Welcome to our online Bible study on Luke!
Read: Luke 22:1-38
My thoughts were captivated in the pages of a book. The sun’s warmth and the ocean’s breeze soothed my soul. Suddenly, the shrill of a voice screaming jarred my tranquility.
I looked up to see a crowd of people gathering around the waters’ edge. Running over to see the commotion, I was horrified by the sight. Blood was running out the nose of a woman.
As she sat there writhing in pain, the skin on her face moved and contorted. Then out of her nostril, something emerged and slithered out. Panic erupted as everyone turned to run, but my legs would not move. Something had grabbed tightly onto my right leg, squeezing it hard. I looked down to see that it had slithered and coiled itself around my thigh.
In an instant, the scene changed and the warm, sunny day evaporated into a dark, cold wintry evening. The ice and snow crunched under my boots as I walked swiftly. With each step I took, I started to stomp, harder and harder. I could sense something was out there in the cold, dampness of the night ready to slither up my leg.
It was a just dream.
Thank goodness! I rarely remember dreams but this one was so vivid and bizarre I told my husband about it. Later that morning, as I sat at my desk at work, I asked the Lord, “What does it all mean?” That’s when He reminded me of today’s scripture:
Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 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.” ~ Luke 22:31-32
I was part way through leading a ladies’ Bible study at my church. As I looked at these verses, I realized that almost every single one of us in the Bible study were going through some major trials. It was a difficult season of oppression–serious illnesses, broken relationships, job stresses. Heavy burdens pressed on our hearts.
I heard the Lord say, “Strengthen your sisters.”
Today’s reading reminds us that nothing passes through the Hands of Jesus without His sovereign permission. Satan asked for each of the disciples to be sifted like wheat.
But Jesus told Peter that He had pleaded in prayer for Peter, that his faith would not fail. Jesus could have prayed that Peter be spared from the sifting. Instead, He allowed the testing to bring forth any chaff that might have been hiding in Peter’s heart.
Even before the sifting started for Peter, Jesus prayed for him. We all know Peter’s story; he denied Jesus three times. So did he fail the test? Or did the Father ignore the Son’s pleading prayer for Peter?
Jesus already knew Peter was going to deny Him, yet He prayed with confidence that Peter’s faith would not fail.
Sometimes, God allows testing so that our faith can be refined.
Peter’s faith may have faltered, but it did not fail because Jesus had prayed for him. Peter’s faith was tested, but grace met him on the shores of Galilee and asked him to shepherd His sheep. It was in the testing that Peter emerged as a leader greatly used by God.
Sometimes, the one who is honest about his own failures is the one who has the strongest faith.
Peter knew a thing or two about trials. Years later, as ink dripped from his quill, these words likely burned in his heart:
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. ~ 1 Peter 1:7
Are you currently in a season of sifting? Know that Jesus is pleading in prayer for you that your faith may not fail.