Luke 22:31 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New TestamentHere I shall give,
1. The general sense of the words.
2. The particular matters contained in them.
3. The special observation from them.
The sense of the words is this; as for you my disciples in general, and for thee Peter in particular, I must tell thee, that Satan has accused you all before God, and desires that he may have the sifting of you all by his winnowing winds of temptation and persecution, that he may shake your faith, and weaken your confidence; but I have prayed for you all, and particularly for thyself who art in greatest danger of falling, because so confident of thine own strength and standing, that thy faith, though severely shaken, may not utterly fail; and when by repentance thou art recovered from thy fall, be careful to confirm and strengthen others, that they may not fall in like manner.
The particular matter contained in these words, are these; a Christian's danger, a Christian's safety, and a Christian's duty.
1. A Christian's danger, Satan hath desired to sift you.
Where observe, 1. The person particularly warned of the danger, Simon, Simon: the doubling of the word, doubtless carries a special intimation with it: it denotes the greatness and nearness of Peter's danger, his own security and insensibleness of that danger, and the great affection of Christ his monitor, to give him warning of his danger.
Observe, 2. The warning itself, and that is, of a devilish conspiracy against himself and all the apostles, Satan hath desired to have you; to have you for his own, if it might be; to have you as believers, rather than other men; to have you as eminent believers, rather than other Christians; and to have you as apostles and ministers, rather than other eminent believers. And as Satan has desired to have you, so to sift you too, to winnow you as wheat; not to fetch out the chaff, but to make the chaff.
Here note, that Satan has his winnowing winds of temptation, and his tempestous winds of persecution, for the sifting of God's children.
Note farther, that it is the wheat, the good corn, that Satan winnows; not chaff, nor dross; sinners, that are all chaff, and nothing but dross, Satan will not be at the pains to sift and winnow them.
But what is the sifting? Answer, in sifting, two things are performed:
1. The agitation, shaking and tossing of the corn from side to side. The separation of the corn from the chaff and dust; Satan intends the former, God effects the latter: The corn is improved, not impaired, by winnowing. The saints of God shall be no losers in the end by Satan's temptations, how many and how strong soever they may be in the way.
2. The Christian's safety: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.
Where note, 1. The care that Christ had for Peter, and in him of all believers: I have prayed for thee; for thee, as a believing Christian, and for thee as a tempted Christian; and it is not said, I will pray for thee, but I have prayed for thee. Christ prayed for Peter, before Peter understood that he had need of Christ's prayer; Christ prayed for Peter as soon as ever Satan desired to sift Peter.
Our intercessor is full as nimble and speedy in his suit for us, as Satan is in his accusations against us: he has desired, but I have prayed; he is a potent assailant, but thou has a powerful assistant.
Observe, 2. The subject matter prayed for, that thy faith fail not; not that thy faith be not assaulted, not that thy faith be not shaken, but that thy faith may not fail by an absolute and total deficiency.
The third particular is the Christian's duty: When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. When converted, that is, when recovered form thy fall, when restored upon thy repentance to the divine favor. This conversion is not from a state of sin; Peter was converted before; but it was from an act of sin, into which he should lapse and relapse; Strengthen thy brethren; that is, establish others in the faith, from which tou art shamefully fallen thyself.
Now the lessons of instruction from the whole are these:
1. That temptations are like siftings: God sifts to purge away our dust and dross; Satan sifts, not to get out the chaff; but to bolt out the flour; his temptations are levelled against our faith.
2. That Satan has a continual desire to be sifting and winnowing God's flour; Satan's own children are all bran, all chaff, these he sifts not: God's children have flour mixed with bran, good wheat mixed with chaff; these he desires to sift, winnow, and fan; not to separate the bran and dross, but to destroy the flour.
3. That the intercession of Christ gives security, satisfaction, and encouragement to all believers, that though their faith may, by temptations, be shaken and assaulted, yet, that it shall never be finally vanquished and overcome: I have prayed that thy faith fail not.
4. That lapsed Christians, when recovered and restored, ought to endeavor to restore and to recover, to strengthen and establish others: When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
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Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
William Burkitt (1650 - 1703) was a Church of England clergyman, bible expositor, and devotional writer.
Volume 1: Matthew - John, was published in 1700.
Volume 2: Acts - Revelation was published 1703.