And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, (which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”
In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you.) But look, the hand of the one betraying Me is at the table with Me! For the Son of Man will go away as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”
So they began to argue among themselves which of them it could be who was going to do this thing.
Then a dispute also arose among them about who should be considered the greatest. But He said to them,“The kings of the Gentiles dominate them, and those who have authority over them are called (call themselves) ‘Benefactors.’ But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever is greatest among you must become like the youngest, and whoever leads, like the one serving. For who is greater, the one at the table or the one serving? Isn’t it the one at the table? But I am among you as the One who serves. You are the ones who stood by Me in My trials. I bestow on you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one on Me, so that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom. And you will sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel.
(Then the Lord said,) “Simon, Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you (all) like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
“Lord,” he told Him, “I’m ready to go with You both to prison and to death!”
“I tell you, Peter,” He said, “the rooster will not crow today until (before) you deny three times that you know Me!”
|Artwork: Gerard van Honthorst (1624)|
“Simon, Simon”, the Lord called out to Peter, from across the table. Luke records Jesus as peculiarly and particularly, saying his formal, given name two times, to get his attention, or to underscore the seriousness of what he was about to tell him. Just previous to this, we see the disciples arguing about who is the greatest among them.
Jesus and the guys had been eating the meal and Jesus had shown them how the meal was about him and told them to keep having meals together, “do this”, to remember him and celebrate what he has done. Jesus makes mention that, in the future, they will all be having meals together, eating and drinking in the kingdom.
The dispute about who is greatest shows us that they didn’t get it, after three years with Jesus, on some levels. It is so often the case, that they and we do not get it, but Jesus calls us and uses us anyway. Living the life in Christ and doing his ministry, always requires on the job training. Jesus deploys troops on the battle field or players in the game who are not experts, not seasoned, and not really ready.
To stay on the sidelines or at home base, because you say you are not ready is a mistake. Christianity, living in Christ and participation in Christs’s ministry is always with on the job training. And it is also very common to get into ministry and think we are ready, when we are not ready.
That was the case here with Peter and some or all of the others. They had the intimate time with Jesus around the meal. Jesus shared many of his deepest teachings with them that night.
In the midst of Jesus teaching them, they turn to one another and begin arguing about who is going to be the greatest. Jesus responds by teaching them about servant-hood in the kingdom. Then Jesus turns to Simon Peter and gives him a very serious word about Satan’s workings on him and all the guys, in the hours to shorty come.
Jesus tells Simon that Satan, behind the scenes, has asked permission to sift them all, like wheat. Sifting wheat is when it is tossed and shaken, until the husk or chaff is separated from the edible grain. The wheat is flailed, threshed, or beaten; until the separation occurs. It is thrashed.
He experienced Jesus, first hand, close up, for about three years. Intensive discipleship, training, teaching, mentoring, and fathering from Jesus. He still does not get all of it and he still is not completely transformed, but that is how Jesus uses us, while we are in process.
Now, here comes Satan. He wants to destroy and at least corrupt us. Satan does not have in mind to make us better. He says, “Let me thrash them”. This is what happened to Job (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6).
Satan asks to and gets permission to thrash us sometimes. But the thrashing has grace, a blessing, or a gift from God attached to it. In this case, Jesus says that he has prayed for Peter, that his faith would not fail.
Satan brings flailing upon us, so that our faith will fail. Jesus prays for us (Rom. 8:34, Heb. 7:25) that our faith will not fail. Who’s prayer is God going to answer?
Imagine that Jesus spoke to you. I will use myself as an example. “Steven, Steven, look out! Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith will not fail. When you return, strengthen your brothers.” Bad news and good news, right?
It looks like 5 phases:
- Pay attention.
- Satan has been given permission to thrash you.
- But, the Lord has already, ahead of time, prayed for you.
- You can come through this.
- When you come through, strengthen (help establish) your brothers.
Jesus responds to him, straight up, head on; and gives him specifics. Peter stops talking. He is now beholden to Jesus’ words, even though they don’t make sense and he has not yet lived out the trial that is soon to be, with his fall and return.
In the midst of the best dinner party so far, where Jesus has shared his last meal with these roughneck guys, some or all of them are not even fully aware of what is happening, how history is being made right before their eyes and the most important event in the history of the universe is about to transpire within hours. In this, they argue, perhaps led by Peter, about who is going to be the top one in the kingdom.
Jesus patiently teaches them about servant-hood. He is The Servant and they are to be servants. But then, Jesus tells them Satan has requested to thrash them. It was not enough for Satan to gain access to Judas, for Jesus’ betrayal and brutal torture and execution. Satan also wants them all to go down and be done.
Permission is given to Satan, to thrash Peter, but Jesus has asked his father to help him. The principle here is, “What God allows, he makes provision for”. God already loved Peter before this. But, when Satan makes a move on him, God provides provision for Peter to come back from it.
That is good news. It is sobering news that, “You are going to get hit”. But God always provides for us in life’s trials. We know that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
We need to pay attention to Jesus as we go into hard times, and realize that he has been and is praying for us. I remember when I was witnessing and feeling the pain of one of the worst things in my life and I sensed the Spirit of God tell me to turn my eyes upon Jesus.
The trashing still went on, but I saw the Lord, in my deepest pain, and it dazzled me, to quote a famous saint. I really experienced that. I can remember a number of times in my life, when the pain was acute, and I saw him. It is very special and precious or awesome.
In your trial, in your sifting or thrashing, you are going through; God is there. He has already made provision for you, just like he did for Peter. In whatever is being done to you or you are doing to your self, God has given you a grace package, provision, or a care package. It is a gift for this time, from Jesus.
In your trial or after your failure, it is available. This is sobering and encouraging. We need encouragement, because life kicks us down, and it seems that our courage is gone.
Open the gift of provision that Jesus has made, personally for you, when he saw that you were going to go through bad stuff.