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John gave more details that the other Gospels. To start with he told that Peter cut off the ear of the high priest's servant at the beginning of ch18. Since the high priest and apparently his servants (one let him in) knew John, wouldn't they know John was a follower of Christ? Thus, wouldn't it seem obvious to them that Peter, who was with John, was a follower of Christ. Last one of the servants spoke up who saw Peter during the arrest and admitted such. Was Peter in complete denial of reality, that they knew he followed Christ? Or, did Peter know and disown following Christ?

15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself. (John 18:15–18, ESV)

25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed. (John 18:25–27, ESV)

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According to this passage in John 18:15-27, Peter makes two specific denials:

  • V17 & 25 - Peter denies being a Disciple of Jesus
  • V26 - Peter denies being in the garden with Jesus (Peter attempted to defend Jesus by trying to attack those arresting Jesus but succeeded in only cutting off an ear which Jesus then healed.)

Thus, Peter denies two aspects of his relationship with Jesus:

  • Association, ie being with Jesus - and by extension, trying to defend Jesus from the arresting mob.
  • Discipleship, ie, being a student of Jesus - a much closer relationship than merely association.

In the parallel accounts of Matt 26:69-75, Mark 14:66:-72, Luke 22:54-62, we find further information, which when combined offers a clearer picture: We find that in all three denials of Jesus Peter was asked about:

  • Being a disciple and being with Jesus, ie, both associated with Jesus,
  • trying to defend Jesus (with a sword)
  • beings disciple/student of Jesus
  • having the same speech (either accent or mode of expression) which in the final denial Peter attempts to deny with cursing

Since most people very proudly wore their discipleship of whatever master had instructed them (especially if the master was well-known), Peter's denial of being a disciple of Jesus is deny Jesus as his Lord and Master. Only hours before Jesus has said this:

John 13:13, 14 - You call Me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, because I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.

Peter was denying all this!

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