Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
The story of Simon Peter causes us to ask a very important question: “Why does God allow us to be spiritually attacked? Why does He not shield us from such an invasion?” We know that Peter is not the only one to ever faced Satan’s attack. Job was attacked and so was the Apostle Paul. Many have noted that when Jesus said, “Satan has asked for you”, the pronoun ‘you’ is plural. In other words, “Satan wants a shot at all of you.” All of the apostles we’re under spiritual attack that night. Jesus said, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’” (Matthew 26:31)
So again, we return to our question, “Why does God allow us to be spiritually attacked?” First, we should note that Jesus referred to Peter that night as ‘Simon.’ Simon is the New Testament equivalent to the Old Testament name Simeon. No doubt Peter’s parents thought that they were doing something very biblical when they named their son Simon or Simeon. But later, after Simon had been called to follow Jesus, the Lord changed his name to Peter which means rock or stone. But on this particular night, Jesus did not call him Peter. Instead, He called him by his old name – Simon. Not only did the Lord say his name once, but He also said it twice. Whenever a word is repeated in the Bible it is done so for emphasis. “Simon, Simon” means pay attention to what I am about to say. Actually, the way Jesus said this is a command. “Simon, you better pay attention to what I am telling you. Why should Simon pay attention? Satan had been insisting for the opportunity to test Peter’s faith. Maybe, when Jesus called him by the name Simon, He was trying to awaken him to the fact that there was still a lot of his old nature in him. “You think you have arrived. You think you’ve got this. You think you’re invincible and that you can handle whatever man or devil throws against you. But what you don’t realize is that there is still a lot of your old fleshly nature in you.”
I believe that the reason Jesus allowed Peter to be attacked was to prune away some of his old fleshly nature. “And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.” (Luke 22:31) This is the only time this particular word translated as ‘sift’ is used in the Bible. I doubt that Satan used this word when he asked to attack Peter, so why did Jesus use it when He spoke to Simon? For one thing, it reveals what Satan was wanting to do to Peter. This particular word means to agitate our faith to overthrow it. In other words, Satan wanted to turn Peter’s world upside down and cause him to turn away from Christ. But this word also referred to what God wanted to do in his life. Sometimes this word was used to refer to a baker sieving flower or a farmer threshing wheat. Why does a baker sieve flower? They do it to refine the flour and to remove all the lumps. Flour that has been sieved will make a better cake. Why does a farmer thresh wheat? He does so to separate the grain from the chaff. The chaff is useless, therefore is to be discarded. It’s the grain that the farmer is after. So why did Jesus allow Satan to sieve Peter’s faith? He allowed this to happen to purify Peter’s faith. Notice what Jesus said to him, “and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:32) Jesus knew that Peter was about to enter the darkest moment of his life; yet, the Lord also knew what would happen on the other side of this. Peter would come out of this storm a better man.
Our time is gone for today, so you will need to join me again tomorrow. God bless you brethren.