‘And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire. ‘ Mark 14:53-54
The call to follow Jesus is one of closeness. In this text we see Peter, one of Jesus’ “inner circle” disciples following Jesus from a distance. This distance that Peter created between Jesus and himself caused Peter a lot of trouble. This distance between Jesus and Peter caused Peter to deny Christ. If you were to read the narrative you could see how Peter eventually cursed while denying Jesus the third time. The Peter that walked on the water, the Peter that was on the Mount of Transfiguration and heard the voice of God, and the Peter that Jesus place the key to the Church around his neck was the one who denied Jesus. All of these supernatural experiences Peter experienced were while he was following Jesus closely. All of the sinful experiences occurred when Peter was following Jesus from a distance. What caused this distance between Peter and Jesus to become so dangerous?
- Distance Distorts Sight. It is hard to measure size from a distance. While flying in an airplane the most massive of buildings can seem very small because we are looking at each of them from a very long way away. What does this mean? The bigger we see God the more confidence we will have during the moments when our faith is put the test. This means the closer we get to God the bigger he will become.
- Distance Drowns Sound. The further away we get from something the harder it is to hear them. We can get so far away from God that we cannot hear from God. It is a dangerous thing to get so far away from God that we can no longer hear his voice calling us.
- Distance Delivers Sadness. Peter’s denial cause him much weeping. The distance created coldness, therefore causing him the need to warm himself by the world’s fire. The coldness created a denying spirit which in turn produced sadness.
Over the past few months our church has been studying the Book of Hosea verse by verse. It is an eye opening experience to see what God feels when his children live their lives at a distance from God. I challenge you to read the Book of Hosea and listen to the harsh words God uses against those that rebel, disobey, and ignore the Word of God. Distance is what creates an attitude of disobedience and rebellion. Distance is dangerous. I would urge the believer that may be drifting away and can still hear the voice of God to run quickly back into his presence. I am afraid there are many followers weeping bitter tears because of the distance they have created between them and the Lord.
I would challenge you to go read the Book of Acts. Especially the first three or four chapters. Peter teaches us a valuable lesson. Mistakes do not have to define us. Distance does not have to be permanent. God can bring us back into a close relationship with him. James 4:8 “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you…”