Intro: Do you believe Satan is real? If so, who is he and how does he affect the lives of human beings? Scripture defines Satan as an angelic being—a cherub—whom God permanently threw down from heaven to earth due to his sin of arrogance (Isa 14:13-14). As a cherub, Satan was to serve and worship God, but instead he wanted the worship for himself. By God’s action of throwing Satan out of heaven, he became the ruler of this world (John 12:31). Satan is an accuser, tempter, and slanderer of God’s people and he is very good at twisting the truth (Rev 12:10, Mat 4:31, 1 Thes 3:5). He works with the goal of setting his throne above God; but that will never happen. Scripture reminds us Satan can only counterfeit the work of Creator God and he uses his deception and evil to oppose God, as well as rob people of God’s blessings. God has created the perfect eternal home for Satan, the false prophet and the beast, as well as those who reject Christ—hell or the lake of fire [judgment] (Rev 20:10). Hell is a place of torment and separation from God’s goodness.
In our first three verses for today, Jesus knows Satan’s plan to sift or test Peter and the apostles. Wheat was sifted to separate the grain from the chaff. Not only does Jesus know about this sifting or testing from Satan that will take place, he knows how Peter will respond. Peter thinks he knows himself; however, he cannot see his own weaknesses. In our humanity, we too may be blind to our own weaknesses, but Jesus sees it all. For this reason, Christ comes to restore us and to become the vision and strength we so desperately need in order to remain faithful to God. We all fail, but Christ is merciful to restore us when we repent.
Even when God permits times of testing, it is always to fulfill his own purpose. Remember when Jesus was led out into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan? (Mat 4:1). We must never forget Satan’s greatest purpose is to rob, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). God cannot be connected with evil, but sometimes he allows the work of evil in order to accomplish his purpose of making us more like Jesus.
Luke 22:31-33, 54-62 NLT
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
33 Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.”
Luke 22:54-62 Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
54 So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance.
55 The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there.
56 A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!”
57 But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!”
58 After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!”
“No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted.
59 About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.”
60 But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
61 At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” 62 And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the strength you bring my life. Even in times of testing, I sense your presence with me. Keep me focused and faithful in Jesus’ name. Amen.