“But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.”
Matthew 26:58 NIV
When you are going through something it’s always good to know who’s with you. There’s nothing worse than to have people who say they are with you only to look back and see that they are following from a distance.
As Disciples of Christ we are called to follow Jesus closely. When things are going good it’s not hard to find a follower of Jesus but when there is intense scrutiny and persecution involved we tend to fall back and look from a distance.
Jesus had been arrested. Peter had made a bold statement where he over promised and under delivered. In Luke 22:33 Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you!” When Jesus gets arrested the Bible states that he follows Jesus from a distance to observe what would happen.
How do you avoid getting in a place where you fall back on Jesus and become an observer and not a follower?
- Check your motives. Ask yourself, “Why am I following Jesus?” Is it because I want a better life for myself? Now there’s nothing wrong with that but the second part of that question is, “Can I lay down my life if I had to? I’m following Jesus because he is the way the truth and the life. All meaning is found in him! Even if I die I will live again!
- Make up your mind that you are going to stay in it no matter how ugly it gets. Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to go on in the face of fear.
- Begin with the end in mind. If you already know how the story ends you can stay close knowing that we win in the end.
Peter denied that he knew Jesus three times then the rooster crowed. It happened just like Jesus predicted. Peter wept after he realized he let Jesus down. We are no different. We all fall back on Jesus at times when persecution picks up. We fall back when people attack and criticize the church or our leaders. But it is when we realize that we have fallen back that we make adjustments and we get back in there!
To his credit Peter not only got back in there but he helped to spread the Gospel, baptized 3,000 people in one day, and eventually was crucified upside down. He requested to be crucified upside down because he didn’t think he was worthy to die like Jesus right side up.
Whatever you do don’t become a distant disciple. Stand up for Jesus! Stand up for your pastor. Stand up for fellow disciples. Stand for justice. Do not remain silent in the time of testing. Don’t wait until you know what the outcome is before you act. You have to be in it to win it!
I am part of the “Fellowship of the Unashamed.” The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.
I am finished and done with low living, sight walking,
small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams,
chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position,
promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I now live by
presence, lean by faith, love by patience,
lift by prayer, and labor by power. My pace
is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my
road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few,
my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought,
compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back,
diluted, or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the
presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy,
ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander
in the maze of mediocrity.
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until
Heaven returns, give until I drop, preach until all know,
and work until He comes. And when He comes to get
His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.
My colors will be clear.
I am not ashamed of the gospel . . . Romans 1:16