These are stunning verses from the night before Jesus' death:
‘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)
Notice these 10 contrasts:
- Satan makes a fearful proposal. Jesus gives a fearful permission.
- Satan treats Simon like an inanimate object. Jesus calls Simon by name - three times in one sentence.
- Satan is ruthless with Simon. Jesus is personal.
- Satan sifts Simon before the world. Jesus lifts Simon before the Father.
- Satan is weaker than Jesus but Simon is weaker than Satan.
- Simon thinks of himself as iron for Jesus (see v32). Jesus doesn't call him Peter ('Rock'), He considers Simon to be as 'flaky' as wheat.
- Simon thinks his resolve will motivate his brothers (v32), Jesus knows it will be his weakness that strengthens his brothers (v31).
- Jesus prays for Simon, but His support will include the need for Simon to turn back.
- While Jesus prays for Simon's faith not to fail. Simon fails big time.
- It's not Simon who "fail's not", it's Jesus' prayer.