From a distance
Mark 14: 53-54, 66-72
They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. 54 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… 66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said. 68 But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway. 69 When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” 70 Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” 71 He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.” 72 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.”
How did Peter move from “even if all fall away, I will not” (v29) to breaking down and weeping?
It was in the positioning of his life.
- Peter followed at a distance
After deserting Jesus with the rest of the team, Peter stops in his tracks and turns around and follows again. But the man who was one of the 3, who witnessed the transfiguration, who was called to watch and pray in the garden, is at a distance.
How big is the gap? How far is the distance between the Church and Jesus?
When the Church are not praying then there is distance.
When attendances to Church services are alternated with trips to Ikea then there is a distance.
When disciples are not making disciples then there is a distance.
- While Jesus is upstairs being interrogated, Peter is downstairs in the courtyard.
Being in the gallery is not the same as being in the dock. One watches and waits the other receives the interrogation. Being a spectator is not the same as taking part. Cheerleading is done for the crowd not for those in the game. If Jesus is upstairs then don’t stand in the downstairs courtyard. Church is not a place for you to ask ‘what am I getting out of it?’ you are the Church.
- He sat with the guards
Peter wasn’t standing he chose to sit. And he sat next to the ones who had arrested Jesus in the first place. We are called to the world not to sit in the seat with the mockers but to make a stand, a difference. We are not to blend in but to stand out.
- Warmed himself by the fire
Peter would soon experience tongues of fire but this night he was warming himself at the enemy’s fire. There is a fire for Jesus and it is standing outside the door of the High Priests court trying to get as near to Jesus as possible, being counted in his sufferings. Then there is a fire to keep you from being cold. How many have played with this fire and got burnt. Rather be cold than be singed. Rather not have love than the wrong love. Rather not have material things than be tempted to have it all but lose everything.
- He went out into the entryway.
When the Church is not white-hot, passionately following Jesus, laying their lives at stake and being ready to die then they will drift further away even though they still say they are following. Being in the entryway is one perspective away from being at the exit door. Churches in my nation are only a few years, months and even weeks away from closing down because the entryway became the exit door in their thinking. Christians on the fringe will drop off if they stay there long enough.
The cock still crows today.
Today we need a move of every Christian to be up, close and personal followers of Jesus. We need die-hards. We need those who are not afraid of pain; who are sojourners in this world; who do not love their life so much as to shrink from death; who carry the word of their testimony in their hearts and mouths; who trust Jesus even if he is not doing what they really want him to do; who chase after Jesus and want to be known as belonging to him.
Christ is moving on this earth today by His Spirit. There is no doubt. It is a pre-cursor to His next big move in coming to the earth physically again.
And His Church is moving. There is no doubt. But how it moves and where it moves is varied.
Where is your Church today?
More importantly, where are we? Are we following from a distance?
The cock will crow one more time very soon and the new day will dawn ……