31“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
There is also a footnote for verse 31, that indicates that the first “you” is plural, in the Greek. There is no plural word for “you” in English—unless you count “y’all”—so that’s why the verse reads “you” in English. (I do actually use the word “y’all,” sometimes, even though it’s not a term that we tend to use here in Ontario.)
It reads like this in the ESV:
31“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 31but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
For the most part, the wording for both of these is similar. However, there is a footnote in the ESV version for verse 31 that I found more clear than the NIV’s footnote:
The Greek word for you (twice in this verse) is plural; in verse 32, all four instances are singular
(This is why I included the verse numbers in the quotes, above, which I don’t normally bother to do.)
In other words, if I were to paraphrase, Jesus is saying this:
Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you, as wheat, but I’ve prayed for you, Simon, that your [Simon’s] faith may not fail. And when you, Simon, have turned again, strengthen your brothers.
I never picked up on this before, even with the NIV footnote that indicates the first “you” is singular. I had always read this as completely singular, that Satan had asked to sift Simon, but what Jesus is actually saying is that Satan had asked to sift all of the disciples.
For me, this gives a whole new understanding to this verse. When Jesus was crucified, he knew that the disciples were going to be struck a heavy blow, but he was specifically commissioning Simon (who we usually call Peter) to strengthen them. He knew that Peter was going to deny him, but still, he was the one tasked with strengthening the other apostles.