How Close Would You Have Been?
And Peter followed Him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire. Mark 14:50
I think Peter takes a lot of flak for this moment in his life. True, he did follow Yeshua afar off but how close should he have been? Should he have done better? Do you ever wonder where you would have been? I do.
It’s very easy to imagine what we would have done if we had been in the same situation. After every soccer game I watch, I can express with great astuteness what should have been done or not done. And I’ve never played soccer!
Well … we’ve never played on the same playing field that Peter found himself on either.
Have you ever noticed that, in life, the way things start out at the beginning don’t always end up looking the same at the end? How many times have we entered into something with great enthusiasm only to “peter out” along the way and give up? Diets. Bible reading. New hobby. (Interestingly, one of the speculations concerning the etymology of “peter out” might actually be connected to Peter.)
We only need to go back to chapter one in the Gospel of Mark to find the same word, “follow,” used in reference to Peter. “And straightway they (Peter and Andrew) forsook their nets and followed Him.” (v. 18). It took an immense amount of courage to walk away from the stability of what they knew and head out into the unknown.
I’m sure as Peter and Andrew started out on this journey they were filled with excitement, anticipation and wonder. Imagine what that moment must have felt like. There’s a certain amount of childlike naivety that permeates this moment in their lives. What would they have been envisioning lay before them? What hopes did the have?
I have a feeling that when they eventually looked back over the road they had travelled with Yeshua they probably shook their heads in amazement. So many twists and turns, ups and downs. Talk about a roller coaster ride.
What about you? Look back over your walk with Yeshua. Is your arrival point now where you envisioned it at the beginning? Is it better, worse? Not sure? Anything you wish you had done differently?
Let me pose some questions to ponder.
Do you, in all situations, make it crystal clear that you are a follower of Yeshua? What about, for example, the last opportunity that presented itself as an opportunity for YOU to speak on behalf of your faith? Did you boldly proclaim your faith as you know you should have?
May I suggest that we too have been just as “bad” as Peter.
We might want to think we wouldn’t have been like Peter, openly denying his connection to Yeshua. But doesn’t our closed mouth amount to the same thing? He opened his mouth in denial. We keep ours closed in denial. Is there really a difference? The thing is, we know we don’t look as bad as Peter did because we never tipped our hand. Nobody knows we just wimped out — except you and God.
I take great comfort from the revealing moments of Peter’s life. He took up the challenge of following Yeshua right from the start. He walked on water. He remained faithful even when others were walking away from Yeshua. He had the courage to take out his sword and cut off some poor guy’s ear. He was always at the forefront of things. In addition to that, all along the way he was branded as a heretic by the religious establishment.
Perhaps, in that moment by the fire warming himself, Peter took assessment of how things were turning out and had a brief lapse of uncertainty. His Teacher is under arrest. Things are starting to unravel at breakneck speed right before his very eyes. He’s physically exhausted; emotionally tapped out; and, stunned to the point of unraveling as he confronts his own demons. He’s drained and has nothing left.
And so, in that brief span of time he fails to keep his promise of never forsaking Yeshua even if everyone else does. Is he a failure? No. Yeshua proves that to us later on, doesn’t He?
When Peter and Yeshua meet again, we are brought to the comforting awareness that this moment in his life (and equally so in ours) doesn’t have to be that which defines him for the rest of his life. He still loves his Lord and has a lot left within him to give. He just wasn’t aware of it right then. Thankfully, Yeshua was.
Perhaps it takes years and a lot of personal ups-and-downs in one’s life to be able to step back with a certain amount of personal humility and awareness that we didn’t have earlier. In my younger days, I was harder on Peter then I am now. In truth, we’re no different than Peter. In all actual truth, we’re probably a lot worse. — How close would you have been?
I’m sure Peter, if given another chance, would do it differently. The next opportunity you have to be a light for Yeshua, take it. It will be a new beginning in your continuing journey with your Savior.
Let’s all purpose to get closer to Yeshua and go forward with a renewed sense of boldness.