Reflection Questions – The Satan File 4: “How You are Fallen from Heaven!” (Isaiah 12.14)

Reflection Questions - The Satan File 4: “How You are Fallen from Heaven!” (Isaiah 12.14)

Luke 22:31-34: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”

  1. Read Luke 22:31–34 carefully and discuss it. Why does the devil ask for certain believers to sift? Why would God allow him to do so? What is the significance of Jesus telling Peter what he does in Luke 22:32? How did this episode play out in Peter’s life? How was he sifted? When was he sifted (read the context of the story)? Ultimately, did his faith fail? How did he eventually strengthen his brothers?
  2. In this Passage, Peter wasn’t the only one in danger – all of Jesus’ followers were! Many of our English translations hide the fact that the word “you” in Luke 22:31 is not singular, but plural! The Berean Literal Bible translates it thus: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have all of you to sift like wheat.” To “sift” means to shake violently, just as a farmer violently shakes the grain he’s harvested to separate the genuine wheat from the husks or chaff. What is God’s purpose in allowing believers to be sifted? Have you ever experienced a “violent shaking” in your life? What was God trying to separate in you through that trial? How does God insure a good outcome in our sifting? (HINT: reread Luke 22:31–34! What did Jesus say he did for Peter? Now read Hebrews 7:25: what does He do for us?)
  3. The Christian life is about serving the Lord and serving others. Jesus told Peter, “When you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (22:32b). This tells us something difficult to accept: sometimes it pleases the Lord that we might suffer for the sake of others. How does this idea fly against the way the world thinks about God and suffering? “If we are afflicted,” Paul wrote, “it is for your comfort …” (2 Corinthians 1:6). Discuss this.
  4. Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Notice: (1) Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was “a messenger of Satan,” (2) God’s purpose in this ordeal was to keep Paul humble, (3) God did not answer Paul’s repeated request to remove it, (4) God replied: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul received a major life-changing epiphany through this ordeal; read it in 12:9b-10! What is Paul saying here? What did he learn? How does this passage speak to the idea of sifting? How does it speak to God’s fairness: is it unfair of God to allow Christians to suffer? Why or why not? Discuss how ‘kingdom values’ differ from worldly values. Paul came to see that “the power of Christ” rests on our “weaknesses,” not our strengths! Furthermore, he came to see that we can only ever be content in suffering (“weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities”) when we endure it “for the sake of Christ” (12:10). Discuss each of these points and consider their revolutionary, counter-cultural character. What did Jesus promise to those who “seek FIRST the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33)?
  5. When Jesus warned Peter of his imminent sifting, he was dismissive. He didn’t see the danger. He was trusting in his own strength: “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death” (22:33). He was drunk with self-confidence, but Jesus sobered him up quickly! “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me” (22:34). How about you and I? Do we take this as an urgent warning, or are we also dismissive? Do we acknowledge the supernatural in our ‘natural’ lives? How might we better embrace this message of God’s Word? What are the dangers of living only in the ‘natural’ as Jesus-followers?
  6. Why is it significant that PETER wrote 1 Peter 5:8? If we fail to embrace his warning as an urgent danger, are we being faithless? Can we diminish the danger here without denying God’s Word? (The very next verse [5:9] says “resist him, firm in your faith.”)
  7. Peter did not lack confidence when he wrote this, but his confidence was no longer in himself! Jesus’ warning to Peter was a warning to all believers: we are always in danger! So, ponder this as a group: Has Satan whispered your name to Jesus recently and asked to sift you? If he has, are you ready? Are you aware of your enemy’s presence in your life? Are you aware of his strategies? Are you overconfident or even dismissive of the danger? Will you fare better in your sifting than Peter did? How?
  8. When we are sifted, we must keep Philippians 4:13 in mind! We are NEVER NEVER alone or abandoned by God in our trials! (Take a moment to thank the Lord for His goodness as a group!)