TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance. (Luke 22:54 NKJV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Have you ever followed someone? Sometimes, you follow too closely and accidentally step on the heels of the person in front of you. That hurts (as you know if you’ve ever had it done to you). And then, other times, we follow from a distance. If you have ever followed someone in a car and they know where they are going, and you don’t — following at a distance isn’t a comfortable feeling either!
Today, let’s go to Luke 22:54; it says, “Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance.”
If you’re familiar with the Gospels, you know the scene: Jesus is being questioned, and Peter will deny Jesus three times before the rooster crows. But that’s not specifically what we’re focused on today. When I read this passage a week ago, it was the last sentence that jumped out at me, “But Peter followed at a distance.” Peter wanted to disassociate himself from what Jesus was going through, but he wanted to stay close enough to see what was happening.
And it caused me to pause and ask the question… how many Christians follow Jesus at a distance? How many want to be a part of the church but far enough removed if they are questioned about being a Christian? Whatever the reasons, these Christians would have, as my friend Alice says… “One foot in the Word and one foot in the world.”
Talk about uncomfortable. That position is a miserable feeling. I’ve been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. When we belong to Christ, we will never be fully comfortable and content living by the world’s standards. His ways are higher, and when we have been redeemed, the shackles of sin are broken. Yet many Christians still live as if they are chained to the world. It’s totally the opposite of the promise Jesus made in John 8:36, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
Following from a distance is a really unsafe place to be… we don’t grow and learn from a distance. And while it’s not my place to judge another’s Christianity, these words of Jesus should strike fear in the hearts of all who meander behind Him from a distance, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23).
Because the truth is — Christians should crave the presence of Jesus. Just as Mary sat at the feet of Jesus to hear Him teach (Luke 10:38-42)… Just as the woman reached out to touch Jesus to be healed (Mark 5:21-34)… Just as the friends sought Jesus to lower the paralytic man through the roof (Luke 5:18-25)… Just as the woman at the well learned what living water is (John 4:7-14)… and the countless others who, through the years, have learned that the best position to be in is close to Jesus.
Not following Jesus at a distance.
Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). Peter learned this lesson the hard way. But he finally got it. And we see him share the wisdom learned from his mistakes when he would later write, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that YOU SHOULD FOLLOW HIS STEPS” (1 Peter 2:21, emphasis mine).
We have the choice: follow Him closely or from a distance. As for me, I want to walk so closely that I step on His heels with every step I take. Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t get annoyed when we follow “too” closely. And really — is there such a thing as following Jesus too closely? Since we’re supposed to become more like Him, I’m going to say that’s a no.
Today, as you pray, evaluate your walk with the Lord. There will be days when you walk closely and times when you fall behind. But ask the Holy Spirit to help you keep up and take every step in the footprints of Jesus. Ask Him to help you never lose sight of Jesus. Praise Jesus for being worthy of being followed and ask for the courage, strength, and endurance to keep up with Him no matter where He leads… even when the world tempts you and distracts you and tells you to follow at a distance.
SHARING ••• My Grace-Full Life is written by Denise Heidel. You are welcome to share anything I write, but please credit my writing and graphics accordingly. Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Subscribe through my website to have My Grace-Full Life delivered to your email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the NKJV translation.