But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard. – Matthew 26:58
Most serious-minded Christians desire a closer walk and relationship with Jesus, as against mere playing church and having occasional affair with Him in time of need. However, a relationship with Jesus is as demanding as – if not more demanding than – a relationship with a lover. This is so because if put at the centre of your dealings, a relationship with Christ will not only influence for the better all other relationships you may have, it will also affect your general comportment.
Meanwhile, this relationship can only do this much if it becomes intimate and is accorded a priority. If it is approached and handled in an offhanded manner, you may not be able to realise its full potential. Worse, you may lose it altogether.
Peter realised this bitter truth some hours after making emphatic confessions to stick by Jesus come what may (Matthew 26:31-35). But, when the critical moment came and Jesus was seized by the adversaries, he could not live up to his profession, but instead fled for dear life. After regaining his composure, however, he could only follow Jesus at a distance to see what would become of Him.
And because he now followed from distance, it was easy not to be identified with Christ anymore. Therefore, when confronted about his relationship with Jesus, he vehemently denied Him. ‘And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!” And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” (Matthew 26:69-74).
That is what maintaining a distant or occasional relationship with Jesus does to you; it makes it easy for you deny Him during trying times or moments of critical decisions that test your faith and standing with Him. If you must be counted for Jesus, you cannot afford to follow Him from a distance.
You will succeed in Jesus Name!