After accompanying Christ to the High priest's compound Peter is interrogated more than the other disciple who took him in.

John 18:17 ESV

: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.”

Later Peter is queried about his relationship with Christ by the ceowd

John18:25 ESV

: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.”

Later again the same query is directed at Peter by the servant of the high priest

John 18:26-27 ESV:

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.

There is nothing directed at the other disciple who clearly must have been known as Christ's disciple

Why was the focus on Peter?

1 Answer 1


A key is:

Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple [John] was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, ... (John 18:15, ESV)

John is admitted into the court yard, being known to the high-priest, while Peter remains without. -- Lange, J. P., & Schaff, P. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: John (p. 553). Logos Bible Software.

Why did the high priest and apparently his servants know John and not Peter? Perhaps because John had been a disciple of John the Baptist (John 1:35-39). However, the point is they knew John, which implies they knew he was one of Jesus' disciples. John did not try to deny this.

The incite gained from John's account is those questioning Peter knew he was one of Jesus' disciples. The servant girl could assume so because of his association with John.

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 [ καὶ] are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” (John 18:16–17, ESV)

The girl at the door said to Peter, “Aren’t you also one of that man’s followers?” (John 18:17, NCV)

Art thou also? (μη και συ εἰ; [mē kai su ei?]). Expecting the negative answer, though she really believed he was. This man’s (του ἀνθρωπου τουτου [tou anthrōpou toutou]). Contemptuous use of οὑτος [houtos] with a gesture toward Jesus. She made it easy for Peter to say no. -- Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Jn 18:17). Broadman Press.

Ver. 17. Art thou also? [Μὴ καὶ σύ, as well as the ἄλλος, ver. 16].—“The καί contains the pre-supposition that John, whom she nevertheless had, for acquaintance’ sake, admitted along with the rest, is a disciple of Jesus.” Meyer. -- Lange, J. P., & Schaff, P. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: John (p. 553). Logos Bible Software.

The high priest's servant saw Peter in the garden.

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 18:26–27, ESV)

Given this information, it appears that Peter's denial was like disowning Jesus. The statements of his denial are similar to what families of some religions say when they disown a child for becoming a Christian.

After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. (Matt. 26:73–74, ESV)

Answer: Peter was interrogated because he kept denying Christ when his interrogators knew otherwise. John did not deny being a disciple. John was no older than 25 years-old while Peter was at least 30. He would be considered more responsible. (https://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/79835/what-were-the-ages-of-the-apostles-peter-and-john-when-jesus-was-crucified)

Other Commentary

  1. The circumstances and incitement of his denial was the question of the maid who kept the door: The maid who kept the door said to Peter, Are not you also one of this man’s disciples? She says you also because she knew that John was a disciple of Christ, but she did not mention this to him because of their friendliness. This incident shows how weak Peter was at that time, for he was incited to deny Christ under feeble circumstances. How weak these circumstances were is shown, first of all, from the person who asked him: for it was not an armed soldier or an imposing high priest, but a woman, and a door keeper at that. Secondly, from the very form of the question: she did not say, “Are you a disciple of that traitor?” but rather, Are not you also one of this man’s disciples? This seemed to indicate a certain sympathy. We can learn from this that “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their power by the breath of his mouth” (Ps 32:6), because this same person who denied Christ at the questioning of a maid servant afterwards professed and preached the name of Christ before the chief priests (Acts 4:8). -- Thomas Aquinas. (2010). Commentary on the Gospel of John: Chapters 1–21 (F. Larcher & J. A. Weisheipl, Trans.; Vol. 3, p. 208). The Catholic University of America Press.

26 The last questioner was different, and his question looks for an affirmative answer. He was related to Malchus (only John tells us this), and therefore would have had a peculiar interest in the man who had struck out with a sword. But it had been done in an uncertain light, and the relative could not be absolutely sure that it was Peter that he had seen. All the more would this be so in that he was now seeing that apostle in a very dim light indeed. A charcoal fire glows red, but it does not emit bright flames. But he was more confident than the earlier questioners, as his words show. He refers to the incident, and asks whether he did not see Peter in the garden. -- Morris, L. (1995). The Gospel according to John (p. 672). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

On the other hand, the traditional identification should not be ruled out too quickly. The fourth Evangelist does not hesitate to provide the names of other prominent inquirers and followers in the Jerusalem area, viz. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. The oblique manner of reference, ‘another disciple’, calls to mind the ‘beloved disciple’ who is so regularly unnamed. This is the more striking when we remember the close connection between the beloved disciple and Peter (13:23–24; 20:2–10; 21:20–24)—a close connection confirmed by the Synoptists (under the reasonable assumption that the beloved disciple is John the Apostle). -- Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (p. 582). Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.

18:17. Both here and in Mark 14:66, 69 par., it is a servant-girl who confronts Peter the first time. If she recognized the other disciple as someone who could be admitted, doubtless she knew him well enough to know he was a disciple of Jesus. Seeing Peter come in with him, she made the obvious connection and asked the obvious question: ‘Are you another of this man’s disciples?’ (American NIV; mē kai sy ek tōn mathētōn ei tou anthrōpou toutou; lit. ‘Surely you are not also [one] of this man’s disciples, are you?’—expressing, perhaps, a disdainful disbelief that Peter, under the circumstances, felt to be intimidating).

The form of the question suggests either that the expected answer is ‘No’, or, more likely in this context, that the question is a ‘cautious assertion’ (M. I, pp. 192–193). The question may not have been hostile so much as cynical. But Peter, cowed by his surroundings (as the other disciple was not, being more familiar with them), and threatened by his own memory of the fact that he was the only disciple who had struck a servant of the high priest (v. 10), begins his shameful descent. He may have viewed this first instance of self-distancing from the Master as a rite of admission to the courtyard; but once performed, it was easy to repeat, with rising vehemence. -- Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (p. 583). Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.

18:26–27. Only John specifies that the third person to challenge Peter was a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off. This can most sympathetically be read as evidence that the beloved disciple is none other than the ‘another disciple’ (v. 15), displaying detailed knowledge of the high priest’s household. Perhaps the fire flared, and the man glimpsed Peter’s features a little more clearly. But again Peter denied any knowledge of his Master. John makes no mention of the oaths and curses to which he resorted this third time (Mk. 14:71 par.), nor of the bitter tears that followed the crowing of the rooster. The account is leaner, quietly veiled. The effect is to emphasize the fulfillment of Jesus’ words to Peter (13:36), and to make it clear that ‘Peter cannot follow Jesus, until Jesus has died for him’ (Fenton, p. 182).

Both for John’s readers, and for the early church generally, this is not Peter’s final scene. As serious as was his disowning of the Master, so greatly also must we esteem the grace that forgave him and restored him to fellowship and service. And that means—both in John’s Gospel and in our lives—that there is hope for the rest of us. -- Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (p. 586). Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.

The maid, having seen Peter in the company of the “other disciple” whose identity was known to her, asks whether Peter, too, is an associate of Jesus. Nothing further is said of the other disciple or of the Roman soldiers, who probably accompanied the Temple guards only as far as the gate of the house. -- Brown, R. E., Fitzmyer, J. A., & Murphy, R. E. (1996). The Jerome Biblical commentary (Vol. 2, p. 458). Prentice-Hall.

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