Day 20: The Sifting of Your Faith
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not. (Luke 22:31-32)
Please don’t be hard on Peter. He boasted that he was both ready to go to prison and to death for Jesus. And Peter was. In the garden where Jesus and his disciples were surrounded by temple guards, Peter drew a sword and cut off the high priest’s servant’s right ear. Surrounded, in the midst of a hopeless situation, Peter grabbed a sword and charged into the circle of guards!
That is not the action of someone who is a coward, is it?
But the battle coming soon is very different. it is not physical, but spiritual. It is not a test of courage, but a test of faith.
Jesus warned Peter, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times you even know Me. Satan wants you Peter. He wants to sift you as wheat. But I’m praying for you Peter that your faith won’t fail.”
It wasn’t that Peter was afraid of someone finding out he was with Jesus. No, it was that things were not turning out the way he had dreamed. “Jesus arrested? Our Messiah to suffer and die? This isn't the way it was supposed to happen. I’m not sure if he really is who he says he is. I'm not sure I know him anymore.”
Jesus did not pray that Peter’s courage would not fail, but that his faith would not fail.
It happened just as Jesus said. After Peter’s third denial, somewhere in the darkness a rooster flapped his wings and crowed an indictment against him.
Peter turned and looked straight into the eyes of Jesus (Luke 22:1-2). Was it a look of “I told you so. How could you do it to me?” I don’t think so. It was a look of pity, of sympathy. Jesus went through forty days of sifting by Satan. He knew how ruthless the enemy can be, and he understood what Peter was enduring.
Peter turned and ran away into the night, tears stinging his eyes. All night he wept bitterly. “Why did I do it? Why didn’t I stand for him? How could I have doubted him?” Satan was sifting Peter as wheat, beating the grain with a stick until the outer husk was broken, leaving only the kernel of faith within.
But, Satan couldn’t touch that kernel of faith, for Jesus said, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.”
And isn't it comforting to know that Jesus is praying for you too?