by Paula Harrington
I read through the last few pages of the Gospels during the Lord’s Supper every Sunday and every time I get to the part where Jesus was arrested, I pause at the words, “at a distance” (Matthew 26:58, Luke 22:54).
Peter didn’t want to be called out so he stayed at a distance.
Christianity from a distance is easy. It keeps us from getting too close to the broken and needy. It saves us the problem of having to love someone so much that we’d risk our hearts or worse, our pocketbooks.
It keeps us out of harm’s way and in the safe, comfortable place that we’re so familiar with. Rarely is it awkward to follow from a few steps away. In fact, there’s no safer way to follow!
I lived in that comfort zone for too many years. Watching others walk away knowing that I should stop them and tell them what Christ did for all of us, but refusing to. I remember hearing my inner voice screaming at me to just say his name. But I was fearful. I didn’t want to risk being thought a religious nut.
I was too afraid that they might remind me of my dark times. I wasn’t qualified to be a proclaimer of the Christ. My life was messy and hectic. I had too much at stake and who wants to risk their well-being?
Peter didn’t, and he was one of Jesus’ best friends. Following too close might have drawn too much attention to him. It might have resulted in his own skewed trial. It might have taken him to a cross. And let that sink in for awhile because history tells us that it eventually did.
What’s the point of following Jesus if no one notices? Why bother committing your life to someone you’re too afraid to mention?
Christianity is best lived publicly. In fact, it’s only lived publicly.
Jesus isn’t looking for weekend warriors. He wants you for the long haul.
Remember, following him isn’t about finding a group of people who will agree with you on every, single issue. It’s not about a preacher you like the most or programs and ministries that look good on paper.
It’s about something bigger, better, & eternal. It’s about a Father who loves you and a family who needs you.
Stop following at a distance and go all in. It’s the only way.