Sifted Like Wheat
Updated: Aug 11, 2022
Luke 22:25 - 32
A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of 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.”
So much wisdom can be absorbed from this one short passage of scripture. Jesus and His disciples were gathered for their last meal. I imagine that the disciples had become very comfortable at this point in time. I bet they had some lofty imaginations of what Jesus was going to do with all that power that He had begun to display; healing the sick, turning water into wine, and raising the dead. They had witnessed, first hand, so many miracles and they had to of been thinking, "Whoa. Just wait until Jesus takes authority and starts to raise up His Kingdom!"
As their imaginations went wild, they began to argue about their pecking order; their rank under His authority. We often hear about how the disciples argued about this, and how Jesus turned it all upside down by telling them that the greatest among them is the one who serves.
Have you ever noticed the conversation that followed this?
In verse 26, Jesus points out, "You are those who have stood by me in my trials." He exhorts them because they did not run when things got difficult; they remained by His side. I think He gives us the same instruction today. Stay. Stay in the battle. Don't give up when the trials get hot and temptation tries to overwhelm you.
In the next verse Jesus explains to them that He is assigning them a kingdom (people to serve) and that when their work is complete, they will join Him in His kingdom. At this time they probably had no idea what this meant. God, in His mercy, only gives small doses of truth when the truth is so heavy to bear. They wanted His kingdom NOW, here on this earth and with all of His authority. They could not possibly fathom the ways of God, and that He was making a way for all of us who were yet to come after them.
The next verse in Luke jumped off the page for me last week. In verse 32, Jesus tells Simon that Satan demands to have him sifted like wheat. No mincing of words here! What a dire warning to Simon. I love how Jesus reassures Simon that He prayed for him; what a comfort.
At first Simon could not believe any of this. He reminds Jesus of his dedication and devotion.
Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Luke 22: 33
Oh, how tough we think we are! Don't worry Jesus, I got this. I will stand. I will fight!
The death threat comes and then we RUN!!
A mere 24 versus later in Luke, Peter denies ever knowing him...
But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him." ~Luke 22:57
And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” Luke 22:59
And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. ~Luke 22:60-61
And then the rooster crows and it hits him. He remembers what Jesus said. Oh, how Peter's heart must have shattered when Jesus turned and looked at him with eyes full of compassion and a heart full of love.
And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly. ~Luke 22: 61-62
Now, comes the new man. The man, Peter, sifted like wheat! The dirt, the chaff, and the outer shell violently shaken off so that all that remained was the precious grain of wheat. The broken can now become whole. Peter knows better now than to walk in his own strength. He knows who the Strong One is.
Our enemy watches us. He studies us. He moves slowly to tempt us; never all at once. He knew Peter. He saw his pride and watched him make impulsive moves. He assumed that if he knocked Peter down hard enough that he would be too destroyed to get back in the battle. He was wrong. Peter, with the help of Jesus, did get back up.
Sometimes, we mess up. We succumb to the lies and we fall flat on our face. And then we weep, just like Peter. But, look at what Jesus instructed Peter to do next.
And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. ~Luke 22:32
Don't stay there on your face, Peter. When you turn again toward me, get up. Take all that you have learned from your failure and use it to strengthen (fortify, toughen, build up, invigorate) others.
Can you imagine the compassion Peter must have had for others and their failures after this?
In her book, Fervent, Priscilla Shirer writes this...
If I were your enemy, I'd devalue your strength and magnify your insecurities until they dominate how you see yourself, disabling and disarming you from fighting back, from being free, from being who God has created you to be. I'd work hard to ensure that you never realize what God has given you so you'll doubt the power of God within you.
Friend, do not fall for his lies. Don't be deceived. He who is in you is greater than he who is in this world. But, you can't do anything in your own strength and with your own resolve. Strength comes from the daily act of surrender. Strength comes from sitting at His feet, not standing on your own feet.
Pray with me...
Heavenly Father, Glory to Your Name! Thank you for showing us where our strength resides. It is in You. We are broken down and weak and You still use us, if we let You. Thank you for using all things for our good and not wasting any of our trials. Forgive us when we fall. Lord, when the enemy comes and sifts us like wheat, pick us up, wipe the tears from our eyes and help us to see into Your eyes full of compassion and find forgiveness there. Help us to turn again and take all of our failure and use it to strengthen others. Silence the voice of our enemy. Protect us from evil. Draw near and fill us with more of You. Continually show us our assignment and our kingdom work. Help us to prioritize our time for the things YOU want us to do and the people that YOU want us to serve. Thy kingdom come and thy will be done. In Jesus Name