I don’t know about you, but I never want to be the topic of conversation between God and Satan. It never really goes well for the person being discussed. We see this a couple of times in scripture and I am not envious of either of these guys. Their names are Job and Peter.
I have often said about Job, “Can you imagine being the person in the Bible people can point to and say, ‘at least it’s not as bad as what happened to Job.’”
Although Job has many places we could go, I will save that for another day. Instead, I will focus on a couple of scriptures that let us peek behind the veil for a glimpse of the warfare being waged against Peter. If a single one of us, for even a couple of seconds, could see the unseen world and what is happening all around us, we probably wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. No wonder Jesus said, “Watch and pray.”
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32
The fact Satan thought he could demand anything from Jesus is a pretty incredible statement. The pride he saw in Peter may have made him think he was totally within his grasp. Satan knew very personally how far that sin could take him from the presence of God. It was the very thing that did him in.
That word “demanded” is terrifying when looked at in Greek.
eksaitéomai-to request a full “handing over” (a complete “take-over”).
At this point Satan requests Peter be completely removed out of God’s hands – and be put totally in his power.
I feel like the emoji with big eyes and a serious face would be appropriate here.
Although it says Jesus prayed, that word means He begged. Jesus begged on behalf of Peter because He had a deep and personal need for him (also looked that one up in Greek).
“Who is our God? Do we have any idea who it is we know and serve? Do we have any clue how much He loves us? I would say without hesitation, no we don’t. If we did, we would love Him so much more than we do”
Wait a minute! After Jesus told Peter that He had prayed for him, He told him that he would deny him three times. Yet, He was begging God to uphold his faith because He personally needed and wanted him for Himself. Who is our God? Do we have any idea who it is we know and serve? Do we have any clue how much He loves us? I would say without hesitation, no we don’t. If we did, we would love Him so much more than we do.
“We hold the very words of God in our hands.”
There is so much in this passage of scripture. We not only see Satan’s desire, but set in opposition to it we see God’s love, redemption and sovereignty beautifully portrayed. If all of us would only slow down and really look at “what is written” we would be astounded every single day. We hold the very words of God in our hands.
• Jesus told Peter the truth about the fact he would betray Him.
• He told him Satan had asked for him (Peter says he will die for Jesus and makes other statements proving he has no idea how weak and helpless he really is).
• Jesus told him He had begged for him. Jesus’ prayer for Peter is probably the only reason there are books in the Bible written by him. This should humble all of us when we think we are so strong-willed and faithful that Satan can’t have his way with us. Thank God for our intercessor..
• Then, the most shocking part, “And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Jesus knew He was going to completely restore him and He didn’t want anything that happened to be wasted.
Jesus looked far ahead, to the place where His other children (me and you) were going to fall, hard like Peter did.
He had to give Satan permission to sift Peter and make no mistake, Peter needed it. He thought he was a cut above the others in the group. He was one of the three most trusted friends of Jesus. He depended on his strength and leadership. He even dared to rebuke Jesus and tell him what to do at times.
“Peter needed to get over himself. I think it had to be that bad and humiliating because Peter’s pride ran so deep”
Jesus loved him so much and needed him (people may disagree with that statement but Jesus loved and needed His friends, he was human like us) that He let him be exposed, publicly. Peter needed to get over himself. I think it had to be that bad and humiliating because Peter’s pride ran so deep.
We have no idea what pride and cowardice lurks inside our hearts and we never will unless God allows circumstances to reveal it. We can’t deny what crisis situations reveal. What comes out of us is what is in us. We make many excuses but wisdom would look at what we do and take heed. We need to look at our reactions, what we said, what we did and how we felt. Look at it honestly and thank God for the failure, or thank Him for the growth, depending on how we reacted.
“We have no idea what pride and cowardice lurks inside our hearts and we never will unless God allows circumstances to reveal it”
If we had an epic failure, we should pick ourselves up and run to our Redeemer. Ask Him to go deep and change what we had no idea needed changing deep inside our souls.
After it is all good between us and the only One that really matters, we should eagerly share with our brothers and sisters so they have hope in the midst of their epic failures. No one will make it through this life without them.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
All things work together. Only Jesus could use Satan’s schemes and one of His best friends denying Him, to give the rest of us hope. Don’t let failure stop you, let Jesus take it and make you unstoppable!