Luke 22:31-34: Jesus Satan Disciples: Part I

This series: Luke 22:31-34: Jesus, Satan, Disciples explores the interaction of Jesus with His apostles the night before he died. it gives valuable insight into God’s control and man’s responsibility in the area of spiritual warfare.

v.31: Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat;
v.32: but I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.
v.33: but he replied, “Lord I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
v.34: Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today you will deny three times that you know me.”

In chapter 22 of his gospel, Luke recorded details of the meeting between Jesus and His apostles. Jesus is re-introducing them to the reality of and players in Cosmic Warfare: Jesus, Satan and His Disciples. Jesus had a great desire to celebrate and to eat the Passover meal with His disciples (v.14). It seems almost counterintuitive that Jesus would celebrate the night before He died.

In verses 15-20, He instituted the Lord’s Supper and verbally inaugurated the new covenant. Following the eating and drinking of the Supper, Jesus announced His betrayal by one of His disciples (v.21-22). Jesus knew the reality of cosmic warfare: Jesus, Satan and the Disciples. Judas’ action was to be a partial fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. Synonymously Jesus taught God’s good control of all things. Don’t miss that point.

In the midst of trouble, Jesus was in control as He had been all of His life. He declared that He was Boss. It is God Who determines all things for His glory and the good of His people. Jesus coupled God’s control with man’s responsibility when He said woe to that person who was His betrayer (verse 22). Apparently Judas was oblivious or hardened or both to Jesus’ words.

Luke recorded the disciples’ response in verse 23: they began to question who it was. Interestingly, and perhaps amazingly, Luke limited the subject of Jesus’ betrayal to this one verse! Apparently, the question of who was asked as a group. It was never answered. The apostles seemed oblivious to the reality of cosmic warfare as documented in Luke 22:31-34: Jesus, Satan and Disciples. They knew something cataclysmic was happening but they needed the Holy Spirit to enlighten them.

Immediately following the subject of betrayal, the hearts of the disciples were demonstrated as given in verse 24. Rather than seeking the betrayer, they disputed who was number one! They were not referring to Jesus but to self. A somber, soul-searching moment turned sinfully ugly. Number One was before them and they failed to bow the knee to Him. Yet in spite of them, Jesus redeemed the time and taught them that the true number one was the servant of others (v.25-27).

Jesus followed with the prospect of a great blessing for them as God-trusters: membership in God’s kingdom as co-rulers (v.28-30). Jesus, secure in His relationship with the Father and confident in the Father’s purposeful omnipotence, then proclaimed to them Satan’s desires and Satan’s place in God’s economy. They did not get it.

Verses 31-34 give insight into Christ’s power and control, the faithfulness of God, and the apostles’ weak faith. There was no power struggle. Jesus was in control – always and forever. The verses outline Christ’s purpose as the Messiah and God’s Agent and the power of God to fulfill His purposes. It is in the context of His interaction with His apostles that Jesus demonstrates His authority, courage, goodness, and mercy.

This description of Jesus’ life is not found in the other gospels. The verses in Luke give a view of the extraordinary Christ not present in other parts of Scripture; and they give a view of the apostles as a group of becomers who still did not understand even at this late date. The take-away lessons are embedded in the text itself. The next blogs in the series Luke 22:31-34: Jesus Satan Disciples consider verse 31 (Part II); verse 32 (Part III), and verses 33-34 (Parts IV-V). I then close with John 21 which records Peter’s restoration (Part VI).

1. Read Luke 22 in its entirety to catch the flow of Jesus’ last hours with the apostles.
2. The seriousness of what was transpiring was missed by the apostles. How can you tell?
3. Jesus was in control but the apostles again failed to understand and to respond correctly to this fact. Circumstances were about to change. How did the apostles understand these changes?

Jesus’ Explains: Part II

31: Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat

This verse highlights the essence of the series entitled Luke 22:31-34: Jesus Satan Disciples. Jesus introduces Satan. The double “Simon, Simon” has the effect of emphasis and deep concern (see Luke 10:41). You is plural and the word all has been added for emphasis. Jesus was speaking to all the apostles. He was exhorting them to take notice, to give ear to His words, and to give Him their full attention. They needed what Jesus was imparting to them then because in part it was a type of culmination of His ministry.

Jesus summarized the cosmic warfare: Jesus, Satan and the Disciples by focusing on Satan’s activity. He told the group that Satan had asked actually the word in the original indicates begged for and even demanded them for himself. One can only wonder about Peter and if he remembered Jesus’ rebuke of him in Matthew 16. Arrogantly and ignorantly Satan claims them. The word translated “asked” occurs only here in the New Testament. The tense of the verb suggests the idea of making a claim for self.

This demand harkens us back to the wilderness where Satan laid claim to the kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4; Luke 4). Satan offered to give the kingdoms to Jesus if Jesus would worship him – such ignorance and arrogance on Satan’s part! Such is the nature of cosmic warfare: Jesus, Satan, and Disciples. Satan owns nothing not even himself! He is a created being. He is God’s agent as recorded in both the Old and New Testaments. He refuses to acknowledge this fact.

Jesus’ point is clear. There is cosmic warfare involving Jesus, Satan, and disciples. BUT: God is in control. Satan has no rights. He does only what God has ordained and permits him to do. He must go to God for permission and even then his activity is limited (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6). Luke is picturing the story of Job. Since the fall, Satan has refused to listen and to learn. In fact, he is unable and unwilling to do either (Romans 8:5-8).

Jesus did not deny the existence of Satan or his activity. Rather Jesus told the disciples that He gave Satan permission to do what Satan had ignorantly and arrogantly sought. Like Job, the attack was on the Triune God and his disciples were simple pawns to be sued in this cosmic war. The goal of Satan for all mankind is unfaithfulness to God. He especially desired the disciples to turn from God to him. The apostles and Job were prime targets because of the time Christ had spent with the apostles and God’s investment in Job (Job 1:1,8; 2:3). Each had a special relationship with Christ. If these men proved unfaithful, God would be unmasked as a fraud and a loser and no match for Satan.

Self-pleasing was and is Satan’s modus operandi. It was his way even as he was beckoned into God’s presence (see Job 1-2). It is still his way. Satan hoped to discredit God through Job and the disciples. He hoped Job and the eleven would demonstrate his patterned lifestyle by choosing to please self in lieu of pleasing God. As in Job’s case, Satan hoped to demonstrate that God was not a good Protector and Redeemer.

In the wilderness, Jesus supremely faced the tension between self-pleasing and God-pleasing, between sensual living and suprasensual living. These tensions are byproducts of the cosmic warfare: Jesus, Satan and Disciples. By sensual living I mean a mindstyle and lifestyle that is the result of an experience interpreted solely via the senses unaided by biblical truth. Information is taken in by the senses and interpreted according to feelings, common-sense, experiences, and reasoning divorced from a biblical understanding of God and His providence.

By suprasensual living, I mean the mindset and lifestyle that results in and from interpreting the situation through the grid of saving faith and true hope rather than feelings, experience, and reason divorced from biblical truth. The person is able to interpret God, self, others, and circumstances through the grid of biblical truth. Throughout Christ’s life, He faced the temptation of covenantal unfaithfulness through pleasing Himself. So, too, the disciples were facing the same temptation. So, too, is it for every believer until Christ returns.

An essential feature of Satan, and those in his family, is his refusal to bow the knee to King Christ as he desires to bring all men everywhere into his fold. He wants all mankind to think, desire, and act like him. Yet he knows he is the loser! Satan is self-oriented, self-serving, and self-worshipping. He is, by his very nature anti-Matthew 5:3 and anti-Romans 11:36.

Verse 31 leads us to ask when did Satan demand this from Christ. From Genesis 3:15, we know that Satan is at war with God in Christ. The cosmic war started in heaven and continued at and after the fall. Once removed from heaven, Satan proceeded as though he had a right to mankind. He has continued his war on God through God’s people using deceit. An attack on Jesus’ disciples was an attack on God. Satan considered all disciples pawns to be fought over and pulled into his kingdom and family.

Chapters 1 and 2 of the book of Job make this clear. Job was God’s exemplary son, a type of Christ. This position made Job a special target. If Job failed to be trustworthy it was because God failed as his Protector. Satan was after God through Job. In a sense, God’s name and glory were at stake. Such was the case with the apostles and for Jesus. If they had followed Judas’ example, Christ’s name would be sullied. His mission would be an utter failure. Satan would be victor.

Please notice that the demand presented to Jesus by Satan assumed Jesus’ deity (James 2:19). Yet Satan persisted in his rebellion. Jesus in speaking to Peter equated Himself with God – because He is God! Jesus said that Satan’s target was not simply Peter but all the apostles. Satan had one (Judas), so he thought he may get more (John 12:1-6; 13:2, 27).

1. What do you learn about the apostles?
2. What do you learn about Satan?
3. What do you learn about Christ?
4. What do learn about you?
5. Take those facts and develop a plan to strengthen yourself and your brothers and sisters.

Satan’s Request and and Jesus’ Explanation: Part III

v.31: Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat

I continue the series: Luke 22:31-34: Jesus Satan and the Disciples. All the apostles were to be sifted. For believers, sifting is a certainty in a fallen world. it I part of the cosmic warfare: Jesus, Satan, and the disciples. The word translated sift refers to the violent, repeated, and swift shaking as of wheat in order to separate wheat and chaff. Life in the fallen world is one of decision-making and choice. Sifting is pictured as separating the elect from the non-elect, the faithful from the unfaithful. Satan desired to have all mankind to be in his family and kingdom as enemies of God.

Jesus made clear in verse 32 that what is His is His! He holds fast to His people. In His statement, Jesus also made clear that further times of testing were coming (John 15:18-21; 16:33). The sifting pointed to the larger cosmic war between Jesus, Satan, and the disciples. It was begun by Satan’s initial rebellion and continued in the Garden (Ephesians 6:10-18; Job 1 and 2; Zechariah. 3:1-5). Each was followed by God’s righteous judgment and set the stage for redemption. Satan’s tools for spiritual warfare is most often deceit and distortion of God’s truth.

Sifting speaks of the potential impact that God’s providence, often referred to as trials, has on individuals. The Bible speaks of the process of pruning in order to remove the dross from individuals (Isaiah 48:10-11; Jeremiah 9:7; John 15:1-4; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-7). Pressure from the outside squeezes the heart so that what is within the person will become manifest.

Thus, the circumstances are NOT the cause of the fruit expressed. They are the context for a person’s inner-man exposure. They do not determine the response. Only that which is present within the person will be expressed. If self-pleasing is within, it will come forth. A person’s inside-out response is in terms of thoughts, desires, and actions and is a response to God, the Giver of the situation.

Peter and the other apostles would desert Jesus in spite of their protestations that they would not (Matthew 26:35; Mark 14:31; Luke 22:33). Why did they desert Jesus for a time? It was because they were bathed in doubt, turmoil, and chaos. Their thinking and wanting were off the mark! As a result, they viewed themselves and their situation sensually. Humanly and sensually speaking, Jesus appeared to be a loser. Bad feelings abounded which was a major guide for them. Truth was sidelined. They had eyes but did not see and ears but did not hear.

If Jesus was loser, so were they. What were they to do? Where would they go? Perhaps they were offended by Jesus. There was fear of man which was actually a self-absorbed desire for self- protection. Control was the issue. Self was uppermost in their hearts. Proper fear of God and an improper fear of man collided. The desire to protect self and have “life” (their situation) as they thought it should be had achieved lordship proportion in their hearts. For whatever reasons, their thoughts and desires motivated the disciples to disown Jesus. Yet, Christ did not disown them.

For the believer, trials (which are God’s providence and a time of testing and refining) bring the person face to face with pervasive satanic influence of self-pleasing that remains in every believer after regeneration. Some of God’s purposes in and for trials include purifying faith (1 Peter 1:6-7), maturing faith (James 1:2-4), and producing hope (Romans 5:1-5). In contradistinction, Satan hoped that a person’s response in trials would discredit God as the person moved away from God. This was Satan’s tactic with Christ and Job. Job was not the target – God was!

Satan does not know God or perhaps more correctly, he does not know as he ought! Rather, in the milieu of hard times, Jesus taught that trials are intended by God to be used for the purification of the believer (James 1:13-16; 1 John 2:15-17; John 15:18-21). Becoming more like Him is God’s way into His presence and a foretaste of heaven.

The tendency of the believer to please and worship self is in part remaining sinfulness in the person, and a legacy of habituation from prior membership in Satan’s family and kingdom. Self-pleasing must be replaced with pleasing God which only the believer can do. This requires a proper view of God and of self. A growing love and admiration of God – His majesty, awesomeness, goodness, and power – is part of the blessing, privilege, and duty that the sons and daughters of God enjoy as members of God’s family.

In the Garden of Eden, God, the just Judge, pronounced a curse on all mankind due to Adam’s first sin. Satan was God’s agent then and now. His influence continues within, even for the believer, and outside the person. The choice between pleasing God or pleasing self and Satan is before every believer daily. It was before Jesus 24/7. Jesus did not waver. He proved covenantally faithful all of His life – to the cross and on the cross.

Only the believer who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit can choose to please God. The believer is to grow in Christlikeness. He does that as he puts off self-pleasing and puts on God-pleasing. For him, pleasing God is more than duty – it is privilege and blessing. In a most powerful and profound way, the apostles faced this choice the night before Jesus died.

1. Cosmic warfare: have you captured the extent of God’s rescue of you and all believers in Christ through the Holy Spirit? See Colossians 1:13-14.
2. Give reasons for your answer and list changes in thoughts, desires, and actions that you think are needed for you as a result of a changed view of God and self.
3. After meaningful prayer, review the answers daily and makes changes as needed.

Luke 22:31-34: Christ’s Intervention: Part IV

v.32: but I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.

I continue the series: Luke 22:31-34: Jesus Satan and Disciples. In verse 31, you is plural because Jesus addressed all the apostles. Here in verse 32, Jesus singled out Peter. At the Lord’s Supper and just several verses before, Jesus had praised all the apostles for their faithfulness (Luke 22:28). In one sense Jesus’ prayer mentioned in verses 31-32 was an interesting one, because the apostles had God the Giver of faith in front of them and they had His gift of saving faith. The Giver and the gift were not the problem. It was the receiver of the gift.

The disciples would fail that night, but they would prove faithful followers of Christ and would ultimately gain the prize of Christ Himself. Their life and death after Christ’s Ascension magnified that point. The events outlined in the series: Luke 22:31-34: Jesus Satan Disciples were never far from their thoughts.  It was etched in their being such that living and dying for Christ was more than duty: it was a privilege and blessing!

They came to know Christ in a way that they had not before. In that sense they were like Job as described in Job 38-42. Job had a personal encounter with God and was changed forever. Similarly, after the crucifixion the apostles, except one, came to know Jesus and desired to be like Him in thought, desire, and action (Luke 24). Their success is the Triune God’s success and is a source of joy and comfort (Colossians 1:6, 23)

The apostles’ faith, as is every believer’s, was to be informed, intelligent, active, growing, and aggressive. But at this juncture, it was not. The apostles still did not get it. That was their pattern. They thought as most of Israel did. They thought sensually, in terms of an earthly, physical kingdom, an earthly messiah, and earthly peace, refuge, and comfort for the now.

In reality, they desired heaven on earth, but they had a wrong view of earth and heaven because they had a wrong view of God and self. Jesus exerted authority when He said: I have prayed for you. Notice that Jesus does not ask the Father for Peter (and the apostles) to be freed from situations (some call these trials) in which the choice between allegiance and devotion to God or self is at the center. He did not pray for Peter to be removed from his God-appointed circumstances including the present one. Paul builds on this truth in several places including Romans 8:35-39 and 1 Corinthians 10:13. In Romans 8:35-39, Paul wrote that believers are more than conquerors – in trials, not out of them.

Jesus prayed for all of the apostles (John 17:9, 19-20). He prayed for them to be faithful disciples – and they were in time. In Luke 22, Jesus prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail. He also prayed for all the apostles through Peter’s efforts in strengthening them. The word for fail used by Luke is a root for our word eclipse. Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not be hidden or concealed. For a time it was.

Jesus knew His apostles as “you of little faith” (Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8). He demanded, deserved, and designed His people for faithfulness beginning with their salvation. Jesus knew that every person is faith-based and proves faithful to someone and to something. The disciples had to grow in godly faithfulness. God knew the apostles and the ultimate outcome of this testing as He did regarding Abraham in Genesis 22. God knew that Abraham and the apostles would prove faithful. The Abrahamic and the apostolic message was one of covenantal faithfulness which Jesus redemptively modeled and which the patriarchs and apostles non-redemptively modeled.

Jesus was teaching the apostles in the milieu, in the crucible of choice. Literally choice was a matter of life and death. Jesus prayed that the apostles would recognize and respond as if the object of their faith was God and pleasing Him was the only logical choice for them (Romans 12:1-2). At the moment they failed – “O you of little faith. “ But ultimately, they proved faithful. God’s gift of saving faith and His grace of enabling faith was theirs to use. Ultimately they did use it – they did not fail or prove unfaithful because God is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9; 10:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 2 Timothy 2:13).

Peter did turn around. The word that Luke used means to turn and to go in another direction. In the New Testament, it is used as another term for repentance which indicates an about-face after changed thinking and movement in the opposite direction. The term carries the idea of a person’s response to some event or activity (see Luke 1:16-17; James 5:19-20). Correctly, Peter did weep (22:56-62) as did David in Psalm 51. Both of these men grieved God’s way, were restored, and functioned as God’s men. They became soul- winners (John 21:15-19; Psalm 51:13; see Acts 1-12 and 1 and 2 Peter).

Later in John 21 Peter demonstrated the fruit of repentance when Jesus reinstated him. One such evidence of that fruit would be strengthening the brothers. Jesus told Peter to strengthen them. The word Luke used for strengthen is powerful. It means to render steadfast, to resolutely hold fast, and to stay focused on the task at hand. Luke used this same word to describe Jesus’ determination to reach Jerusalem (Luke 9:51). Christ intended Peter to be an anchor, a blessing, an encouragement, and a model for his brothers. He was but later! Tough times were ahead for the apostles, but God provided exactly what the Church and His people needed.

In his first epistle, Peter gave wonderful teaching. Probably remembering his experience, Peter defined trials and their purpose which was to be used in order to glorify God and bless fellow Christians (1 Peter 1:6-7; 4:13). Peter was an encouragement to his congregation and he continues to be one for believers today.

1. Christ is High Priest and as such is the Sacrificer, the Sacrifice, and the Intercessor. He is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Col. 3:103; Heb. 8:1)
2. Christ as Intercessor means that He pleads on behalf of His people.
3. Jesus is the perfect High Priest forever:
a. According to Hebrews 7:25 that means what? Jesus always lives and is always at work.
b. According to Romans 8:32-34 that means what? Jesus is in the right and perfect position to intervene for His people and He does.
c. According to Hebrews 4:15-16 that means what? Jesus is the perfect High Priest who has experienced the fullness of the human condition but without sin or sinning.
d. According to 1 John 2:1-2 that means what? Believers died to sin but not to sinning. Jesus is the believer’s lawyer in God’s court of law who has never lost a case because He points the Triune God to His finished work on the cross and in the grave.

Luke 22:31-34: Peter’s Boast and Jesus’ Rebuttal: Part V

v.33: but he replied, “Lord I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

I continue the series: Luke 22:31-34: Jesus Satan Disciples and move to the heart of the matter, the heart. The heart is known only to God perfectly and the person imperfectly (Jeremiah 17:9-10; Hebrews 4:12-13). Peter did not get the big picture. He did not know himself or Christ. He denied his need for Christ’s intercession and instead he boasted in his own strength.

Functionally, he said he did not need Christ’s prayers. How little Peter knew himself and the reality of the cosmic war that wages in his heart! How great was his self-confidence and how little he understood the power of grace and his need of it (Matthew 14:22-33). The disciples, including Peter had made their claim: we will not leave you Jesus (Matthew 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31).

Yet they did, although there is some evidence that at least one of the apostles was at the crucifixion (Luke 23:49; John 19:25-27). The series Luke 22:31-34: Jesus Satan Disciples pictures Jesus as the Victor before the cross and the disciples as slow learners!  But they did learn and they learned well!

Rather than a self-confident response, Peter should have prayed as did David in Psalm 139:1, 23-24. In the Garden, Jesus told Peter, James, and John to pray and to be alert. Jesus encouraged them to pray but not for Him. Jesus encouraged them to take stock of what was happening and their need of intimacy with the Father by the Holy Spirit. They failed to make provisions and bask in a sea of grace (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46). They failed to ask for wisdom (James 1:5-8). However, Jesus knew His people.

In Luke 22:32, Jesus did not leave praying in their hands. He went straight to the Father Himself. What an amazing and comforting thought that Jesus intercedes for His people in spite of them from heaven and who with the Father sent the Holy Spirit who intercedes for his people (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; Romans 8:26-27).

Christ’s Lordship: Christ’s Rebuttal: VI

v.34: Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today you will deny three times that you know me.”

In this portion of the series: Luke 22:31-34: Jesus Satan Disciples, we find Jesus rebutting Peter. Essentially, He told Peter that he had eyes but he did not see and ears but did not hear. He told Peter that he was not ready for the ministry God had in store for him. Peter had not denied himself, his whole self. Self – wants, desires, and thoughts – was still laced and burdened with me-ism. Peter was not 100% committed to Christ. Rather, Peter had accentuated himself and thereby depreciated and denigrated Christ and the cross.

These are strong words but this occasion was a momentous one. Here was another opportunity for Jesus to declare get behind me Satan after Peter’s satanic counsel of no cross as recorded in Matthew 16:23. Yet embedded in Christ’s warning and prophecy was Jesus’ commitment to His Father, to Peter, and to all His disciples, and al believers as if to say: I have your back Peter. Such is the beauty and comfort for all believers’ as recorded in the series: Luke 22:31-34: Jesus Satan Disciples.

Peter’s words were quite a turnaround for Peter and contrasted with his words recorded in Matthew 16. There Jesus referred to Peter as the rock. Peter had professed Jesus as Christ, the Son of the living God. However, the reality and influence of his profession was missing when Jesus was before the high priest (Luke 22:54-61)? Peter had a problem of starting well but ending poorly. All believers have the same experience. Self will continue to get in the way until Christ comes again. God calls us to put off self and put on Christ because in principle these have already been done for the believer who is in Christ and Christ is in him by the Holy Spirit (Romans 13:12-14; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10).

At the time of the denial, Peter refused to bow the knee to King Christ. Yet Peter came to his senses when he heard the rooster. He had a suprasensual experience. Now he had a different interpretative grid. He remembered the rooster “talk” and he knew the rooster was speaking to him. He wept as he burst into tears. The term for wept refers not simply to the physical shedding of tears but refers to inner-man churning and agitation within. Peter had sinned and at this point he did not have a solution. In one sense he was in the same situation as Judas would be. Both had sinned seemingly without a solution.

Both were filled with remorse (Matthew 27:3-5; Luke 22:60-62). Judas was sorrowful but he did not repent. He relied on his own efforts and consequently shed his own blood. He was still thinking sensually. As a result, he killed himself. Perhaps he thought his blood was worth more than Christ’s. Peter wept from the inside-out which was in keeping with godly sorrow which leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:8-11). Peter now depended on Christ’s shed blood that he had refused before the crucifixion and resurrection. He would be restored as recorded in (John’ 21:15-21).

The night before Jesus died, as had been His pattern, Jesus gave to Peter and all the apostles, hope, comfort, confidence, and a preview of His priestly intercession (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). They did not understand, but they would at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). Jesus gave to them an insight into what it means to be justified before God (Romans 5:1-5). The record and standing of every believer is clean and pure before God. This remarkable, earth-shattering truth was to be explained in depth in the Epistles. This truth began to show itself in their lives early in Jesus’ ministry.

Peter, and probably all the apostles, were moved and acknowledged their sinfulness and nothing-ness before Christ (see Luke 5:8). Perhaps they wondered how they could be saved. They did not realize that Jesus was pointing to the great day of the cross and resurrection life. It would take the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for them to more fully understand. Believers live on the resurrected side of the cross and Pentecost and should know! Where much is given much is demanded (Luke 12:47-48). The series: Luke 22:31-34: Jesus Satan Disciples demonstrates the greatness of Christ as a compassionate Teacher as well as the majestic Savior!

At the other end of the confession spectrum, Peter, with the apostles looking on, declared Jesus to be the Messiah (Matthew 16:13-20; Luke 9:18-22). However, later when the disciples were faced with the choice of self-pleasing or God pleasing, they chose the path of least resistance and pleased self (Matthew 26:35; Mark 14:31). In contradistinction to Christ, they did not prove trustworthy. Yet, not even Peter’s denial could prevent or circumvent what God was doing through Christ at the cross. Man’s sin does not negate God’s sovereign plan (Isaiah 45:5-67; 46:10-11). In addition, Jesus did not lose His children.

1. The ultimate choice of life is pleasing self or pleasing God by becoming more like Satan or more like Christ. List your self-pleasing activities and reasons for them.
2. List your God-pleasing activities and reasons for them.
3. How have you experienced God – His goodness and His beauty (Psalms 34:8)? Reread Luke 22:31-34 and record how the passage helps you grasp God and His control?

Luke 22:31-34: Jesus Restores Peter: Part VII
John 21:15-19

This is the conclusion to the series: Luke 22:31-34: Jesus Satan Disciples. The disciples had been taught the necessity and value of repentance. However, Peter did not have access to Christ. Peter was in the courtyard and His Savior was in the courtroom on trial for him! Peter carried this sin until after the resurrection and his restoration. We are not told of his burden of unconfessed sin. But I suspect he knew Psalms 32, 38, and 51. The soon-to-be crucified and resurrected Christ sustained Peter even though Peter and the rest of the apostles were still reeling and were about to desert Christ. Christ eventually restored Peter and we suspect all of the apostles. What a restoration that was for Peter (John 21)!

John recorded the three times that Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him (21:15-17). These three questions may have mirrored the three times that Peter denied being one with Christ. His accusers knew the truth about Peter. He was one with Christ. Peter denied that truth for his own benefit. His later tears showed him how wrong he was!

In John 21, each time Jesus asked him if he loved Jesus, Peter reassured Jesus that he did. Each time, based on Peter’s testimony that he loved Christ, Jesus commanded him to feed and love the flock. What a contrast Jesus was drawing! The choice was clear: forsake Christ for self based on one’s own understanding of Christ, himself, and the circumstances or abide in Christ by denying self.

A proper answer to Jesus’ questions indicated that love of Christ will always be reflected toward others (John13:33-34). Evidence of choosing Christ would be reflected in Peter’s response to God’s people. Peter did feed and take care of the flock. His first letter (1 Peter) is a grand testimony to the fact that Peter did love Christ and he set out to strengthen the brothers. In that letter, Peter gave a treatise on using hard times to honor God by growing in grace. Peter imitated Christ as he grew in Christlikeness and vice versa. Peter had learned the lesson taught in Luke 22:31-34: Jesus Satan Disciples. 

Jesus fed the flock with His blood. His feeding of His people was done prior to the cross through the prophets and the priests in the Old Testament and at the cross. Jesus ministry continues after the cross initially by the apostles by the Spirit and then via the completed canon through the Church again by the Spirit. Feeding the sheep continues today through the Church, ministers, and individual believers (Ephesians 4:11-14).

Peter had to wean himself from self before he could properly shepherd God’s flock (1 Peter 5:1-4, 5-7). This is Christ’s way. This is the way of the cross. The first and second letters of Peter are examples of the fruit of Peter’s restoration and God’s grace. His reference to Satan prowling as a roaring lion should be understood in the context of the constant choice of pleasing self or pleasing God (1 Peter 5:8). Peter’s early life as an apostle, his pronouncement of Christ as the Son of the Living God, the claim and failure the night before Jesus’ death, and his restoration bear witness to the importance of the continual indwelling Holy Spirit in the believer today. Peter forsook Christ for a time, but Christ did not let go of Peter.

Acts 2-12 records how Jesus used Peter and the other apostles to minister and build His Church in Jerusalem and then in Samaria. The apostles had learned their lesson well which was evidence of God’s gracious answer to Jesus’ prayer as recorded in Luke 22. The moment-by-moment choice between pleasing God (summarized as suprasensual living) or self (summarized as sensual living) began in the Garden of Eden and will continue until Christ returns. Christ restores His people. He did Peter and all the apostles and He will restore you. The presence and work of the Holy Spirit continues and guarantees growth in Christlikeness for all believers. Believer, be encouraged!

1. Contrast Peter and Judas: in what ways were they similar and in what ways were they different?
2. Jesus went to the cross in order to please God (Jesus 4:31-34). This desire and motivation led Jesus to the cross and kept Him on the cross.
a. How do you imitate Christ in terms of motivation?
b. In what ways do you need to grow in your motivation to please God?
c. What hinders its expression?
d. What do you do instead?
3. Peter had learning to do: thoughts, desires, and actions needed to come under the Lordship of Christ. What expedited Peter’s growth? See Acts 2.