I have read this passage of scripture many times and only this morning did something come to light that creates a different angle for me. This year I have chosen to read through the bible using the NASB (New American Standard Bible). Reading this morning, I came across this passage and with the change of one (or two) word(s) this passage suddenly became more powerful to our purpose in this life; this is especially significant for the power of our witness to others of THE WAY.
Let\’s look at the verses…
\”Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of 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.\”
Did you catch it? After further study, I found that the first instance of the word \”you\” in both the KJV and the NIV is plural in its number. In other words, while Jesus was speaking to Simon on this occasion, his first reference wasn\’t just to Simon, but to the whole group of disciples (the 12). The second instance of \”you\” is singular and made more specific when again, Jesus directly speaks to Simon.
This is a powerful truth, because in this passage, Satan had desired to sift all the disciples as wheat. He was going to, in his mind, scatter the believers to the four winds. He had desired to shake up their lives and faith with the intention of bringing them down. Jesus however had a different plan…
He prayed for Simon that his faith wouldn\’t fail. Not that he wouldn\’t have to go through the trial, but that in the trial, no matter how ridiculous it got, Simon would stand strong and lead the other disciples through their paths on to Victory.
As leaders this is part of our calling. As we have seen in the past decade, when leadership falls people lose hope and some fall away under the pressure. But I believe that if we will heed the instruction and encouragement here that we will find a new energy surging through us to minister in an even more effective way to those we touch on a daily basis. Real quick here is the encouragement:
- Everyone will be sifted, who is a believer. The sifting is to destroy faith.
- JESUS PRAYED FOR SIMON AND PRAYS FOR US!
- Jesus knew Simon would come back, and he knows that as he prays for us, that we can come back too. Jesus prayerfully sees beyond the immediate trial to what can be!
- Your victorious comeback is not something you put on the mantle and let it rest there, but something you turn into a light to lead others.
All it takes is one person to get victory in the sifting to lead the others to the same victory….will you be the Simon restored for others to follow?