And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. (Mark 14:54b)
Read Mark 14:53-55
Choosing a place to sit shouldn't be a big deal, should it? Jesus was on trial for His life in the high priest's house, and Peter wanted a place to see what would happen to Him. But he didn't dare get too close -- someone might recognize him as a disciple and arrest him, too.
So Peter stayed in the courtyard outside the main hall. It was cold and dark out there, and he was shivering. The guards who had arrested Jesus were cold, so they made a fire and sat around it. Peter joined them to get warm.
Oh, Peter! Must you sit among Jesus' enemies just to get warm? No doubt he thought he could pass unnoticed in the shadows. But fire casts light as well as heat, and a servant girl saw and accused him. "You were with Jesus," she said. He panicked and denied it; then his seatmates joined in: "Didn't I see you with him in the garden?" one asked.
You know the rest of the story. Peter must have bitterly regretted his choice to sit with Jesus' enemies.
But we do that too, don't we? At lunchtime, when we sit with coworkers who are tearing down someone else's reputation. Or in a conference room, when someone suggests a way to cheat the system and make more money. Or at a political rally, where angry people are cheering policies that harm "the least of these, My brothers" (see Matthew 25:40).
We could speak up. We could say something. But we are afraid. We don't want to be crucified either. And so we rank ourselves with Jesus' enemies and deny our Lord. What hope is there for us?
Only the same hope Peter had -- that Jesus Himself has suffered for us, laying down His life for faithless friends and enemies alike. We know that He will meet our tears with forgiveness, our evil with cleansing, and the death in our hearts with new life. He can do this, because He has died and risen again -- for us.
THE PRAYER: Lord, cast Your light upon my life. Is there some group or situation You don't want me to participate in? Let me know, and give me a heart to serve You willingly. Amen.
Who do you sit with at lunch, at break, or at church? Why?
Tell about a time when you got into bad company. What was the result?
If you are willing, share a time when Jesus called you back out of the company of His enemies into His own mercy.
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