Let us read Luke 22:31-34, “And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” (NKJV) 

This is such a tender moment between the Lord Jesus and Peter…and the Lord recorded it for us to learn from.  Knowing that Peter was soon to betray Him, the Lord sought to warn him about what was about to happen to him.  To sift wheat is an action that requires violent shaking through a sieve to separate the wheat from the chaff (husks).  Satan is the evil one, the one who is “a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44).  The very name, Satan, means ‘the accuser’.  He is called the “accuser of the brethren.” (Revelation 12:10).  One of his works is to try the faith of believers…to place temptations and trials in their way, hoping they will not succeed.  So, the Lord tells Peter that Satan desired to try him; to place trials and temptations before him; to agitate him; to see if he would give in to these temptations and dishonor the Lord.

It was the desire of Satan to cause Peter to fail in his faithfulness and testimony.  Notice that the Lord said, “Satan has asked for you…”  Because the Lord knew this sifting of Peter would eventually produce good results, He allowed Satan to tempt him.  The Lord often tempts, or tries, us but His desire is to encourage and prove us through the trials He gives us.  Satan’s desire is for Peter’s fall, even as that is his desire for us.  Of godly temptations, we read in James 1:2-3, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.”

Notice that even before Satan tempted Peter, the Lord was already praying for him.  How precious it is to know that the Lord intercedes even before we fail or sin.  How tender are these words to Peter, assuring Him that He was already lifting him up before His Father.  The Lord prayed for the stability of Peter’s faith.  Even though Peter vigorously declared his allegiance to the Lord, the Lord told Peter that he would indeed deny Him.  We read of Peter’s response to these words in Mark 14:31, “But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.”  The mistake Peter made here was that he trusted his own strength more than he trusted the words of the Lord.

The Lord knew that Peter would fail, but He also knew that Peter would be restored after his failure.  We know that after the Lord was resurrected from the dead, He had a private meeting with Simon Peter as we read in Luke 24:34, “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.”  We can safely assume the Lord allowed Peter to confess his sin and was restored to the Lord.  Peter was later publicly restored to the Lord in John 21:15-17.  With his public restoration, Peter was instructed by the Lord to “feed my sheep.”  The certainly corresponds with what the Lord said to Peter in Luke 22:32, “…when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

The Lord knew Peter would fail him, but He also knew Peter would be restored, or return to Him.  Even though Peter failed, the Lord graciously restored him and continued to use him and to use him greatly.  How wonderful is our savior that He intercedes for us, He forgives us, He restores us, and He continues to use us according to His perfect will.  (484.4)