Peter’s Denial

Luke 22:33-34, 54-62 (Peter’s Denial)

Connects to: PETER

            Peter answered, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you and to die with you!”

            “I tell you, Peter,” Jesus said, “the rooster will not crow tonight until you have said three times that you do not know me.”

. . .

            They arrested Jesus and took him away into the house of the High Priest; and Peter followed at a distance. A fire had been lit in the center of the courtyard, and Peter joined those who were sitting around it. When one of the servant women saw him sitting there at the fire, she looked straight at him and said, “This man too was with Jesus!”

            But Peter denied it, “Woman, I don’t even know him!”

            After a little while a man noticed Peter and said, “You are one of them, too!”

            But Peter answered, “Man, I am not!”

            And about an hour later another man insisted strongly, “There isn’t any doubt that this man was with Jesus, because he also is a Galilean!”

            But Peter answered, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about!”

            At once, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. The Lord turned around and looked straight at Peter, and Peter remembered that the Lord had said to him, “Before the rooster crows tonight, you will say three times that you do not know me.” Peter went out and wept bitterly.

Luke 22:33-34, 54-62 (Good News Translation)

Notes

Peter often promised far more than he could deliver. Remember that he’s the guy who jumped out of the boat to walk on water, and then sank.

The High Priest’s home was both a private residence and a public building. Apparently, in the Roman model, it was built around a central courtyard. Servants and soldiers might have been milling around while the hastily called trial was going on. Luke gives us the remarkable detail that Jesus “looked straight at Peter”—which would be possible in the close quarters of the house and courtyard.

Jews mainly lived in two provinces: Judea, which included Jerusalem, where this story took place; and Galilee, much farther to the north. Peter’s northern accent gave him away. Like Jesus, he was from Galilee.

The three-fold denial finds a kind of redemption in the last chapter of John’s Gospel, where the risen Christ asks three times if Peter loves him—and once again invites this fisherman to follow him (John 21:15-19).

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