When Jesus was arrested
it was the disciples’ turn
to keep their distance.

The Taking of Jesus (Caravaggio)

They were understandably afraid of the Jews,
so just as Jesus had predicted,
they all immediately scampered away
into hiding.

All of them, that is–
except for one:
Simon Peter.

We know the story:
Peter couldn’t bear to leave his Master
just like that,
so he followed him–even if, we’re told,
only at a distance.

Could he have forgotten
what Jesus had predicted
at the Last Supper?

As predicted, three times
he was accused of being one of Jesus’ disciples,
and three times he denied knowing him–
each time more vehemently than the one before.

Before that evening was done,
Peter had managed to create more distance
between him and the Lord
than all the disciples

who had deserted their Master.

And he knew it.

According to Luke’s heartbreaking account,
just as he was denying Jesus
that third and final time,
the Lord turned and looked upon Peter,
causing him to weep bitterly.

Whether we like it or not,
whether we know it or not,
what we say or what we do
have a way of defining the distance
between us and the Lord:
They can either increase
or close this distance.