“Peter followed at a distance”….(Luke 22:54)
As Jesus was being taken away before the Jewish ruling council, Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples made a choice to now, “follow at a distance.” I can’t help but think this fuels the fire for the unthinkable choices Peter makes shortly after.
Jesus tells Peter a shortly before this that he will deny him three times. Peter says, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and even death.” (Luke 22:34) Yet, when push comes to shove and Peter is faced with that present reality, he punks out and denies even knowing Jesus in order to try and save himself.
I wonder how many times I’ve thrown Jesus under the bus in order to try and save face? I remember a time in my life a few years ago when I didn’t want to post too much on Facebook about Jesus, because ashamedly, I was afraid that a certain group of people wouldn’t want to be friends with me anymore, so I avoided posting too much about Jesus. I tried to post more about things I thought were funny or not overly “religious,” hoping this group of people (I had wrongly placed up as an idol in my life) would still want to be my friend and not block my posts from their news feed or unfriend me.
You could say I was, “following at a distance.” I can look back on my life during that time and say with full assurance that I was not following Jesus nearly as close as I should have been. Quite frankly, the proof was in the pudding of my life, because the fruit of my life was lacking. As pride puffed up in my heart, the approval of others became more important than to worship an audience of one- Jesus Christ.
We’re foolish if we think that we’re not capable of doing the very same thing as Peter. I think Peter had an certain arrogance about himself, thinking that he would never deny the Lord Jesus. This pride was his ultimate downfall as he tried to protect himself from the very thing he said he would die for.
Are you following at a distance? If Jesus leads you into places of discomfort where you may face persecution or hardship will you abide with him there trusting him in the storm or will you close yourself off, hide in protective corners and “follow at a distance?”
Oh Lord, we are in desperate need of your grace. We are just like Peter. As much as we love to point the finger at him and talk about is failures, if we look deep enough, we’re the exact same person. Lord, forgive us. We long for a closer walk with you, but we’re afraid of the crowd. We say that we would never deny you, but truth be told, we are very much capable of it when we-“follow at a distance.” Lord, I submit myself to you in humility. Jesus Christ, I crucify the sinful woman in me, because I want a new and different life in you shining for the world to see. Be the joy and delight of my heart, in Jesus name, amen.