“But I have prayed for you”
In Luke 22 Jesus reveals to Peter an intense conversation between Satan and Himself. The first reality to consider is that spiritual warfare is ever-present whether we see it or not. Most of the time we are oblivious to it. However, our Lord saw it fit to inform Peter of Satan’s demands to sift him like wheat. Could Jesus have let Peter alone in his ignorance, simply reassuring Peter of His love and protection of him? What would Peter (and us) stand to benefit from such knowledge? I see several reasons. First, Jesus wants to comfort us with the knowledge that Satan is more powerful than we are but that Christ is more powerful than Satan. There is a chain of power. The god of this world is more powerful than we are. Christ wants us to know this. Satan, must, as in the case of Job, ask permission to harm any of God’s Children and is powerless to harm a hair of our heads without divine permission, regardless of his pitch or tone. This knowledge simultaneously humbles us and exalts Christ. Jesus wants us to know that we cannot conquer Satan without Him.
Christ’s end goal, to sustain Peter through Satan’s attack, does not merely come to us in factual terms only. Jesus also gives us insight into the means by which He sustains Peter. “But I have prayed for you.” This is the second benefit we have to this conversation. Jesus reveals to us the weapon He used to sustain Peter. “But I have prayed for you.” If Christ needed prayer to defeat Satan, how much more do we need prayer to defeat him! O Lord, forgive us for taking prayer too lightly! Perhaps the intensity of our prayer would not be lacking if Christ informed us of every time He used them to fight off the enemy on our behalf!
Still, the third benefit of Christ informing Peter of His conversation with Satan is that it gives us insight into the longsuffering character of God. Christ not only predicts Peter’s fall but also predicts Peter’s recovery. Only a God of great omnipotence could predict such things. Only a man with absolute authority can allow Peter’s faith to temporarily fail and rise again for His sovereign purposes. Christ’s love of Peter saw beyond his failures. God’s choice of Peter to lead the other 11 disciples came not because our Lord overlooked his sins but paid for them. It is an overwhelming thought to consider that Christ presently sustains me despite His knowledge of my future sins. Let us consider the power of appealing to such a longsuffering mediator as our Lord Jesus.
1. What should this knowledge of spiritual warfare do to the frequency and fervency of our prayers? 2. How might we apply these prayers to our brothers and sisters on the search team who may or may not know they are experiencing spiritual warfare? 3. How might we apply this to our future pastor?