Summary: We will never be as close to Christ as we could be or think we are if we are oblivious to today’s issues or build monuments to past achievements.
We can be close to something, and yet miss it. We can be almost on target, almost where we want to .be, and yet, if we’re not exactly where we ought to be, we miss it. So near and yet so far.
A couple of years ago, when my wife and I were touring England, we were in Victoria Station, one of the great rail stations in central London. Each of us had errands to perform, and so we agreed to meet "at the doors" at a certain time. Time was of the essence, because we had to catch a train to get out to where Margaret’s cousin lives. So we parted, each of us keeping in mind the agreement to meet "at the doors" well before departure time.
When I was finished with my errands I went to the doors and went right on out to the curbside to wait. There at the doors I waited and waited and waited some more, but no Margaret. Not a sign, not a clue. I walked back and forth across the front of the station. I took strategic poses at locations where I thought I could see everyone coming out. I fended off a couple of talkative beggars who wanted to tell me their life stories and to relieve me of some of that funny-looking English money I was carrying around. But still no Margaret at the doors.
Finally, watching the clock inch ever closer to train time, I got frantic and went back inside the station to see if I could find her. Panic attack!
Guess who I found at the doors, inside? At the doors, foaming at the mouth? Guess who ran to the train, spouting accusations and breathing threats of fire and slaughter! "At the doors", it turns out, meant "inside the doors", not "outside the doors"! So near and yet so far.
We can be close to something, and yet miss it. We can be almost on target, almost where we want to be, and yet, if we’re not exactly where we ought be, we miss it. So near and yet so far. A miss is as good as a mile.
This week Ed McMahon – remember him? He may not be on late night TV any more, but he sure is turning out those magazine mailings – this week Ed McMahon wrote us and told us that we were now among the finalists in the publishers’ ten million dollar prize giveaway! According to the mailing, three other people had already received their ten million, and now it is, or just might be, our turn. Ten million big ones, with my name on them!
Pray hard, Takoma! The tithe off of that would renovate this building in a minute!
But you know what? I have this sneaking suspicion that this is another one of those “so hear and yet so far” experiences, that in the end, though we may have been on Ed’s alleged finalist list, we won’t win the prize. We won’t get ten million or one million or even one hundred. We may have been on the finalist list, but what we’ll get is a full garbage can and a spent postage stamp! So near and yet so far.
We can be very close to something, and yet miss it. We can be almost on target, almost where we want to be, and yet, if we’re not exactly where we ought to be, we miss it. So near and yet so far.
Did you know that we can be so very close to Christ and yet so very far from Him? Did you know that we can be very close, just a hair’s breadth away from Christ, and yet we can miss Him? And a miss is, in fact, as good as a mile. To miss all that Christ really wants for us, though we come close, is a spiritual tragedy. So near to Christ, so near to all that He is and all that He wants, so near to His glory, and yet, if we miss Him, we miss Him. So near and yet so far. So far away.
On the mount of Transfiguration, Peter came so close to Christ. And yet Peter also just about missed Hi. He just about missed Him. So near and yet so far was Peter from all that God intended him to experience in Christ.
First, to set the scene. Only eight days before this event, Peter had caught a glimpse of who Jesus really is. He had allowed his mind to admit it and had permitted his mouth to speak his conclusions: "You are the Christ of God.” Peter was beginning to see that in this teacher, with whom he had walked the pathways of Galilee, there was the very presence of God.