Sorry I'm so late on this post!
Jesus Foretells Peter's Denial31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: Table Talk on Trouble and Triumph Part 2
Accompanying Mark Driscoll sermon: Jesus and Peter
It's no surprise that Satan wants to go after Peter. He is, after all, the leader of the eleven. And what does he want to do? He wants to sift Peter like wheat. When wheat was sifted, it cause the chaff to be blown away, leaving only the wheat. In other words, it got rid of the fake and left what was real.
MacArthur add that the "you" here is not only referring to Peter, it is a plural form of the word you. Satan wants to sift all of them. He wants to violently shake them to find out if they're real. And though the disciples will all fall (when they scatter in the face of Jesus' arrest), they will not permanently fall away.
Satan's first goal is to keep Jesus from the cross. He knows the redemption plan. His next goal is to disband the disciples so there would be no one to preach the cross.
Satan relentlessly appeals to God to turn against His own, to abandon His own, to leave them to themselves because they’re so weak. Let their faith fail. And he asks God for permission to assault their faith.
And God says yes.
Satan is still a servant of God. A very unwilling one obviously, but he is still only a servant. And he can not operate outside God's parameters.
Just like the story of Job. Satan had to ask permission to test Job's faith. And Satan thought that Job would fail. But God knew he would not. And Job reached a greater level of repentance and worship through his pain and suffering than he ever would have otherwise. His faith did not fail.
Check out v32.....
32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.
When Jesus prays, you better believe His prayers are answered! He always prays in the will of God, and our great High Priest intercedes for us at the right hand of God. Just imagine it - it's amazing!
I love this portion by MacArthur....
But did he lose saving faith? No, he did not. He was at the tomb, he witnessed the resurrection, and he was fully restored to his Lord. Just like Jesus says in v34.
But we can never lose saving faith. Jesus intercedes for us. He alone secures our faith.
I'd like to close with MacArthur's closing prayer...
Father, we thank You for the glimpse we have here of the great intercessory work of Christ on behalf of His own which we are. Oh what a joy it is to know that no matter what we go through, no matter what manifest weaknesses we have, no matter what failures are exhibited in our lives, no matter how deep and severe the trouble we cause the Lord, He never lets go of His own. Our faith cannot fail because of the work of the one who prays for us, even as He prayed for those men. Thank You, Thank You, O Lord. Thank You for loving us everlastingly. Amen.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 22:35-38