What’s It Like to Be Sifted as Wheat?
Updated: May 5, 2021
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.” But he said to Him, "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death." Then He said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me."
Operating behind the scenes during the Lord's upcoming trial and crucifixion, Satan wanted to do the same thing to Peter that he had done to Judas--i.e., betray Jesus. We are already familiar with Satan's activities in the story of Job. Standing before the throne of God, Satan seeks permission to afflict Job severely, and the Lord gives him permission to do so with the condition that he spare Job's life. Certainly one of the things the Evil One wants to do is to cause God's people to depart from and rebel against Him, just as he himself had done before the creation of the universe. He is the great Apostate and Rebel, who managed to pull off a major coup in God's Heavenly Army by inciting a third of His angels to rebel as well.
The Lord Jesus was aware of the apparent interchange between Satan and God regarding Peter. Our Savior, the great Advocate, appealed to His Father on Peter's behalf. Thankfully, that prayer was answered. Although Peter would deny the Lord three times, he would not utterly fall away--the precise thing that had happened to Judas. Instead, Peter would be restored and then provide leadership and encouragement to his brothers.
The contrast between Peter and Judas makes for very interesting reflection. Quite obviously, Satan had great influence over Judas. During the Last Supper, Jesus told His disciples about the anonymous betrayer who turned out to be Judas. "And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly." (John 13:26-27). One among the very group of disciples turned out to be an apostate and traitor. Peter also faced severe temptation and could also have been lost had it not been for the Lord's intercessory prayer. Despite Peter's objections to the contrary (that he would deny the Lord three times), a few verses later that is precisely what he did. Thankfully, we read in the Gospel of John that Jesus restored Peter (John 21).
We can be grateful that we also have an Intercessor and Advocate on our behalf, as 1 John tells us: “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)
Were it not for Him, we would have walked away from the faith a long time ago! We can be thankful that we are kept by the power of God (1 Peter 1:5) who empowers us by His grace to stay the course.
Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
When Satan stands ready to run you through his wheat-sifter and tear you to shreds, be thankful that the Lord Jesus is there to deliver you!!!!
Praise the Lord Jesus!