One of the most heart-wrenching incidents leading up to the crucifixion of Christ was Peter’s denial of him. One must read all the Gospels to get the complete story of what happened.

One thing that many people mistakenly think is that Peter was the only disciple who said he wouldn’t turn away from Jesus. 

But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same (emphasis added).

Matthew 26:35 (NIV)

But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same (emphasis added).

Mark 14:31 (NIV)

In Luke and John, it appears only Peter said he’d never disown Jesus. However, we see from Matthew and Mark that all of the disciples said this. Another interesting tidbit is that Peter wasn’t the only disciple around when he denied knowing Jesus. In fact, when we examine John’s account of Peter’s denial, we are given some great insight.

“You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter. He replied, “I am not” (emphasis added).

John 18:17 (NIV)

Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not” (emphasis added).

John 18:25 (NIV)

I’ve always thought that one reason for Peter’s denial was being separated from the other disciples. That Peter’s declaration to Jesus that he’d never disown him came from a place of pride and emotion. After all, it’s typical of “hotheaded” Peter to seemingly act or say something without thinking about it. However, in John, we can see that the people questioning Peter knew that John, the other disciple who gained them entry into the high priest’s courtyard, was also Jesus’ disciple. This is why they used the adverb “too.” The “too” they were referring to was John, the disciple they knew. 

What I find interesting is that many people suggest Peter was afraid when he denied Jesus. Fearful that being associated with Jesus would get him into trouble. However, if John was there as a known associate of Jesus, doesn’t that claim of fear of guilt by association miss the mark? Perhaps Peter was afraid of what retribution might come because of his actions with the sword. As evidenced by this verse.

One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?”

John 18:26 (NIV)

While some people might point out the differences in the Gospels and think they are contradictions, I’m thankful to have four different Gospel accounts to help me see the complete picture.