But Peter followed Him from afar. (Matt. 26:58)
Peter followed, but this following led him to denial because he followed "from afar." He distanced himself from Christ, and this was the beginning of all evil. He stood apart from Him, and between him and the Teacher there was a great distance. He felt a certain attraction, he followed Him, but not closely enough. In exactly the same way many follow Christ in our own day: they do not leave Him completely, but they are not tightly bound to Him, they do not follow Him step by step, they follow "from afar." How many people give themselves over to worldy concerns and wordly satisfaction, thereby losing communion with Christ. They are swallowed up by various matters, they approach Christ by habit on Sunday but lose sight of Him during the week. Their prayers become shorter and rarer, they cease to study the word of God, their faith grows cold, everything spiritual turns into a dead letter. They follow Christ only in appearance; in practice they are far from Him and are close to complete renunciation.
Let us ask ourselves, how we follow Christ. With zeal, with love, or do we stand afar off like Peter, being distracted with extraneous matters? This path is always dangerous: he who distances himself from Christ today is in danger of complete renuncation of the Savior tomorrow. And how many bitter tears will this cost, how much harm will it bring to ourselves and others.
Translated by Fr. John Bartholomew from Den' za Dn'om, St. Petersburg 1908.[../../_private/oabot.htm]