Luke22: 31-38Written by kathleen on Aug 17, 2014 in - No Comments
The Effects of Trials
We have all seen believers go through tough times. You’ve seen hard times come on them — sometimes of their own doing, but sometimes “out of the blue.” It could be a loss of a loved one to death. Loss of the sanctity of a marriage by infidelity or divorce. Loss of a promotion. Loss of a job that pays the bills. Loss of a son or daughter, who leaves and goes his or her own way, destroying the hope of happiness and creating a huge knot in your stomach. Loss of a relationship with a brother or sister. Loss of a home by fire. Loss of a fortune by foolishness or fraud and the list goes on.
Very soon Peter and his fellow apostles are to going to experience the unthinkable — the Man they believe to be the Messiah, the Son of God will be arrested, tried, condemned, and crucified in the space of less than 24 hours. Their own lives will be at risk their loss will be both unexpected and devastating.
There are two things that happen when believers go through difficult times. 1. Some fall away from their faith, 2. Others gradually get their emotions under control and recover, usually to become stronger.
In the Parable of the Sower; Jesus warned his disciples that Satan is at work to destroy new believers. As a bird pecks grain from a pathway, Satan tries to pluck the Word out of their hearts. As a young plant tries to grow in the thin soil covering a stone, but as the sun bakes the soil the plant withers, shrivels up and dies, so some believers flourish early in their walk but then their faith seems to evaporate and die when the heat of the pressures of life are turned up.
Within hours severe tribulation is going to comes on Jesus’ closest friends and followers and it’s starting with Judas who has already given in to Satan’s enticements.
So at this point in time the young Christian movement known as “the way” hangs by a thread, but Jesus does not worry instead He prays. He asks the Father that Peter’s faith will not fail; and continues to instruct his disciples.
When the trials become the hardest, Jesus’ disciples will remember that he predicted their struggle. They will have hope in their darkness, and will continue on.
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
This is the first time since Job, we see Satan making requests of God. This request is the Greek verb exaiteo meaning “to ask for with emphasis and with implication of having a right to do so, to demand someone
In saying Satan has desired you. The more literal meaning has asked for you and he wants to put you through the grinder. He wants to pulverize you.
We sift processed flour to fluff it up before baking, but that isn’t the analogy here.
The word “sift” is to sift by shaking to separate. Satan intends to separate Peter not only from Jesus but from his faith!
It’s interesting that Jesus didn’t pray that Peter could escape the sifting of Satan instead he says But I’ve prayed for you that your faith would not fail which is telling Peter that he will turn again to faith; even when he will experience a time of weakness of faith and to know there is recovery, healing, and restoration.
If we could have our way, we would escape every bit of pain and suffering that comes along. And so often our prayers are for escape.
None of us really like to suffer. None of us like going through trials. None of us like testing but that’s because we are all shortsighted and fail to realize that it is through the testing that we grow and through testing depth of character is built.
Not only does God use the sifting process or the trials and the tests to develop our character but also to develop our confidence and faith in God. Recognizing and realizing that God is able to help us through any experience that we face is part of our conforming process as believers in to the likeness of Christ!
As we are going through suffering we are comforted by God, we are helped by God we are strengthened by God and so we learn firsthand how God can minister to us in suffering.
That then enables us to minister to others who are suffering. Who are going through the same things that we went through.
The word “strengthen” in Greek is “to cause to be inwardly firm or committed, confirm, establish in strength and this can only come through experience.
Jesus knowing this; does not pray that we will be able to escape any testing but that we will be strengthened through it.
One day Peter understood this principle and brings us hope in His first letter; 1 Peter 5:10-11 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
Peter failed many times but the good news is—he was used mightily even after all his failings because he understood as did Paul saying in 2 Cor 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
It’s not impeccability that is necessary. It’s “teachability”
I have failed. You have failed. Yet if, like Peter, we learn lessons from our failures, we can speak with authority. We can say to others, “I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I’ve made mistakes. You don’t have to.”
If you are aware of your shortcomings, if you’re not careful you will think they disqualify you from sharing with others. Take hope from Peter. He failed at every point. Yet when he learned his lesson, he didn’t fall again (in that area).
It’s God’s grace that will establish settle and strengthen you as you learn the lessons God has for you.
In this first round of testing Peter is going to fail in courage. But not in faith! Courage was one of Peter’s strong points. He was a rugged fisherman ready to do battle with anybody ready to step out in faith and that place of his greatest personal strength is the place that Satan would attack
Satan usually won’t attack your weak place; he’ll attack your strong place because in your weak places, you know you have to trust the Lord.
In your strong places, you’re foolish enough to think that you can do it without the Lord’s help.
So Satan often attacks us in our strongest place.
Peter experienced failure many times but it gave him empathy and understanding for those who in their testing failed. He was then able to minister with understanding, compassion, and knowledge.
Did Peter’s faith fail? No. He believed in the Lord even though he ended up denying the Lord. Nor did his love fail. What failed was His hope.
When he saw Jesus being led away in ropes, being brought to Caiaphas, his hope was lost.
Maybe you’ve been in Peter’s sandals. You believe in the Lord. You have a definite love for the Lord. But your hope has been diminished because you can’t figure out how what’s been happening to you – could possibly work for good.
A number of years ago, a study was done on wharf rats. After being thrown in the open water, one group paddled for about three and a half minutes before drowning. A second group was thrown in, but plucked out right before they drowned. The next day, when the rats were thrown back into the water, scientists were amazed to find them able to tread water for forty-five minutes or more—the study conclusion was they were hoping they would be rescued as they were the previous day.
The same is true with us. If we don’t have hope that we’ll be rescued, we sink. But if we have hope that a rescue is coming, we can tread water through the hard times.
I don’t think it is at all coincidental that the doctrine of the Rapture is called the blessed hope (Titus 2:13) because, although sometimes we feel we’re in a rat race and going under quickly, we know today could be the awesome day of the Lord’s return.
The thought of Jesus interceding for us, protecting us from Satan, is wonderful! How many times we would have perished, had not Jesus prayed for us
What prevented Satan from having his way with Peter had nothing to do with Peter. It was because of Jesus’ prayers on Peter’s behalf.
Peter’s faith would stumble, but not fail.
In the Christian life, we may stumble, but we can never fail.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. 28 And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans. TLB Rom 8:26-27 If we have denied Jesus in some way, then we return to Him confessing our sin and continue on.
Someone who returns after stumbling isn’t necessarily to be put on a shelf or to become self-focused – but they should reach out and turn their focus towards how to strengthen others. (The brethren)
33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
This particular evening Jesus is going to be arrested and taken to the house of Caiaphas. Before morning comes, before the rooster ever crows, Peter will have denied that he knew the Lord three times.
The other gospels tell us that Peter objected. He said, Lord, even if they would kill me I would not deny you. He had confidence in himself. Lord, I’m not a coward.
We must beware of self-confidence. (Pride before a fall)
Paul wrote, “When I am weak, then am I strong because His strength is made perfect in my weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9,10).
Where I am weak and when I am weak, and I know it, I’m more prone to rely upon Jesus and as I rely upon Jesus, then I have His strength that is imparted to me and I can stand.
In those places where you at your best day in your best part of your life are not a match for Satan and whenever you think you are, you’re doomed to have a disappointing experience of failure.
God allows failure. God allowed Peter’s failure. God knew it was going to come. Jesus was saying Peter; you’re going to deny Me three times that you know Me. Before the morning light comes, you’re going to fail.
Jesus told Peter the truth about himself and the situation not to discourage him, but to let him know there is a spiritual reality and a spiritual battle that he is unaware of, but that Jesus knew well.
That’s how could Peter say, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death” Peter was unaware of both the spiritual reality and the spiritual battle that Jesus could see. Peter just looked to how he felt at the moment, and at the moment he felt pretty brave! But when you are living on feelings, all this can change very quickly. Soon, Peter will be intimidated before a little servant girl, and deny to her that he even knew Jesus
35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
That He would be numbered with the transgressors in His death. That He would be wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. The prophecies concerning His death were about to be fulfilled
38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That is enough,” he replied.
Jesus is saying: I am on the point of leaving you, and when I am gone, you must use common sense for provision and protection Such practical considerations were not needed before, but were needed now.
The disciples had been sent out to do ministry without Jesus before (Luke 10:1-17), but then they were received with goodwill and hospitality. Now they are facing a hostile world without Jesus, and must be prepared.
When Jesus told the disciples to buy a sword, He was using an idiom similar to our saying, “Keep your eyes open.”
In other words, He was telling them the climate was changing from the days previously when they were embraced and provided for in ministry
Those days are upon us now!
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth.