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Friday, November 8, 2013

Discipleship at a Distance

Ran across something this morning that has had me thinking all day.  I took prof’s advice and did not write on this immediately rather I let it simmer on the back burner for most of the day.  What has emerged from that time and reflection is a new interested in doing a thorough study of Peter and his spiritual formation.  That is going to take some time but in the meantime here is a first tentative lesson.
Do you ever wonder if following Christ is safe?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Look at Matthew 26:58.  You are aware of the context of course.  This is at the tail end of the last night the Lord spent with the 12.  He washed their feet, led the first Lord’s supper, told them about the coming of the Holy Spirit, exhorted them to abide in Him, explained the ministry of the Holy Spirit, told them that they would all flee Him before the night was done – at which point Peter, vociferously denied that he would ever deny Christ – led them to the garden to pray – where He prayed and they slept off the meal – Judas betrays them and Peter draws his sword and cuts off the servants ear – which Christ immediately heals…  So that is what immediately precedes this verse – note I combined some gospel accounts and may have left out some detail but I wanted to paint a bird’s eye view of the scene.

So consider the I ain’t going to deny you ever Peter.  Think about his relationship with Christ.  He has seen it all.  The transfiguration, the raising of Jairus’ daughter, the raising of Lazarus, he was the one who made the critical declaration at Caesarea Philippi – he is the one who not knowing what to say, speaks.  It has been a great, exhilarating three year ride, he thinks this is going to be really great.  Then Christ is betrayed and arrested.

When things are going really well Peter is in the midst, the inner circle of three, the first to speak up in support…  Christ is arrested and Peter is following “at a distance.”  He enters the court and hangs back to see what is going to happen.  You know the rest of the story – three denials, then the chicken clucks.

While I do not want to make too much of this, there seems to be a pattern here that I have seen repeated in men’s lives more times than not.  An initial, even somewhat lengthy pursuit of Christ, then when things get “interesting” following Christ at a distance, hanging back to see how all of this is going to work out…  It is kind of like we poke at Christianity with a stick to see what will happen.  We follow Christ at a distance so that we can control our safety… so we won’t get hurt or caught in any fall out.

I have a lot of thoughts on this – probably will expand it tomorrow…  In the meantime how do you respond to this?

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