A NEW INTIMACY, A NEW INTERCESSOR
“’Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you (ὑμᾶς, you in the plural), that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you (περὶ σοῦ, you in the singular) that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.’ He said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you three times deny that you know me.’” (Lk 22: 31-34)
This passage is similar, yet different, from the mind-boggling instance in the Old Testament, when Satan came forth before God, along with “the sons of God” (Job 1: 6), and asked God “to put forth His hand” on the righteous Job “and touch all that he has.” After this, as Satan assured God, Job would supposedly “curse” God “to His face” (Job 1: 11). God does not agree to put His own hand on Job, but does allow Satan to use his satanic powers over “all that Job has,” except Job’s life (cf. Job 1: 12). What is similar about Satan’s demand here and in the Old Testament is that God’s Only-Begotten Son is privy to it in both cases.
But what is different about Satan’s demand in the New Testament, to “sift” the disciples (ὑμᾶς, you in the plural) “like wheat”? It is the fact that in the Old Testament, God’s Only-Begotten Son is not yet “one of us.” The disciples, along with Peter, while not being “stronger people” than Job (as far as I can see), have friendship and intimacy with God’s Only-Begotten Son. Job was not in the same situation in the Old Testament, along with the rest of humanity, which had certain righteous “sons of God” (righteous human beings, mentioned in the above-quoted passage in the Book of Job), – but not the One-and-Only Son of God. Jesus not only acts as Intercessor for Peter and the disciples, as one of them in His humanity (1 Tim 2: 5), but He knows that they, unlike Job, have come to know Him enough to “turn again” and come back to Him in repentance. – As Peter indeed does, when he dives into the water to greet the risen Christ, when the risen Lord appears on the shores of the Sea of Galilee after Peter’s denial of Him (Jn 21: 7).
Glory be to my One-and-Only Lord Jesus Christ, Who intercedes for me, as I know and trust He does, now and forever. Amen!