5-14 Peter And Satan

Luke 22:31; “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat”.

See 2-4 “The Jewish Satan”.

Apart from the comments on these two verse there, it is noteworthy that the Lord had previously warned that the Jewish satan would be actively trying to influence the disciples away from the Truth: “Woe unto the world (often referring to the Jewish world in the Gospels) because of the offences!...but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!...whoso shall offend one of these little ones (the disciples - Zech. 13:7 cp. Mt. 26:31) which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned” (Mt. 18:6-7). This invites comparison with “Woe unto that man by whom the son of man is betrayed...it had been good for that man if he had not been born” (Mt. 26:24). Notice that this stumbling of the disciples at the hand of the Jewish world and its servant Judas was to be around the time of Christ’s capture (Mt. 26:31); which is what Luke 22:31 is warning the disciples (“you” plural) about, and which proved to be so relevant to Peter in the hours after the Lord’s capture. Further proof that “the world” that was to cause these offences was the Jewish world is found by comparing Mt. 13:38 & 41 (and cp. notes on these verses in “The Jewish Satan”). It's also been pointed out that 'Satan desires to sift you as wheat' "is a proverbial expression" (1). Schleiermacher therefore observes about this passage: "There is no intention to teach anything with regard to Satan or to confirm that older belief" (2).

There's also some evident allusion back to the record of Job in the Septuagint version. "The Lord said to the devil, 'Behold I give him over [paradidonai] to you; only preserve his life" (Job 2:6 LXX). Paradidonai and related words are very frequently used of how the Lord Jesus was 'handed over' to the systems of the Roman and Jewish Satan (e.g. Mk. 14:41), and yet ultimately His life was preserved by God. Here in Lk. 22:31 we have the Jewish Satan desiring to have the disciples, just as Job's 'satan' desired. If the disciples grasped the allusion, they would perceive that they were to be as Job, and believe that ultimately the 'satan' was under God's control, and through prayerful endurance they would come to victory as Job did.


(1) H.A.Kelly, Satan: A Biography (Cambridge: C.U.P., 2006) p. 312.

(2) F.E. Schleiermacher, The Christian Faith (London: Clark, 1999 ed.) p. 165.

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