“Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. 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 v 57-58)
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?
Following Jesus can deceive you into thinking you are doing enough. You are doing more than the others, where are they? They didn’t turn back like you did. At least you are here. However, who are you sitting with and what are you waiting for?
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. Church is not a place for you to ask ‘what am I getting out of it?’ you are the Church. Narrow the distance.
The programme of the Church reveals the distance.
The lifestyle of the Christian reveals the distance.
Where there is distance it is quite extraordinary who we can align ourselves with. Peter sat down with the people who had captured Jesus.
Our following of Jesus must be far more passionate, fearless and radical. We need to be in hot pursuit not hiding in the shadows. Being on the same path is not the same as being alongside the person. We must narrow the distance. That is the call.