On the last night with his disciples, gathered around the table, Jesus prepares them for the hours ahead. He reminds them how he will be arrested and put to death. His words are not what they want to hear. But they are the truth!
Jesus knows his disciples will abandon him. He knows that Peter who is so adamant he would never abandon Jesus, that even Peter will deny him and run for his life.
Jesus knows the hours and the days ahead are pivotal in the lives these disciples. They will be overwhelmed with grief, despair, guilt, and doubt.
He knows this will be the opportune time for Satan to step in and seek to destroy their faith. So Jesus tells Peter,
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. (Luke 22:31 NIV)
In other words, Satan wanted to separate the disciples from Jesus, like chaff is separated from the grain of wheat. Satan wanted to destroy their faith in Jesus and stop them from fulfilling their divine destiny. But Jesus intervened with prayer.
” But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.” (Luke 22:32 NIV)
Jesus prayed for his disciples that though their faith would waver, their faith would not fail.
And God the Father answered his prayers. God sent His Holy Spirit to strengthen the faith of these disciples. From the ashes of guilt and despair, from the burden of overwhelming guilt, the Holy Spirit comforted and empowered these disciples to become the mighty apostles who established Christ’s Church here on earth.
Yet on the same night that Jesus told his disciples he had prayed for them, he also revealed this truth for us.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me, ” (John 17:20)
That means you and me!
Jesus knew the Enemy of our soul delights to use the difficult and overwhelming times in our lives, the grief, the pain, and the adversity, to “sift us like wheat” – to separate us from our Lord, to attack our faith in Him.
“It is Christ Jesus, . . . who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. (Rom. 8:34 NRSV)
Just as Jesus did for his disciples so many years ago, He continues to intercede, to pray for us today. So if you are going through a difficult, bewildering, or overwhelming time in your life, know that your Savior continues to intercede on your behalf today – that your faith in Him will not fail!