NKJV – Luke 22:31-34
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.” 33 But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” 34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
We all know part of this scripture very well in fact it makes for a great surface reading verse because as soon as we start reading it our brain says, “oh yeah this is the part where Peter finds out that he will deny Jesus 3 times.” How awful would that day have been if that was us in Peter’s shoes? Deny the Son of God! No Way!!!
This powerful yet sad passage of scripture has more to it then what we realize and we are going to dig in and see how as well as apply it to our lives.
Let’s take a look at Luke 22: 31 which says:
31 And the Lord said,* “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.
Just before this passage of scripture the Disciples were arguing over who was greater. So now we read Jesus speaking up and talking to Simon (Peter) he says something that quite a few of us cruise right on past when reading this verse. He mentions first that satan has asked, (some of your versions use the word: demanded, desired, and asked permission…) someone is definitely important when satan asks permission to do something to them who else in the Bible did satan try to sift? ~Job~, God allowed his protection to fall from Job so that satan could see how faithful he was to God. Now in this case satan asked for all the Apostles…. After doing some research some translations state : sift you, sift all of you, you all to sift, all of you – The Complete Jewish Bible says “demanded to have you people for himself to sift…”… the bottom line is satan wanted to test the Disciples. Satan wanted to sift them all like wheat but what does that mean?
To give you a better idea of what satan planned to do here is an explanation of how wheat was sifted back in those days. The first step in the process was to loosen the chaff (The fine, dry material, such as husks (seed coverings) and other debris, which is separated from the seed in the process of threshing grain.) From the edible grain which is called threshing. Threshing is done by spreading the wheat onto a floor made from stone concrete or tampered earth and to beat it with a flail (a special wooden tool used to beat grain). The next step is called winnowing where the loosened chaff is removed from the grain by throwing the grain in the air where the lighter grain is blown off leaving the actual wheat grain -being heavier- to fall down on the ground or into a hand held flat looking bowl. So as you can see this process took time but the end result was all the impurities were separated from the wheat.
Now, let’s take a look at this spiritually. In the Bible, chaff symbolizes worthless, evil, or wicked persons (or things) that are about to be destroyed. In Jesus’ eyes even though the Disciples especially Peter were going to be sifted, Jesus was confident that they would come back to Him unlike Judas who satan sifted and sadly Judas didn’t win. Satan’s goal was to see what they were made out of when the going got tough. Would they stand the test of time in whatever area he put them in or would they crumble and never get up again only to be blown away in the wind, he knew the plans God had for them on this earth to carry the torch for Christ and start the Church as written in the Book of Acts. If satan gave them a spiritual beating, when it came time to toss them around like chaff would they still be able to land firm on the ground or blow in the breeze in confusion and fear. Also keep in mind the Disciples had done many miraculous things with Jesus but in the upcoming months through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit they were about to shake the World and turn it upside down!
That’s what we, as Christians are supposed to be doing today. I hope you will stay tuned for Part 2 as we continue to learn about being Sifted, God Bless!