SIFTING PETER (Part one)

AB GreggThank you Jesus for waking us up to see another day and to give Him all the praise and thanks for sparing of our lives and bringing sunshine into our hearts. My brothers and sisters in Christ let us hold fast to that which is good for His mercies endureth for ever.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32)

In the Lord’s first sentence above the word translated “you” is plural, but He changed to the singular in the second and third. This means that all the disciples would be sifted when the Lord was arrested, in fulfillment of Zechariah 13:7,“Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.” But He was choosing Peter to keep the group together and focused after He was gone.

From watching him throughout the 3 1/2 years he spent with the Lord, we can tell that Peter was a fearless, decisive guy, used to taking charge and making things happen. These are qualities we admire in a man, and are necessary for success as an independent businessman such as Peter. Some have even described him as head strong, and a bit of a loose cannon. Luke’s account of Peter’s calling shows him to be a man given to strong and immediate reactions.

One day near Capernaum Jesus used Peter’s boat as a speaker’s platform. Afterward, He had Peter go out and let down his nets for a catch. Complaining that they hadn’t caught anything all the previous night, Peter said he would do it, but only because Jesus told him to. Of course, they came up with a net full. Peter’s immediate reaction was to say, “Go away from me Lord, I am a sinful man.” This after hearing one teaching. (Luke 5:1-8)

When Jesus came to the disciples walking on the water, Peter was the one who got out of the boat to try it too, and almost drowned (Matt. 14:25-31). Peter was the first to declare that Jesus is the son of God (Matt. 16:16). When Jesus said they were going to Jerusalem where He would be arrested and put to death, Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” And many of my brethren should be told these words on similar levels. Many people are still looking for the natural things and in the days of Jesus when they were looking for bread and fish. Many people today look only for positions and power to be set aside without any hope for the future. As we see from our study this morning and for the next few days that Jesus was on a mission and He worked within the confine of His calling and appointment. Let’s take a peep into the mission of Jesus for the three and a half years. There was one final conclusion that stands out today even after 2000 years.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Matt. 16:22-24) At the Last Supper, when Jesus tried to wash Peter’s feet, he at first refused to allow it, then asked for a complete bath. With Peter it was all or nothing. (John 13:6-9) And finally, in the Garden later that evening, he drew a sword and stepped between Jesus and a detachment of armed, professional soldiers who had come to arrest Him. Swinging his sword at them, he cut off the ear of the High Priest’s servant, Malchus. He was clearly ready to take them all on in defense of the Lord. (John 18:10)

But the Lord rebuked him and with the touch of His hand, healed the servants’ ear. (Luke 22:51) Then He said, “Do you think I cannot call on My Father and He will at once put at my disposal more than 12 legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way? (Matt. 26:53-54) Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me? (John 18:11) You have heard the words and the story of Peter and why Jesus came. Today is your chance to fulfill your purpose serving Christ Jesus.

When you read all the accounts of the Lord’s arrest, you get a glimpse of both His power and His resolve. John records that simply by identifying Himself, He put all the soldiers on their backs, (John 18:4-6) and from Matthew we learn that at His command the angelic host would rush to his defense.

A Roman legion consisted of 6,000 soldiers, and while it was a formidable force, it was merely a human one. Imagine what 12 times 6,000 (72,000) angelic warriors could do. He could have easily subdued the arresting party and thrown the entire Roman army out of His land in the bargain, but that’s not what He came to do. When I consider the power available to Him and yet the meekness with which He submitted to those comparatively simple leaders I’m driven to my knees in awe and gratitude. Father God I thank you for your teaching and the demonstration of your life and how you did not use your power so the word and promise of the Father be fulfilled.

As Paul would later write, here was One who was in His very nature God. And yet He made Himself nothing, adopting instead the nature of a humble, obedient servant. As such, He agreed to be executed in the manner reserved for the basest of criminals. (Phil 2:6-8) And Peter would add, it was not for any crime He had committed, but to pay the penalty for ours. (1 Peter 1:18-19 & 3:18)

Your servant and brother,
+ Sir Godfrey Gregg
Archbishop and Presiding Prelate
Administrator and Apostolic Head

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Author: Sir Godfrey Gregg

Sir Godfrey Gregg is one of the Administrators and managing Director of this site