Simon, Simon 
Based on the Series of Sermons on the Repetition of Names and Titles
preached in PCC Worship Services, Apr 2013 to Feb 2014
Part 2 of 3 

We started looking at Luke 22:31-34 in our last article. We saw something about Satan and what he seeks to do to believers. In this article, we will learn something about Simon Peter and about ourselves.

Something about Simon 
and Ourselves 

Remember again the context of this passage. The Lord and His disciples had just celebrated the very first Lord’s Supper in the history of the church. You would have thought that the disciples would have been deeply grateful to Christ and greatly humbled after all that Christ had said to them and done for them.

And yet in verse 24 and onwards, we find them arguing among themselves about who should be the greatest among them. Most probably, Peter was the leading candidate for that position since he was the natural leader of the twelve from the beginning of the Lord’s ministry.

The Lord corrected their wrong attitude and approach to the question of who would be greatest in the kingdom. And then He addressed the leader of the group, Simon Peter, in the words of our text, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

We’ll look at these beautiful and precious words in the next article. But for now, notice how Peter responded to them. Instead of humbling himself and taking them to heart, he immediately said to the Lord in verse 33, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.” To which the Lord said, “I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.”

What do we learn about Peter? Well, the most obvious thing is that he was very impulsive and overconfident of himself. The Lord’s words to him in verse 32 implied that he would be tried and tempted, and that he would fall, but Peter thought nothing of them. He was very sure that that would not happen. In fact, he solemnly declared his absolute and unwavering commitment to the Lord. Before all the disciples, he promised Christ that he was ready to follow Him all the way to the end – to prison if need be and to death if that was what it took.

But besides overconfidence and impulsiveness, Peter was also ignorant of the real dangers that lay ahead of him. The mere mention of Satan desiring to have him ought to have made him sit up and become alert. But instead, he brushed it aside and gave it little thought. He took the Lord’s warning too lightly and did not give serious consideration to the grave threat that the devil posed to his soul.

Peter was in great danger for two reasons. First, because Satan wanted him, but second, and even more importantly, because Peter did not think or feel that he was in great danger. So ignorance, overconfidence and an impulsive spirit were some of the problems that Peter had and they eventually led to his downfall.

But what about us? Are we not plagued by these same problems as well? Are we truly aware that Satan is real and active, and that he desires to have us in his sieve to destroy us?

JC Ryle puts it graphically when he says, “The wolf does not crave the blood of the lamb more than the devil desires the destruction of souls.” Peter was like a sheep grazing in the field and totally oblivious to the wolf or lion lurking very nearby. Do we know that Satan is seeking out our souls as well? Are we conscious of it? Do we give serious thought and consideration to that truth?

If I were to tell you that a lion had escaped from the zoo yesterday and had not yet been found, and that it was last seen running towards your estate, what would you do if you wanted to leave your home? Would you not tread carefully and be on the lookout for it at every turn of the corner? I think if we value our lives, we would be very careful and take all the necessary precautions to prevent ourselves from being the lion’s next victim.

And yet, when it comes to our own souls and our spiritual lives, we can often be so careless and indifferent to the many spiritual dangers around. Dear brethren, let us neither be overconfident nor ignorant of Satan’s devices and schemes. Understand that all of us have our particular weaknesses and areas in life that we tend to fall easily; particular temptations that we are prone to give in to.

Are we aware of them? And do we keep a lookout and give special care and attention to them, lest we fall? Is it pride that we are particularly prone to? Or is it lust, or a lack of self-control, or impatience, or envy, or a critical and judgmental spirit, or discontentment, or selfishness, or unthankfulness, or worldliness and so on? Do we know ourselves well? If not, let us spend time to give serious thought to these things and to examine ourselves regularly.

It is interesting how Satan is often much more aware of our own weaknesses and our bosom or besetting sins, as the Puritans call it, than we ourselves are of them, and he has many devices and variations of those devices to get us to fall. Let us be on the lookout for them. Let us watch and pray lest we fall into temptation as Peter and David and Samson and many other believers did. Satan desires very much to have us.

But thank God that there is another who desires to have us even more than Satan …

…To be continued, next issue 

─Linus Chua