A man who followed these incidents ‘at a distance’ also wanted to warm himself. A hot turmoil was going on inside him. But he couldn’t withstand the cold wind outside He joined the crowd enjoying the pleasure of that temporary ‘heat’.
“Oh, nothing will happen. Master is powerful. He has escaped so many times.” His selfish pride boasted itself, while his rusty hand touched his sword in the sheath. He remembered the words of his Master, “And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and by one (sword).” (Luke 22: 36) But he conveniently forgot his Master’s other words, “the cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times that you know me.” (Luke 22:34) and his warning, “Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26: 41) Now he was bothered only about the pleasure of keeping himself warm. Now he was bothered about the piercing chillness than his Master.
Peter sought the pleasure of heat to escape the cold weather on the night of the arrest of Our Lord. I need not explain the details of this incident described in all the four Gospels. But we can see the truth that those who warm themselves by the fire of earthly pleasures will certainly disown Jesus like Peter. What we need is to stay closer to Jesus.
Staying Closer to Jesus
“Peter was following at a distance.” (Luke 22:54) A Christian who wants to follow Christ is bound to follow him closely. But today most of us have failed to follow him closely. We attend so many services, retreats and conventions. But we are still bogged down habitual practices. Our spiritual life is cold and numb. We even see signs an miracles. But still we are unable to feel the warmth of our dear Lord.
The Causes of our ‘Coldness’
The reflections of the above incident of St. Peter lead me to these thoughts which I wish to share with others.
1) Pride and Selfishness
“Though all lose faith in you I will never lose faith.”(Matthew 26:33) Such was the attitude of the one to whom Jesus ‘gave the keys of heaven’. Many times we forget the warning of our Lord that the ‘flesh is weak’. We go after pleasures of the flesh.
2) Lack of Prayer
Jesus told his disciples, “Keep awake with me” (Matthew 36:38) Of course, we may pray a lot. Many of our prayer become just a routine of words. Most of them barely reach Jesus. What Jesus tells us not just praying but keeping awake and merge ourselves with His soul. Most of the time, we can find ourselves as ‘the sleeping disciples’. We should pray that we may not ‘come into the time of trial’.
3) Follow Jesus Closely
It is true that Peter followed Jesus during and after the arrest. But he followed Him ‘at a distance’. We too are in the same condition. We are afraid that if we follow Him closely, we may have to give up many things. Most of us serve two masters. We are afraid that if we go near Him we will get more sufferings and crosses. St. John who stayed closer to Jesus experienced His love more than other disciples. Jesus calls us to stay near Him, assuring us all comfort.
4) Warning at the Fire
It was cold and the servants and the guards had lit a charcoal fire and were standing there, warming themselves. Peter stood there too, warming himself with the others. He was an easy victim to the selfish scene that occurred there. When we go for the warmth of selfishness and earthly pleasures, we are sure to fall victims.
Let us be attached to the Body of Christ
We are the parts of the body of Jesus Christ. The hot blood circulation of Jesus should flow in our body to make it warm. Otherwise it will become numb and cold.