“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: 31-46
If the world truly knew what lurked outside, every alert would be made to dispatch patrol in neighborhoods, shops and streets. Some would call it a lion, or a ravenous wolf. In fact, there are many who would think that. Whatever comes to mind, it prowls in a way that is considered abnormal for a predator of its nature. With no regard for camouflaging in the dark, it ventures out no matter the time of day and stalks the Earth looking for any slight movement among the grass. It hunts, not for the sake of its own hunger or for its own cubs, but for the mere satisfaction of killing. This beast finds its greatest purpose in blood and feeds on the panic, misery and fear that resides in the heart of its victim.
Left to its own devices, it kills whatever it lays its claws on. There is no hesitation or mercy. It spits on the very word. Upon hearing or even seeing such grace, it recoils as though burned by a branding iron on its flesh. Power is what satisfies and deception is what it has mastered in order to lure and decimate. Downplayed by the media as a little red beast perched on the left shoulder, we have severely underestimated his motive.
“In short, he wants your soul – a soul turned from the glories of God and from His saving grace.”
Satan, the “father of lies” and the one who “speaks out of his own character” will no doubt smile at a young boy’s explosive remark towards his mother, or approvingly nod at a woman’s burning hatred towards her friend who seems to ‘have it all’ (John 8:44). What he wants is much more than the occasional spout of resentment and bitterness; what he wants more than anything else can only be enjoyed at the end. The last breath, the accumulation of a life lived, whether long or short, and the final state of the heart at the end of the road. In short, he wants your soul — a soul turned from the glories of God and from His saving grace. Ripping apart the soul and relishing in the screams of agony eternally echoing throughout the godless place is just one of his past times. True, that we as a society have downplayed his role in the terrible and unimaginable things in the world, but we must also be wary of assuming this attitude of overestimating him.
Our greatest adversary pleaded at the foot of our greatest defender for our souls. We are not chess pieces thrown into a game of chance, rather we are deeply and undoubtedly loved souls that are dear and beloved to our Lord and Savior. In Luke, we see Jesus’ prayer for Simon Peter. Satan demanded to sift Peter like wheat. In the context of the passage, the manual and traditional way of completing such a task consists of two steps:
- The wheat needs to be separated from the chaff by threshing. Usually this is done on the floor (hence the term ‘threshing floor’) and the wheat is beaten with a flail.
- After this, the grain is tossed into the air in order for the loosened chaff to be blown away by the wind.
Against Satan, we are indeed powerless. We can do nothing at the hands of such evil and are but blades of wheat beaten and scattered across the earth. What we do know; however, is that this prowling beast remains powerless at the presence of our God. Jesus knew one of two things in this verse. One, without prayer, you can do nothing. Because without God’s influence and intervention in your life, you are rendered to nothing. Secondly, redemption is always available to the least of us and we know this through Peter, who after denying Christ, lived and died for him till the very end.
“God’s not done with you yet. He prayed for Peter, he prayed for you (John 17: 20-23)”.
It is astounding how the God-man, prayed for someone like Peter – someone that buckled to fear, mockery and betrayal. There were many things the devil could have used Peter for to puppet his own plans, but God had a different story. It is not because Peter loved Christ more or saw the truth of what the Messiah taught clearer than others, but because God himself intervened on his behalf. He was saved from the talons of the beast and prayed over as a beloved child. Not as a forsaker or a coward.
God’s not done with you yet. He prayed for Peter, he prayed for you (John 17: 20-23). Your greatest adversary has no hope against the One who laid down his life for yours. Jesus’ prayer became our greatest protection.