the Blessing of the Broken Back
Jan 7, 2018 // By:Dave // No Comment
The Blessing of the Broken Back
Luke 22:31-34 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”
Just a few verses earlier, the disciples were debating who will be greatest among them in heaven and Jesus announces that Satan had now demanded the right to sift them.
What surprised me was finding out that “sift” is apparently plural (it’s all of them, not just Peter)
Luke 22:31 “Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat.
Luke 22:32 Simon, I’ve prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start.”
What gave satan the idea that he had the right to demand access to the disciples ? (pride)
(Eph 4:27 reminds us not to give the devil a foothold or “opportunity”)
Who did satan demand this right from ?
likely the Father (we see a similar situation back in Job 1:9-12, Job 2:4-6
So both in Job and in the words of Jesus, Satan must go to God for permission before he can trouble the lives of God’s children.
Two implications from this are important for our lives. (John Piper)
- Satan has a lot of power in this world. Jesus calls him the “prince” or “ruler of this world” (John 16:11), and Paul calls him the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4) and the “ruler of the authority of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). He blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4) and holds them in his snare until God releases them through the gospel (2 Timothy 2:25, 26). He can take life, as with Job’s children; ruin health, as with Job’s body (cf. also Luke 13:16); torment with demons (Luke 11:18); provoke evil deeds (Luke 22:3); and cause natural disasters (Job 1:19). The fact that Satan has such power in the world should give a kind of seriousness to our lives which unbelievers don’t have.
- Satan’s power is by permission from God. There are not two ultimate powers in the universe. There is only one: God. When Satan wants to have the disciples, he must go to God first. That’s an important word for our day, because the demonic forces of unreason and insubordination and hate and violence are becoming so strong and ever nearer to home that our faith in God’s supremacy may be tested to the limit. We will need to remember words like these: “Satan demanded to have you,” and their meaning: Satan cannot hurt us any more than God permits.
This is message is not intended to focus on the adversary, but to show how our Father uses the enemy’s tactics for His glory
Why would God grant to his archenemy any of his demands?
As soon as you start to think about that question you realize that it is part of a much larger one,
namely: Why does God tolerate the activity of Satan at all?
Then after the 1,000 years and the final victory of God he will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10) forever.
God has the right and the power to put Satan out of commission, and the question that we ask in our finitude and ignorance is:
Why doesn’t he do it now? Why go on century after century permitting Satan to wreak havoc in the world?
God permits Satan to persist in his “sifting” work is that in the end it will be good for the church and will bring more glory to God.
We must suffer with Christ if we would be glorified with him (Romans 8:17). Through suffering and trial our faith is refined. We are drawn to rely ever more heavily on God, and we are moved to cherish his grace more strongly.
Satan has his role to play in fanning the flames of our refining furnace, and so God awaits the appointed day of judgment.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Satan Aims to Sift Out Your Faith
Now Jesus goes on in verse 31 and says, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat.”
The “you” is still plural. Jesus is telling Simon what Satan intends to do to all the disciples.
What does Satan aim to do? What does “sifting like wheat” refer to in real life?
The best clue comes in the next sentence where Jesus says, “But I prayed for you that your faith fail not.” Satan aims to sift Simon and the others like wheat. Jesus aims to keep Simon’s faith from failing. So “sifting like wheat” likely means doing something to make the disciples’ faith fail.
We can imagine a picture like this: Satan has a big sieve with jagged-edged wires forming a mesh with holes shaped like faithless men and women. What he aims to do is throw people into this sieve and shake them around over these jagged edges until they are so torn and weak and desperate that they let go of their faith and fall through the sieve as faithless people, right into Satan’s company.
Faith cannot fall through the mesh. It’s the wrong shape. And so as long as the disciples hold to their faith, trusting the power and goodness of God for their hope, then they will not fall through the mesh into Satan’s hands.
Therefore the sifting of Simon Peter and the others is Satan’s effort to destroy their faith. And this remains Satan’s main goal today.
It is relatively unimportant to Satan whether we are healthy or sick, rich or poor;
what he wants is to sift out our faith.
(If he can do it by suffering, he will try that; if he can do it by wealth, he will try that.)
“Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Resist him firm in your faith.”
Jesus pictured Satan as a farmer shaking Christians in his sieve, trying to tear them apart from their faith.
Peter pictures Satan as a lion who can devour anything but faith.
The only person that can fit through Satan’s sieve is an unbeliever.
The only thing that will fit down the lion’s throat is an unbeliever.
This is the victory that overcomes Satan’s sieve and Satan’s throat, our faith (1 John 5:4).
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith
If we hold it fast to the end, Satan cannot destroy us. That’s why John writes to the church of Smyrna in Revelation 2:10:
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life.
But Jesus Prays for Your Faith
“And when you have turned, strengthen your brothers.”
Jesus knows that Simon will deny him three times. He says so in verse 34.
But Jesus does not consider this brief denial to be the utter failure that Satan is after.
It is a temporary weakness, a brief faltering of confidence, but it is followed quickly by bitter tears of repentance (Luke 22:62) and turning.
Jesus knew he would turn from his sin because he had prayed for him, that his faith not fail utterly.
The Father granted Satan the power to sift Simon, but, in response to Jesus’ prayer, he did not let Simon fall through the sieve.
Nor will he ever let any of his children fall through Satan’s sieve.
Here is the double weapon of hope and encouragement that he gives us:
“not only is God willing and supremely able to save forever all of us who trust him;
He also conspires with the Son to keep us trusting to the end.
We are not left without a shield against the enemy,
nor are we left to hold this shield of faith merely by our own strength.
God will always see to it that faith has the victory and that his children have faith.”
This is the meaning of that terrific text in 1 Peter 1:3–5,
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
According to his great mercy, ihe has caused us to be born again to a living hope jthrough the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4
to kan inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and lunfading, mkept in heaven for you, 5
who by God’s power are being guarded nthrough faith for a salvation oready to be revealed in the last time.
John 10:27–30 he says,
My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father who has given them to me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.
No one can snatch them out of my hand, no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand, because we are one hand, and it is mightier than all. Simon Peter, I have prayed for you; my Father and I have conspired to hold you tight; and so your faith will not fail. And that same promise applies to all God’s children. Lay hold on it and be encouraged by it whenever you start to doubt that your trust in God will endure to the end.
The Strengthened Becomes the Strengthener
the “backbone of pride” needed to be broken in Peter before he could stand straight enough to serve the others.
before God could use his humility to be the feeder of Jesus’ sheep. (John 21)
If the enemy is sifting you, submit to God in trust and humility and let God reveal His glory through you. This is the very resistance to the devil in James 4:6-7.
There is a blessing to be seen in a back broken for God, it is the servant being built up within you.
(If this impacted you, let me know (encouragement is good for all of us 🙂 )
εν διακονια τω θεω, Dave Cadieux