter by his pre-discipleship name ‘Simon’. This is intentional. After declaring his unwavering loyalty to Jesus, Jesus knew Peter’s spirit was strong, but his flesh was weak. In the heat of crisis he would fail. It was his nature to do so. By calling him ‘Simon’, Jesus revealed that, even though Jesus called him Peter (petros: a piece of rock; strong), he was still Simon, impulsive, impetuous, inconsistent. This was not intended to denigrate him, but to ‘wake him up’ to the reality of his true nature that had not yet been fully redeemed. The fact that Jesus called him ‘Simon’ twice indicated a loving, yet solemn address to the man who would not betray his Lord, but would certainly deny Him. The one who penned the words, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8) was speaking from personal experience. No doubt he was thinking of Jesus’ warning and his subsequent failure to heed the warning of the Lord. We must all pay attention to His warning today.
Second, note that Satan has been, is, and will continue to seek to destroy Jesus, the Gospel, and those who engage in sharing the Gospel of Christ and His Kingdom to the world. To sift . . . like wheat is a word picture, a Hebraism. It means to shake violently for the purpose of separating. The meaning of the metaphor is that Satan continually sought ways to persecute, afflict, and cause distress in Peter’s life with the ultimate goal of separating him from Jesus Christ permanently - apostasy. In Job chapters 1 & 2, Satan sought permission to ‘shake Job loose’ from God’s protection. It didn’t work. His faith in God, and God’s grace upon Job, held him fast in the midst of unbearable trials. Never forget, Satan stands before the throne of God seeking to do the same thing to who have placed their faith in the Lord (Revelation 12:10).
Finally, there is a two-fold word of encouragement from Jesus. First, that Jesus is praying for His own. (John 17:9-10,15,20-21) I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them . . . 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; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
Second, the true saints of the Lord will persevere in faith to the end. Peter did fail, but his failure was temporary. He did not apostatize. He repented and was restored to ministry as Jesus said he would. This is a wonderful work of grace and faith in the life of the true Christian. God, by His own power through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, keeps or preserves the believer forever (Ephesians 1:13-14), that He who began the work of salvation in us will see it through to completion (Philippians 1:6). Amen, and thank You, Lord Jesus!