Luke 22:31
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(31) And the Lord said, Simon, Simon.—The first three Gospels agree in placing the warning to Peter after the institution of the Lord’s Supper. The two-fold utterance of the name, as in the case of Martha (Luke 10:41), is significant of the emphasis of sadness.

Satan hath desired to have you.—Both this verb, and the “I have prayed,” are in the Greek tense which indicates an act thought of as belonging entirely to the past. The Lord speaks as though He had taken part in some scene like that in the opening of Job (Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-6), or that which had come in vision before the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 3:1-5), and had prevailed by His intercession against the Tempter and Accuser.

That he may sift you as wheat.—The word and the figure are peculiar to St. Luke’s record. The main idea is, however, the same as that of the winnowing fan in Matthew 3:12; the word for “sift” implying a like process working on a smaller scale. The word for “you” is plural. The fiery trial by which the wheat was to be separated from the chaff was to embrace the whole company of the disciples as a body. There is a latent encouragement in the very word chosen. They were “to be sifted as wheat.” The good grain was there. They were not altogether as the chaff.

Luke 22:31-34. And the Lord said, &c. — To make his disciples humble and watchful, and kindly affectionate one to another, Christ assured them, that Satan was seeking to destroy them all by his temptations. As if he had said, O Simon, Simon, behold Satan — As in the case of Job; (Job 2:4-5;) hath desired to have you — My apostles, εξητησατο υμας, hath required you, or sought you out; or requested permission, as Dr. Campbell translates it; to sift you as wheat — To assault you by furious and violent temptations, or to try you to the uttermost. I must assure thee, therefore, that an hour of terrible trial is just at hand, which will press harder than thou art aware, on thee and all thy companions here. But I — Forseeing the danger to which thou, Peter, wilt be peculiarly exposed, I have graciously prevented thee with my watchful care; and have prayed for thee — For thou wilt be in the greatest danger of all my disciples; in order that thy faith fail not — Altogether. And when thou art converted — Renewed to repentance, or hast returned to thy duty, as επιστρεψας may be rendered; when thou art recovered from thy fall, and confirmed again in faith and holiness; strengthen thy brethren — All that are weak in faith, or shaken in mind by the approaching trial, and ready to relinquish the service they have undertaken. When thou art recovered by the grace of God, do what thou canst to recover others; when thy own faith is strengthened, labour to confirm the faith of others, and to establish them; when thou hast found mercy, encourage others to hope that they also shall find it. And do thine utmost, all the remainder of thy days, by word and deed, to engage all, over whom thou hast any influence, to a steady adherence to my cause in the midst of the greatest difficulties, and especially by setting them an example of eminent faith and fortitude. And he said, Lord, I am ready to go with thee to prison and to death — So Peter thought at this time: and such was his present intention and resolution; but he was not sufficiently acquainted with himself, nor aware of his own weakness. See on Matthew 26:33-35. And he saith, I tell thee, Peter — I most assuredly say unto thee; the cock shall not crow this day — Or rather, it shall not be the time of cock-crowing to-day, see on Mark 14:39; before thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me — And shalt solemnly disclaim all regard to me. So terrified shalt thou be at the faces of these enemies whom thou now defiest. In other words, notwithstanding thy pretended affection and fortitude, a few hours shall not pass till, in great consternation at the dangers with which I and my disciples shall be threatened, thou shalt basely deny, three several times, that thou art my disciple. Peter therefore had no reason to be elated, though on a former occasion he had confessed Jesus to be the Son of God. And his behaviour in this instance affords a very affecting example of human vanity, in the midst of the greatest weakness.22:21-38 How unbecoming is the worldly ambition of being the greatest, to the character of a follower of Jesus, who took upon him the form of a servant, and humbled himself to the death of the cross! In the way to eternal happiness, we must expect to be assaulted and sifted by Satan. If he cannot destroy, he will try to disgrace or distress us. Nothing more certainly forebodes a fall, in a professed follower of Christ, than self-confidence, with disregard to warnings, and contempt of danger. Unless we watch and pray always, we may be drawn in the course of the day into those sins which we were in the morning most resolved against. If believers were left to themselves, they would fall; but they are kept by the power of God, and the prayer of Christ. Our Lord gave notice of a very great change of circumstances now approaching. The disciples must not expect that their friends would be kind to them as they had been. Therefore, he that has a purse, let him take it, for he may need it. They must now expect that their enemies would be more fierce than they had been, and they would need weapons. At the time the apostles understood Christ to mean real weapons, but he spake only of the weapons of the spiritual warfare. The sword of the Spirit is the sword with which the disciples of Christ must furnish themselves.Simon - Peter. Jesus, foreseeing the danger of Peter, and knowing that he was about to deny him, took occasion to forewarn him and put him on his guard, and also to furnish him with a solace when he should be brought to repentance.

Satan hath desired - Satan is the prince of evil. One of his works is to try the faith of believers to place temptations and trials in their way, that they may be tested. Thus God gave Job into his hands, that it might be seen whether he would be found faithful, or would apostatize. See the notes at Job 1:7-12. So Satan desired to have Peter in his hands, that he might also try him.

May sift you as wheat - Grain was agitated or shaken in a kind of fan or sieve. The grain remained in the fan, and the chaff and dust were thrown off. So Christ says that Satan desired to try Peter; to place trials and temptations before him; "to agitate him" to see whether anything of faith would remain, or whether all would not be found to be chaff - mere natural ordor and false professions.

31-34. Simon, Simon—(See on [1725]Lu 10:41).

desired to have—rather, "hath obtained you," properly "asked and obtained"; alluding to Job (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6), whom he solicited and obtained that he might sift him as wheat, insinuating as "the accuser of the brethren" (Re 12:10), that he would find chaff enough in his religion, if indeed there was any wheat at all.

you—not Peter only, but them all.

Ver. 31,32. Our Lord directeth his speech to Peter, as one who (as it will by and by appear) had a greater confidence of himself than the rest expressed, and as one who he foresaw would fall more foully than the rest; though it appears, that in his speech he had a respect to them all, for the word you is in the plural number. The devil had a mind to disturb them all by his temptations (that is here called sifting). Christ hath his fan in his hand, and will sift his church, but his sifting is to purge his floor; he sifts a particular soul, to purify it from its lusts and corruptions; but Satan sifts the soul and the church merely to give them trouble, and to keep them from rest and quiet by continual motion and agitation. This we are all concerned to take notice of, that we may both be continually prepared for the time of our siftings, and bless God who doth not satisfy Satan’s desires to sift his; for he hath the same mind to winnow us now, that he had to sift Peter and the rest of the apostles.

But (saith our Saviour) I have prayed that thy faith fail not. There is a total and a partial failing of faith. Peter’s faith did fail in part; but the seed of God did yet abide in him, his faith did not wholly fail: so will it be with the faith of every true disciple of Christ. In hours of great temptation and trial, their faith may, as to some degrees, fail, but totally it shall not: they may be perverted, but they shall again be converted. As the apostles saith of the bodies of the saints, Romans 8:10,11, And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you: may also be said of their souls. They have in them a body of death, and they may in act hour of great temptations fail, and their gracious habits may seem to die. But if the Spirit of God dwelleth in the soul, he will again quicken their souls by his Spirit which dwelleth in them.

And when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren; that is, when God hath recovered thee from thy fall, and made thee to see thy error, make an improvement of thy recovery out of the snare of the devil, by admonishing others to take heed of too much confidence in themselves, and encouraging them not to despair, though they also may fall into temptation; but that the grace of God shall be sufficient for them. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon,.... Peter is particularly, and by name, spoken to, either because he might be a principal person in the debate and contention about superiority, mentioned in the context; or because he was chiefly to suffer in the following temptation of Satan; or because he was generally the mouth of the rest of the apostles; and he is addressed, not by the name of Peter, the name Christ gave him, when he first called him, signifying his future solidity, firmness, and steadfastness; because in this instance, he would not give any proof of it; but by his former name, Simon, and which is repeated, partly to show the earnestness of Christ in the delivery of what follows, and partly to express his affectionate concern for him; so the Jews observe (s) concerning God's calling, "Moses, Moses", Exodus 3:4 that , "the doubling of the word", is expressive "of love", and finding grace and favour; even as it is said, "Abraham, Abraham", Genesis 22:11 or it may be to excite attention to what Christ was about to say. Though the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions read the first of these, "to Simon", thus: Jesus said to Simon,

Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you; not only Peter, but all the apostles; for the word "you", is plural: Satan, the enemy of the woman's seed, the accuser of the brethren, the wicked one, and the tempter, desired, asked leave of God, for he can do nothing without permission; that he might have these disciples under his power, and in his hand; just as he got leave to have the goods, and even the body of Job in his hand, and fain would have had his life, and soul too, could he have obtained it; and he would have the lives and souls of others; for he goes about, seeking to devour whom he may; and he had now an evil eye upon the apostles, and wanted an opportunity to gratify his malice and envy: his end in desiring to have them in his power was,

that he may sift you as wheat; not to separate the chaff from the wheat, but to make them look like all chaff, by covering the wheat of grace with the chaff of sin and corruption; or to destroy the wheat, was it possible; or to toss them to and fro as wheat is in a sieve; that is, to afflict and distress them; see Amos 9:9 by scattering them both from Christ, and one another; by filling them with doubts about Jesus being the Messiah and Redeemer: and by frightening them with the fears of enemies and of death, which end he obtained; see Matthew 26:56.

(s) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 38. 4. Jarchi in Genesis 22.11. Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 14. fol. 217. 1.

{10} And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may {l} sift you as wheat:

(10) We must always think about the ambush that Satan lays for us.

(l) To toss you and scatter you, and also to cast you out.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 22:31-34. The conversation with Peter concerning his denial is found in John also at the supper, while Matthew and Mark, on the other hand, place it on the way to Gethsemane. But how possible it is that the momentous word, which had already been spoken at the supper, was returned to again on the journey by night! so that in this way both narratives are correct in regard to the point of time. The words addressed to Peter in Luke 22:31 f. are peculiar to Luke, and are so characteristic in substance and in form, that they seem to be original, and not the offspring of tradition. The words εἶπε δὲ ὁ κύριος (which, nevertheless, are not found in B L T, Copt. Sahid., and are hence suspicious, and deleted by Tischendorf), if they are genuine, separate what follows from what precedes as a special opening of a discourse the occasion of which Luke does not state, and probably, moreover, could not, and hence the question at issue cannot be decided.

Σίμων, Σίμων] urgently warning, as Luke 10:41; Acts 11:4.

ἐξῃτήσατο ὑμᾶς] he has demanded you (thee and thy fellow-disciples) for himself, longed for you into his power, sibi tendendos postulavit; namely, from God, as he once did in the case of Job (Job 1.). A similar allusion to the history of Job may be found in the Test. XII. Patr. p. 729: ἐὰν τὰ πνεύματα τοῦ Βελιὰρ εἰς πᾶσαν πονηρίαν θλίψεως ἐξαιτήσωνται ὑμᾶς. Comp. Const. Apost. vi. 5. 4. The compound ἐξῃτ. refers to the contemplated surrender out of God’s power and protection. Comp. Herod. i. 74: οὐ γὰρἐξσδίδου τοὺς Σκύθας ἐξαιτέοντι Κυαξάρεϊ; Plat. Menex. p. 245 B; Polyb. iv. 66. 9, 30:8. 6. Moreover, the meaning is not to be reduced to a mere “imminent vobis tentationes” (Kuinoel), but the actual will of the devil (ὁ γὰρ διάβολος πολὺς ἐπέκειτο ζητεῖν ὑμᾶς ἐκβαλεῖν τῆς ἐμῆς στοργῆς καὶ προδότας ἀποδεῖξαι, Theophylact), which is known to Jesus, is by Him declared, and only the form of the expression by means of ἐξῃτήσατο is, in allusion to the history of Job, figurative, so that the meaning is: The devil wishes to have you in his power, as he once upon a time asked to have Job in his power.

τοῦ σινιάσαι] so far as the ancient Greek writers are concerned, the verb σινιάζω[253] is not to be found; but according to Photius, p. 512, 22, Hesychius, Suidas, and the Greek Fathers (see Suicer, Thes. II. p. 961 f.; van Hengel, Annot. p. 31 f.), the meaning is without doubt: in order to sift you (κοσκινεύειν); ΣΊΝΙΟΝ ΓᾺΡ ΠΑΡΆ ΤΙΣΙ ΚΑΛΕῖΤΑΙ ΤῸ ΠΑΡ ̓ ἩΜῖΝ ΚΌΣΚΙΝΟΝ, ἘΝ ᾮ Ὁ ΣῖΤΟς ΤῇΔΕ ΚἈΚΕῖΣΕ ΜΕΤΑΦΕΡΌΜΕΝΟς ΤΑΡΆΣΣΕΤΑΙ, Euthymius Zigabenus. The point of comparison is the ταράσσειν which puts to the test. As the wheat in the sieve is shaken backwards and forwards, and thus the refuse separates itself from the grains, and falls out; so Satan wishes to trouble you and toss you about (by vexations, terrors, dangers, afflictions), in order to bring your faithfulness to me to decay.

Luke 22:32. ἐγὼ δέ] spoken in the consciousness of the greater power which He by His prayer has in opposition to the demand of Satan. “Ostenderat periculum, ostendit remedium,” Maldonatus.

περὶ σοῦ] Comp. previously ὙΜᾶς; “totus sane hic sermo Domini praesupponit, Petrum esse primum apostolorum, quo stante aut cadente ceteri aut minus aut magis periclitarentur,” Bengel. Jesus here means a more special intercession than in John 17:15.

ἵνα μὴ ἐκλείπῃ κ.τ.λ.] that thy faith in me cease not, that thou mayest not be unfaithful, and fall away from me. Jesus knows this prayer is heard, in spite of the temporary unfaithfulness of the denial, the approaching occurrence of which he likewise knows. “Defecit in Petro ἡ ἐνέργεια τῆς πίοτεως ad tempus,” Grotius. Therefore he goes on: and thou at a future time (καὶ σύ, opposed to the ἘΓῺ ΔΈ), when thou shalt be converted (without figure: resipueris, μετανοήσας, Theophylact), strengthen thy brethren (thy fellow-disciples); be their support, which maintains and strengthens them, when they become wavering in their faith. Even here we have the dignity and duty of the primate, which was not to cease through the momentary fall. For the idea of στηρίζειν, see especially Acts 14:22. On the form ΣΤΉΡΙΣΟΝ, see Winer, p. 82 [E. T. 110]. According to Bede, Maldonatus, Grotius, Bengel, van Hengel, Annot. p. 1 ff., Ewald, and others, ἐπίστρ. is a Hebraism (שׁוּב): rursus, vicissim, so that the meaning would be: what I have done to thee, do thou in turn to thy brethren. This is contrary to the usus loquendi of the New Testament (even Acts 7:42; Acts 15:36). But it is inconsistent with the context when Wetstein takes ἘΠΊΣΤΡ. actively: “convertens fratres tuos,” since Jesus has the fall of Peter (Luke 22:34) in His view.

Luke 22:33 f. Comp. on Matthew 26:32-35; Mark 14:20-31. The ἐπιστρέψας provoked the self-confidence of the apostle.

μετὰ σοῦ] stands with passionate emphasis at the beginning; ἐκ πολλῆς ἀγάπης θρασύνεται καὶ ὑπισχνεῖται τά τέως αὐτῷ ἀδύνατα, Theophylact.

Πέτρε] not Σίμων this time. The significant name in contradiction with the conduct.

ΜΉ] after ἈΠΑΡΝ., as Luke 20:27.

[253] Ignatius, Smyrn. Interpol. 7, has συνιασθῆναι, plainly in reference to the passage before us.Luke 22:31-34. Peter’s weakness foretold. With John (John 13:36-38) Lk. places this incident in the supper chamber. In Mt. and Mk. it occurs on the way to Gethsemane (Matthew 26:31-35, Mark 14:37-41). It is introduced more abruptly here than in any of the other accounts. The εἶπε δὲ ὁ κύριος of the T.R. is a natural attempt to mitigate the abruptness, but the passage is more effective without it. From generous praise and bright promises Jesus passes suddenly, with perhaps a slight pause and marked change of tone, to the moral weakness of His much-loved companions and of Peter in particular.31. Simon, Simon] The repetition of the name gave combined solemnity and tenderness to the appeal (Luke 10:41).

Satan hath desired to have you] Rather, Satan demanded you (plur.), or ‘gained you by asking.’ “Not content with Judas,” Luke 22:3. Bengel.

that he may sift you] The word siniasai, from sinion, a sieve, occurs here only. Satan, too, has his winnowing fan, that he may get his chaff. Judas has been already winnowed away from the Apostolic band, and now Satan demands Peter (comp. Job 1:9). The warning left a deep impression on Peter’s mind. 1 Peter 5:8-9. For the metaphor see Amos 9:9-10.Luke 22:31. Σίμων, Σίμων, Simon, Simon) A most weighty Epizeuxis.[236] Peter also had joined in the strife, mentioned in Luke 22:24, which was inimical to faith, John 5:44 [“How can ye believe, who receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only”].—ἰδοὺ, behold) That is to say, the fact is in this case manifest from its palpable effect; which effect, however, Peter did not suppose to have come from the Tempter, as it really had.—ὁ Σατανᾶς, Satan) not content with having entered into Judas. See Luke 22:3.—ἔξητήσατο, [“hath desired”] hath sought to get you out) viz. out from your safe-guard. Satan demanded, that Peter should be given up to him, as Job was: but the Saviour repulsed him. The antithesis is, ἐδεήθην, I have prayed.—ὑμᾶς· περὶ σοῦ, you [the apostles]; for thee) Satan had perceived that there was great faith in Peter, and yet also a great proneness to fall, and he supposed that, if Peter should be overcome, all of them would be overcome. But Jesus by preserving Peter, the ruin of whom would have carried with it the ruin of the rest, preserved them all. In fact this whole discourse of our Lord takes for granted, that Peter is the first of the apostles, by whose standing (maintenance of his ground as a believer), or else fall, the rest of them would either escape the risk, or else be the more endangered. But it was in respect of faith that he was the first, not in respect of authority and power. Whereas the pretended successor of Peter, after that he revolted from the pure simplicity of the faith, and yet claimed to himself alone the primacy in the faith and in authority, fell wholly and miserably into the ‘sieve’ [of Satan]. Those in the foremost van are generally followed by the rest of their fellow-soldiers: the foremost soldiers are imperilled more than the rest: the foremost need especially to be fortified with the care and prayers of themselves and of the ‘watchmen.’—σινιάσαι) σίνιον, a sieve. Hesychius explains σινιάσαι, i.e. σεῖσαι, κοσκινεῦσαι (to shake as in a sieve): corn is shaken and tossed about in a sieve: and men do so for the sake of cleansing it of chaff and refuse. But Satan’s sifting was for the sake of utterly destroying the faith of the apostles, whilst making them come into collision with one another, by means of raising agitations from without and from within, in things high and low alike.—ὡς, as) with as much ease [as one would, wheat].

[236] The forcible repetition of the same word in the same sentence. Append.—E. and T.Verses 31-38. - The Lord foretells Simon Peter's fall. He tells She disciples of the hard times coming on them. Verse 31. - And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. The majority of the more ancient authorities omit the words, "and the Lord said." These words were possibly inserted at an early date to obviate the abruptness of this sudden change in the subject-matter of the Lord's discourse. The more accurate translation would be, "Satan obtained you by asking that he," etc. Bengel comments with "not content with Judas." This saying of Jesus is a very mysterious one; it reveals to us something of what is going on in the unseen world. A similar request was made by the same bitter, powerful the in the case or Job (Job 1:12). Are we to understand that these are examples of what is constantly going on in that world so close to us, but from which no whisper ever reaches our mortal ears? Such grave thoughts lend especial intensity to those words in the prayer of prayers, where we ask "our Father which is in heaven" to deliver us from evil, or the evil one, as so many of our best scholars prefer to translate ἀπὸ τοῦ πονήρου. Satan asks that he may test and try the apostles. Judas he had already tempted, and he had won him. Possibly this signal victory emboldened him to proffer this request. We may imagine the evil one arguing thus before the Eternal: "These chosen ones who are appointed to work in the future so tremendous a work in thy Name, are utterly unworthy. Let me just try to lure them away with my lures. Lo, they will surely fall. See, one has already." Hath desired (ἐξῃτήσατο)

Only here in New Testament. It sometimes means to obtain by asking, or to beg off. So Xenophon, "Anabasis," i., 1, 3. The mother of Cyrus, who is charged with an attempt to kill his brother, begged him off (ἐξαιτησαμένη). Rev., in margin, obtained you by asking. The result proved that Satan had obtained him for the time.

Sift (σινιάσαι)

Only here in New Testament.

Wheat (σῖτον)

A general term, grain.

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