Today’s Reading: Luke 22
In today’s reading we are entering into Luke’s telling of the Passion Week. While Jesus is with His disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, He speaks some remarkable words to Peter, which will be important to all of us, because it is what Jesus does right now for every one of His children.
At the Last Supper, right after Jesus says that one of the Twelve will betray Him, He then says these words to Peter:
Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. (Luke 22:31-32, NIV)
Just like when you heard your parents use your full name when you were a kid—this is what it means when Jesus repeats Peter’s name twice. This is the full name with the middle name—and that means trouble. What makes this interesting is Jesus goes back to the name, Simon, which He’d changed to Peter.
Remember the story from Matthew 16:15-18, when Peter said to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church.”
Now Jesus goes back to the old name and says it twice. Peter is not necessarily in trouble, but is about to experience trouble . . . Satanic trouble.
Jesus says, “Satan has asked.”
Satan is God’s Satan. He is not an independent agent who can take your life without God’s permission. He is not an independent entity who does what he wants. We see that in the book of Job when Satan had to get permission to attack Job.
Try to imagine the picture Jesus gives Simon Peter: Satan is on one side trying to take Peter and to sift him like wheat. And on the other side, Jesus is praying for him. “Satan has asked to sift all of you . . . I have prayed for you.” At the same time that Satan is asking for Peter, Jesus is interceding for him. That changes everything! That alters the whole case! There may be failure, defection, cowardly denial, and compromise, but there can never be ultimate ruin. Why? The praying Christ.
We think our spiritual lives are all about what we do—our prayer lives, our consistency in Bible reading—and our successes in those things secure us. But nothing could be further from the truth.
The plotting of Satan is no match for the praying Christ.
It isn’t your prayers that secure your place with Him in eternity—it’s Jesus’ prayers that secure you.
I don’t think we can mention the praying Christ without referencing His post-resurrection heaven ministry. Listen to it: “He is able to save fully from now throughout eternity, everyone who comes to God through him, because he lives to pray continually for them” (Hebrews 7:25, TPT).
Satan does not get his way with you. Because you have a Savior who neither sleeps nor slumbers (Psalm 121:4) and is continually praying for you.
Peter doesn’t just get a praying Christ; we get a praying Christ. A person must get past the love of Christ for us, the cross of Christ that values us, and the prayers of Christ before he or she can make their bed in hell.
I love this story. Little Johnny would wake up every night, because he would hear a bump. But the sound was him as he fell out of bed in his sleep. This happened five nights in a row, until finally Johnny said to his father, “Daddy, I’m so tired of falling out of the bed. Can you fix it?” His father said, “Son, it is really simple. You never got far enough in.”
The reason you keep falling out of Jesus is because you never got far enough in. You got in church, now it’s time to get in Christ. In Christ, you have a praying Christ.
Satan doesn’t just want Peter, Satan wants you. Let the words of the Scottish preacher Robert Murray M’Cheyne give you encouragement and empower you to walk in victory: “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference [to Him]. He is praying for me.” And He is praying for you too.