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  • Writer's pictureKerry Sue Teravskis

AT A DISTANCE

Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire. Mark 14:54 (NIV)


Peter had just cut off a guard’s ear. Just before this, he swore he would not deny Jesus, his Friend. We are told in Mark 14:50, Jesus’s followers deserted Him, but yet, here we have Peter. He’s back.



Yes, he’s back, but at a distance. Was it because of shame? Because of the circumstances of the guards, the Jewish elders, the chaotic scene that he was at a distance? Did he choose to watch from afar? Could he have gotten close if he wanted to?


He was not an elder, nor a scribe, a Pharisee, nor a teacher of the law. He was not, nor could be, part of the Jewish high council – the Sanhedrin. He was a fisherman from the north. A country boy now in the city. He was not in his element even in the best of circumstances, and these were probably the worst circumstances in his entire life.


Peter had spent the last three and a half years with the Messiah – he even called Jesus the Christ (Mark 8:29). He properly identified Jesus. He saw miracles, heard teachings, witnessed the Son of God in daily living, being transformed at the Transfiguration, feeding the multitudes and hanging out with the boys. Peter lived out life with the Saviour of the world.


Ponder this.


Did he fully realize this when he made his way into the courtyard in the early dawn hours? He was curious. He wanted to know what was going on with his Friend. He wanted to be near, but at a safe distance – maybe so no one would know he was there, or maybe because shame kept him at bay.


However, it is still true – he followed Jesus. He came back. Where are the others? The gospel of John tells us that John came back too because he was the ticket to get them into the courtyard of the high priest. The two were part of Jesus’s inner circle. The only one missing was James.


Do I follow Jesus at a distance? Am I keeping myself back from embracing all that He has for me? Why? Am I afraid to be too committed and therefore would end up in Africa in some remote village? I am a former missionary, so this does not scare me. Am I afraid to say yes to one thing because it would lead to being uncomfortable or my time not being my own?


And what about this suffering thing? Do I really want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering, becoming like Him (Philippians 3:10)? Do I really?

Part of me says, “YES!” while the other part of me is running and running as far away as possible because suffering is not what I signed up for. I am not that crazy!


Do I not want to identify with others who call themselves followers of Christ, but are vastly different than me? Am I willing to cross the aisle, serve in that place, clean up a mess I did not create to identify myself with Christ?


Or am I sitting in a courtyard afraid to go any farther? If we remember right, Peter was in the Garden of Gethsemane and was at a distance there too. Yes, Jesus told them to stay a little behind while He went a little further – but at what point did he not get curious when he heard the gut-wrenching cries of the Saviour? Would I be any different?


Would you be any different? Is God calling you to come closer, but you are hesitant and feeling comfortable by the fire with the soldiers? Are we relieved to be near Jesus indicating we are at least followers, but not too fully committed? Where is the breakdown?


Self.


Yup, plain and simple. Self. Pride. My stuff. Your stuff. My issues. Your issues. Me, myself and I.


Enough already. If Christ was willing to endure shame, the cross and death for me, then I need to be willing to die to self and live for Him.


What’s holding me back? Are you willing to come with me and follow closely, not at a distance?


PRAYER


Father God, let me start by saying You are so good and You alone are worthy. I am nothing. However, I am, in You, a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Please help me to choose to follow closely and not at a distance. I want to identify with You in all things, in all areas of my life because You are my everything. I choose the way of the cross, I choose the Way, the Truth and the Life – You. In Your Name, Jesus. AMEN



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