Have You Been Sifted By God Yet?
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” (Luke 22:31-34)
Whenever Jesus calls a persons name more than once in a conversation, He is emphasizing how important what He is about to say is. “Simon, Simon,” is what Jesus said to Peter. This was of course at the Last Supper just prior to Jesus being taken into custody. The next days would be very hard on Jesus as the very moment and point of His life, indeed the very purpose He came for, was upon Him now. He is about to face the utmost in human torture and even separation from God the Father; something He never dealt with before in Eternity where the Father and Jesus (the word) were always one together. And even then, knowing what He was going to go through, Jesus still cared for His disciples greatly, thinking of what they are about to go through!
The disappointment and discouragement felt by the Apostles and even their own shame was about to come pressing down upon them. Peter probably thought he would never deny Jesus. He knew that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. He exclaimed in protest that he would go to prison and even suffer death with Jesus and not deny Christ. Yet Satan sifted Peter as wheat and he did just what he thought he would never be capable of doing. Have you ever felt like that? You NEVER thought you could “do such a thing”, yet one day there you are doing what you thought you would never do! The sin nature in us is indeed a powerful force in our lives and Satan and his demons know just where to attack us in our life.
Jesus said that although He is allowing Satan to sift Peter, he prayed for Him. Jesus knew he would not escape the sifting. The point is that even before Peter denied Christ, Jesus was praying that it would not end His faith but increase it. “And when you come back, strengthen your brethren”. You see, all the apostles (not just Peter) scattered in fear. John is the only one we see at the foot of the cross. That is interesting to me because John wrote he was the disciple Jesus loved, while Peter was the disciple that said he loved Jesus.
And Judas? Almost to the point of losing all hope and faith. Judas could not take it. Not only did he misjudge what the Sanhedrin were really going to do, he betrayed Jesus. He could have asked for forgiveness and believed but instead he killed himself. Judas was with the disciples and Jesus – He knew Him first hand. He was in he “inner circle” right? Yet, Judas did not believe salvation in Christ as Messiah. What he wanted was for Jesus to end Roman occupation and ruler ship. He tried to force Gods hand to do things his way.
We know that not only did Peter come back from this incident, he seen the risen Christ and went on to preach and see the salvation of thousands of people during his lifetime and countless millions after his death. So have you ever felt like you are being sifted? Maybe you feel like you are being sifted right now. If so, Keep the faith! God has NOT abandoned you even if you feel like He has. You must remember about the character of God and His attributes and keep the faith in God.
Remember that God is not disappointed when you fail in your faith. Nothing takes God by surprise and He knows everything you will do in your entire life from eternity past! And even so, Jesus prays to the Father on our behalf! Be of good cheer. Even Christ said that in this world we will have trouble… But fear not for He has (past tense) overcome the world (John 16:33).
We all fall. But we need to get back up. Ask for forgiveness and strength for our faith in Christ and move forward; Shake it off. God will remain with you through it all. He will make all things work for your good.