“Over the years,” Stan began one morning, “I’ve heard a lot of comments about the apostle Peter and how he was prone to do and say things without really thinking them through.”
“It’s easy,” he continued, “to verbally beat him up with criticism over things he said, did, and did not do, but I wasn’t there, walking in his sandals, so who am I to judge?”
“What kind of things?” I asked.
“Well, for example,” Stan replied, “I was in Matthew’s gospel earlier this morning where Jesus had been seized in the Garden of Gethsemane and was being taken to appear before the high priest, the scribes, and elders. Matthew records that Peter followed at a distance as Jesus was being led away.”
“I have to admit,” Stan said, “that my first reaction was pretty negative about Peter. My thoughts ran along the line of why was Peter hanging back? That’s not what I would have done!”
“You think so?” I asked.
“”I said that was my first reaction,” Stan replied. “Then the Holy Spirit stepped in and pointed out just some of the times I have followed Jesus ‘at a distance’. As I was convicted by what the Holy Spirit pointed out, I realized I could write a very long book about not following at all, let alone at a distance!”
“But,” I asked, “wouldn’t you say that following at a distance is better than not following at all?”
“Without a doubt,” Stan replied, “but, of course, following closely is a whole lot better!”
“When Jesus said to follow Him in order to be a disciple,” I replied, “did He say that I am to follow Him closely or just follow Him?”
“He said to follow Him,” Stan replied, “but I think it’s a given that He meant ‘closely’. In addition, as I am open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, He makes it clear to me that I am to follow Jesus so closely that we are one.”
Concluding, he said, “I am to follow so closely that there is no room for anything to get in between us!”
But Peter was following Him at a distance. Matthew 26:58.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you make it clear the requirements for me to be a disciple of Jesus, that I am to deny self, take up cross, and follow. I confess that way too often I do not follow as closely as you want and intend. I confess that sometimes I do not follow at all. Please forgive me. And please open me to hear and to respond to the voice of the Holy Spirit asking me why I am not following, or why amI hanging back and following at a distance. And please, Father, help me in following as close as is humanly possible. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Are you following Jesus wherever He is leading? Holding back and following at a distance? Maybe not following at all?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.