John 18:15-18, 25
Not often does Scripture give us a weather report. We are not told, for instance, if the skies were overcast on the day when David slew Goliath. Or if it was humid when Jesus fed five thousand people. Such details may add local color but are irrelevant to the story. But it is not irrelevant to note that on the night of Jesus’ arrest it was cold (v. 18). This is more than a temperature check. This symbolizes what is happening here: a cold-blooded rejection of warming light is underway; in the coldness of this night, a hardened world is crafting an even harder future.
But for the man named Simon Peter, it was cold in other ways. He is a man of lake country, boats, and wide skies, not of dark city streets and bureaucratic intrigue. He is a creature of fierce passions and action—not of secrecy and calculating stealth. But now, his best effort to defend his dearest friend is rejected as a mistake. He finds himself alone among inquisitive strangers in even stranger surroundings. If ever a man has reason to feel it was cold, Peter is the man. And so, he warms himself by others’ fires.
There are times for all of us when disorientation is just a fancy word for being lost, alone, and scared. Times when “cold” is too weak a word to say how confused, how desolate we feel. This is the hour when the warmth of others’ fires calls to us—the hour when warmth and inclusion may mean more than noble ideals and professed loyalties. Peter’s story asks us to think twice before we warm ourselves at others’ fires.
How have you responded in the past when your world became a confusing, lonely place? How does your story differ from Simon Peter’s?
God, remind me often of your faithfulness, not letting me be tested beyond my strength, but providing the way out so that I may be able to endure it. Amen.