Read Luke 22:1-71
On January 17, 1988, the Cleveland Browns were playing the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game. The Browns were trailing 21-3 entering the third quarter. Bernie Kosar, the Browns quarterback, led the Browns offense to come from behind, to within 1 score of tying the Broncos. With 1:12 left in the game, Browns running back Earnest Byner fumbled on the Broncos 1 yard line, while trying to score a touchdown to pull within one point. Despite being remembered for “The Fumble” Byner had a successful career. Cleveland fans continued to love and support him. He was traded and went on to win a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins in 1991.
Simon, Simon, Satan has asked
Satan desired to have Peter, but here we see Satan’s restraint. His power is limited, but he is active. His existence has been revealed and he has the will to destroy us, but not the power.
We are saved from his cruel and hellish hate by the intercession of Jesus.
to sift all of you as wheat.
The process of sifting wheat is to loosen the chaff from the edible grain. The wheat is spread onto a floor and beaten till the chaff is broken loose from the grain. The grain is then thrown into the air, where the lighter chaff is blown off by the breeze and the heavier grain falls back to the ground. It can make for an uncomfortable truth that God allows us to be sifted as wheat. Satan must ask permission before he can test us. And yes, sometimes God agrees, as with Job. The idea that the enemy has to ask permission, means that there are times when it is denied. What we need to comprehend here is the Sovereignty of God. We belong to Him. How many times has God spared us from this sifting? We are only aware of the “sifting” times, because the trials are real. Nothing that happens in our lives is outside of His knowledge and authority.
But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.
Peter was not promised that he would be saved from the sifting process. There are times when the “sifting” process, as it benefits the wheat, will benefit us. When we are “sifted” as wheat, our faith is battered by the reality of our circumstance. Jesus prays for the critical element of victory, our faith. Peter’s courage failed but not his faith.
When we are “sifted” weaknesses are removed, failure is shaken away and our faith can shine.
And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.
Jesus shares both a promise and a responsibility in this verse, when He told Peter he would “turn back.” This is a promise of restoration. Peter will be restored to his position with the apostles. Jesus, along with the promise, also gives Peter a responsibility: “to strengthen his brothers.” This is a responsibility to serve, so that the victory in Jesus will be multiplied. The sifting as wheat is a process that removes what is not of God and prepares us to strengthen others
Jesus promises Peter that he will recover after “the fumble” of his denial. Those times when we experience a setback hurt, but they also allow us to show our underlying confidence in Christ. The strength of our faith is judged by our ability to recover. Jesus assured Peter that He had prayed his faith would not fail. This encourages us and gives us confidence that He sustains us, that we can be useful again to Him even after we “fumble.”