One of my favorite topics that I enjoy teaching as a pastor is that of Jesus and his disciples. The
Bible depicts that even though Peter was one of the closest disciples to Jesus, he denied him.
The question I often get from other believers in my church is why did Peter deny Jesus? Some
also wonder how Peter denying Jesus affected their relationship and whether Jesus forgave him
for that sin.
In this article, I will discuss who Peter denied Jesus to and whether Peter’s denial was a
prophecy. Join me as we look at the three times Peter denied Jesus and discuss whether Jesus
forgave him. Read on to learn about Peter’s reasons for denying Jesus and what transpired.
Who did Peter deny Jesus to?
Peter denied Jesus to a servant girl who kept the door at the priests’ courtyard. When Jesus was taken into the courtyard of the high priest, Peter and other disciples followed him. Peter was afraid to get in, and so he stood at the door outside. So, when he finally got into the courtyard, the servant girl and the doorkeeper asked him: “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” John 18:17. So Peter first denied Jesus to a servant girl.
Peter denied Jesus to servants and officers who had made a fire of coals. Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself. John 18:18 Since Jesus was arrested at night, it was cold, and Peter went to warm himself, where servants and officers made fire.
Peter denied Jesus to a servant. One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” Peter then denied it again; John 18:26-27 The servant who asked Peter about his relationship with Jesus was a relative of the officer Peter had cut off his ear earlier during the arrest of Jesus.
Peter denied Jesus to people who would pose fewer consequences than Jesus, who faced the rulers and the high priest who had authority. Therefore, it contrasts how Jesus stood firm before powerful men against a disciple who could not stand for the truth even before a servant girl who probably could do nothing even if she realized that Peter was one of the disciples of Jesus.
Was Peter’s denial of Jesus a prophecy?
Peter’s denial of Jesus was a prophecy. Some scholars call it a prediction rather than a prophecy. For instance, the BBC and Thirdmill refer to it as a prediction, while Neil J. McEleney refers to it as a prophecy. All in all, the idea is that it was spoken about before it happened. Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” Mark 14:30. Jesus had prophesied or predicted the exact times that Peter would deny him.
Why did Jesus make the Prophecy on Peter’s denial?
But why did Jesus make such a prophecy or prediction? It is worth noting that Jesus had made two other predictions before the one about Peter denying him. The prediction was that his arrest, persecution, and death would lead to the disciples being scattered and leaving him. He also predicted his resurrection. Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered.’ “But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” Mark 14:27-28. So, it is after he made this prophesy that Peter contested, saying that he will never leave him: Peter said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.” Mark 14:29. Therefore, Jesus predicted to show Peter that his prophecy was true and that the situation would be dire. He likely wanted them to know for sure that he would rise again. After Peter’s prophecy on denial came true, they should have truly believed the prophecy of his resurrection.
Why did Peter deny Jesus three times?
Peter denied Jesus because he feared for his safety and arrest. After Jesus was arrested, he was taken to be questioned by the Roman soldiers and the high priests. Peter followed closely and stayed at the gate of the courtyard. When he was finally allowed into the courtyard, a servant girl who manned the gate asked him whether he was with Jesus of Nazareth: Now, as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are saying.” And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed. Mark 14:66-68. This was the first instance.
In the second instance, Peter denied Jesus while warming himself with servants and officers. So, after denying Jesus to the servant girl, the servant girl was not satisfied and was still curious about Peter’s identity. She enquired from the officers and servants with whom Peter was warming himself. So, the servants asked Peter whether he was with Jesus: And the servant girl saw him again and began to say to those who stood by, “This is one of them.” But he denied it again. Mark 14:69-70.
The third account was when before, high priest servants stood together to listen and observe the trial of Jesus. They said he was a Galilean, and his speech showed that he was with Jesus. And a little later, those who stood by said to Peter again, “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.” Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this Man of whom you speak!” A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And when he thought about it, he wept. Mark 14:70-72. It is after this third denial that he remembered the prophecy of Jesus, and he was greatly distressed.
Did Jesus forgive Peter for denying him?
Yes, Jesus forgave Peter after he denied him three times. First, the Bible says that he wept, which means that he recognized his sin and was remorseful. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So, Peter went out and wept bitterly. Luke 22:61-62. By weeping, it shows that he regretted his actions and desired forgiveness.
But how do we know that Peter was forgiven? We assume he was forgiven because After Jesus was resurrected, he went out to look for Peter. First, he made them have a great catch and made them breakfast. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So, they cast, and now they could not draw it in because of the multitude of fish. John 21:5-6. It is correct to assume that Jesus had forgiven Peter, which is why he made them have a big catch and cared whether they had any food.
The Bible implies that he had forgiven Peter because he made them breakfast by the shore. Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” John 21:12. Jesus’ service and kindness to Peter shows that he had forgiven and still loved him. It would have been impossible for him to prepare breakfast for a person he was angry about.
Finally, we can correctly assume that Jesus forgave Peter because he gave him a major responsibility as the leader of his church. When Jesus was resurrected, he went to Peter, placing a huge responsibility on him. They argue that when Jesus asked Peter whether he loved him three times as they were having breakfast by the shore, it was an encouragement and an exhortation of his coming responsibilities. He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. John 21:17. The fact that Jesus gave Peter the responsibility of feeding his sheep implies that he had already forgiven him.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.