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Peter is sifted like wheat

Peter denies Jesus but is later restored.
Contributed by Richard Gunther
Story also available on our translated websites: Spanish, Portuguese
At His last meal with His disciples Jesus had a warning for Simon who He had renamed Peter – ‘the rock’. ‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you like wheat, but I have pleaded in prayer for you that your faith should not completely fail. When you have repented and turned to me again, your job is to strengthen and build up the faith of your brothers.’ <br/>Peter protested, ‘Lord, I am ready to go to jail with you, and even to die with you.’ <br/>But Jesus said, ‘Peter, between now and tomorrow morning when the rooster crows, you will deny me three times, declaring that you don’t even know me.’ – Slide 1
What did Jesus mean when He said Peter would be sifted like wheat? Wheat is cut at harvest time. – Slide 2
The long stalks have ears of grain. Farmers at that time put the wheat on the ground and used long sticks to thresh the wheat. Threshing involved a lot of trampling, hitting and bashing to remove the grain from the husks and straw. – Slide 3
Sometimes farmers used cattle to stomp and crush the wheat to remove the grain from the stalk. – Slide 4
After that the wheat was thrown up into the wind to winnow it. As the grain is heavier than the chaff in a strong wind the seed falls to the ground but the lighter chaff blows away. – Slide 5
Now Peter thought his faith in Jesus was strong. He would never let Jesus down. Later that night Jesus was arrested and Peter followed to see what would happen. A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she spoke: ‘This man was with Jesus!’ <br/>Peter denied it. ‘Woman,’ he said, ‘I don’t even know Jesus!’ – Slide 6
After a while someone else looked at Peter and said, ‘You must be a follower of Jesus!’ <br/>‘No I am not!’ Peter replied. – Slide 7
About an hour later someone else pointed Peter out and said, ‘I know this man is one of Jesus’ disciples, for both are from Galilee.’ <br/>Peter lied, ‘I don’t know what you are talking about.’ – Slide 8
As Peter said the words, a rooster crowed. Peter remembered what Jesus had said. Peter walked out of the courtyard, crying bitterly. His faith was weak. Instead of having pure seeds of faith he was full of chaff and straw. – Slide 9
After Jesus rose from the dead He spoke to Peter and three times asked him if he really loved Him. Three times Peter said he did and Jesus told him to go and teach both young and old people to put their faith in God. <br/>Peter felt a bit like wheat that had been threshed and winnowed. It was a painful experience and he had let Jesus down. But Jesus has prayed for him and he has repented and turned back to Jesus. Now he had to help others strengthen their faith. – Slide 10
From that point on Peter allowed the seeds of faith to grow in his life. He had said he would even go to prison for Jesus and later he was put in jail for saying that Jesus was the Son of God. He was no longer someone who disowned Jesus but openly told other about Him. – Slide 11
But by now his faith was stronger. The chaff and straw of fear and disobedience in his life was being removed. And God rescued him from prison and led him to safety. – Slide 12
Our faith is like the seeds in the wheat. The straw and chaff are like the things that stop us fully trusting in God. Sometimes we are disobedient and let Jesus down. Sometimes we go through all kinds of painful trials. If we turn back to Jesus, the chaff and straw in our lives is removed and our faith grows stronger. – Slide 13
Slide 14