Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Following At a Distance


In Matthew 26:33-35, we see Peter and the other disciples earnestly declaring that they will never desert their Lord. A short time later, Matthew says that "A large mob, with swords and clubs" descended upon the small group and arrested Jesus. This frightening scene would scare anyone, and the disciples were no exception. We read in verse 56 that they "deserted Him and ran away," despite their passionate "loyalty." What a turn-around!

In the very next verses, we watch Peter "following at a distance right to the high priest's courtyard." Peter, the first one to state his loyalty, followed Jesus at a distance.

As I read this passage, I started to wonder, "How do I 'follow at a distance'?" Well, I "follow at a distance" when I fail to seek after and follow Christ, either because I don't want to "get my hands dirty," or because I don't want to be known as "old-fashioned." This includes the times when I join my friends in watching a not-so-great movie, simply to avoid being labeled as "that conservative, sheltered kid." I also "follow at a distance" when I greet the unpopular girl at my church just enough to seem polite...and yet avoid showing a real interest in her life because I don't want to "put myself out." It includes the times when I grow lazy in Bible study and prayer because I don't "feel like it" (just like the disciples in verse 40). Wow...I really do "follow at a distance" sometimes! Yes, I'm guilty of all the aforementioned sins. And those sins make me guilty of denying Christ, just like Peter did.

Yet...

Christ forgives! Several months ago, our pastor preached from Mark 16 about Christ's resurrection. He pointed out, with tears in his eyes, that when the angels talked to the women at the tomb, they said, "...go, tell His disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there just as He told you.'" And Peter. Why did Jesus include those words in His message to the disciples? Peter was one of "the disciples." Jesus didn't need to name him specifically! He included those words, Pr. Gerry said, to express his forgiveness to Peter. Peter was intensely ashamed of his denial of Christ. Mark 14:72 says, "When he thought about it, he began to weep." Perhaps Peter was so ashamed that he felt as though he had lost his Lord's favor. Yet Christ specifically says, "tell [my] disciples and Peter." He wanted to reassure Peter of His love and forgiveness...Peter was still Christ's disciple and friend!

Isn't that so encouraging? Even when we are guilty of following Christ at a distance, He still loves us. He has payed our price, and He forgives and cleanses! We are permanent members of His family, no matter what we've done! Thank you Lord!

One more thought...despite Peter's denial, Judas' betrayal, and his disciples' disloyalty, Christ still died for them...and us! He didn't throw up His hands and say, "Father, why should I die for these losers?!?!?! They just betrayed me!" Instead, He loved...unconditionally. Wow. How amazing!!

4 comments:

Ashley said...

Hi, I found your blog through the modest teen website and I really enjoyed this post as it reminded me that I have been somewhat following at a distance when there is no reason for me to.

Becoming Me said...

Hard to believe you are only 18. Beautiful post. I enjoyed visiting your blog and know that your writing will touch the lives of many, just like your mom's does.

lori said...

Brianna....
Girlfriend..that was AWESOME!! I hope that Maddie and Delaney read this!! You know I too find myself acting like a "distance" follower, if I'm honest...Why? It's easier...I've been a Peter many times over...YOUR Pastor's wisdom was wonderful...Peter was named for a reason...to ensure that he knew that he was forgiven by HIM....what a gift to Peter and what a gift to us!!

You are amazing girl! I pray that my girls grow in grace and wisdom like you....WHO is your mom anyway??? :)

I LOVE the G.K. Chesterton quote on the side...I read one myself today.."It's not that we don't have enough scoundrels to curse, it's that we don't have enough good men to curse them."
hmmmmm.........
Perhaps we all need to move in a bit closer and stop standing at a distance...
Brianna, I LOVED it...you really moved me!

PEACE and hugs!!
ms. lori

Carla said...

Well written! You seem so wise about these biblical things.

You reminded me to try and start doing more biblical posts on my blog again! I used to do more because I was probably much more spiritually excited when I first started my blog. I only became a dedicated Christian last year! So my world has turned around allot. And I have tried to now make more godly decisions in my everyday life...