Following At A Distance

Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,

In Matthew 26 we read the account of the arrest of Jesus.  A large crowd armed with swords and clubs came for Him.  The disciples, filled with fear for their own lives, fled and abandoned Jesus.  That included Peter, although it appears he was torn over what to do.  Should he remain with Jesus, the One he had followed for three years and who had filled him with hope and purpose, or should he flee for his life?

It turns out, Peter did a little of both.  Those who arrested Jesus took Him to Caiaphas, the High Priest.  Then it says in Mt. 26:58, “But Peter followed Him at a distance.”  Peter did not have the courage to remain by Jesus’ side, but he didn’t have the heart to completely abandon Him either, so he followed, but only at a distance.

Probably all of us have had to deal with that same challenge.  We want to follow Jesus, but for various reasons we may not want to follow Him too closely.  Maybe we go through a season of life in which we are just so busy we are not able to spend time nurturing our relationship with Jesus and doing those things He asks us to do.  Perhaps we have given in to peer pressure, and out of fear of being ridiculed or ostracized, we put distance between us and Jesus.  It could be a particular temptation had control over us and disrupted our walk with Jesus.

There could be any number of reasons why Jesus gets relegated to a secondary position in our life.  We don’t completely forsake Jesus, but we also keep some distance between us.  We don’t fully identify with Jesus; we don’t fully surrender to Jesus.

Ultimately, the result of following Jesus at a distance is that we miss out on so much.  We forfeit the joy that comes from walking closely with Jesus.  We miss out on opportunities to be His witness to others, and the satisfaction of seeing Him work through our lives.  We lose the growth in our spiritual walk that comes from staying near to Jesus.  The fullness of life that Jesus came to offer us is diminished.

So let’s not allow anything to steal from us the fullness of life that Jesus offers us.  Let us follow Jesus, not from a distance, but always near to His heart.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Bob

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