A Fresh Start

Read: Luke 22:31-38

Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. Simon, I’ve prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start. (vv. 31-32 MSG)

Most translations render this passage with language about Satan “sifting Peter like wheat.” What does this mean? Typically, I think of “sifting” as sorting through or mixing something. Maybe sorting beach sand while looking for shark teeth, or sifting flour into a recipe. But Jesus doesn’t say “sift like sand or flour,” he says, “sift like wheat.” Sifting wheat is the process of separating wheat from chaff. The Message paraphrase, cited above, expresses that meaning. Jesus is telling Peter that Satan wants to separate them from each other.

Separation is Satan’s work. Satan does this by deflecting our attention away from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Satan uses many things including busyness, religion, politics, fear, rules, pain, and other people to take our eyes off Jesus.

Good news came as Jesus prayed for Peter. Jesus not only anticipated Peter’s failure but also that Peter would come through it and be able to offer a fresh start to others. In Advent, we anticipate all of this in our own lives—both times of failure and fresh starts. We know ultimately that Satan cannot separate us from Jesus, nor from our redemption. —Jill English

As you pray, ask the Spirit to reveal Jesus’ redemptive work in your life so you, in turn, can encourage others.

About the Author

Jill English

Jill English is the Director of Admissions at Western Theological Seminary.