Peter Denies Jesus
Free online resources based on Peter denying Jesus three times, and Peter’s restoration after Jesus’ resurrection. This story can be found in all four Gospels. See below for links to sermons, stories and entertaining sites for this important story.
“I assure you,” Jesus said to him, “tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times!”
“Even if I have to die with You,” Peter told Him, “I will never deny You!” And all the disciples said the same thing. — Matthew 26:34-35 HCSB
Peter Denies Jesus – Summary
After the Last Supper, Jesus knew it was time for him to fulfill the plan of Salvation. He wanted all of his disciples to understand, as well as possible, what was about to happen. Numerous times he had predicted that he was to be handed over to the authorities and crucified. But now the events were rapidly approaching. Jesus reminds the disciples of one the prophecies,
“…smite the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” (Zechariah 13:7)
Peter emphatically says that even if everyone leaves Jesus, he will never desert him. Jesus, who loves Peter dearly, tells him,
“…this very night, before a single rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
Peter claims that even in the face of death, he will never deny or disown Jesus. All the disciples made similar vows.
Jesus was speaking faith-filled words. He knew the Word intimately and was operating with full access to all spiritual knowledge. The disciples, prior to Pentecost and being filled with the Holy Spirit, were relying on their emotions and reasoning abilities. Jesus was not criticizing Peter or the other disciples. He was letting them know exactly what was about to transpire. It would be a traumatic three days for them as they witnessed the trial and execution of Jesus. There would be sadness, but as he promised, that would turn to joy. When they looked back, they would see that Jesus was in complete control of the situation and knew exactly what was to take place. He was not a victim or a martyr. He was a triumphant King!
When the crowd came for Jesus in the garden, it was Peter that attacked Malchus and cut off his ear. Jesus rebuked Peter for this. It was not necessary to defend Jesus, as he could have easily called thousands of angels to his side.
As Jesus was taken captive, all the disciples fled. Peter and another disciple (possibly John) secretly followed Jesus into the courtyard of the High Priest’s house, where Jesus was being interrogated. It was here that people began to notice Peter. One after another asked him if he was a follower of Jesus. Each time he more emphatically denied that he knew him.
Then, a relative of Malchus looked at Peter, who was warming himself by a fire in the courtyard, and said,
“Did I not see you in the garden with Him?”
This was eyewitness testimony of Peter being present with Jesus. This was Peter’s opportunity to stand up for his Lord and make that bold faith confession that you would expect from such a passionate man. Instead, he started cursing and swore with an oath,
“I don’t know this man you’re talking about!”
Immediately the rooster crowed. Luke’s Gospel says that Jesus made eye contact with Peter at that very moment. Peter realized what he had done. He had denied Jesus not once, but three times, just as Jesus predicted. He went away and wept bitterly.
Fear had gotten the best of Peter. Even with advance knowledge of what was about to take place, Peter denied Jesus. Emotionally, Peter was a wreck. After he had boldly proclaimed that he would die before denying Jesus, fear caused him to buckle to the world’s pressure.
If that was not bad enough, Peter had activated a spiritual law that could have had devastating consequences. Jesus said that, “whoever denies and disowns Me before men, I also will deny and disown him before My Father Who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33)
This is exactly why Jesus and the Bible continually warn you to watch your words, because words bring judgement. In this case, Peter was snared by the words of his mouth. (Proverbs 6:2) Unless Peter’s denials could somehow be wiped away, Jesus would have to deny him before the Father.
With this in mind, John 21 becomes a much more precious post-resurrection encounter. Peter and some of the disciples went fishing. Jesus met them on the beach and they had breakfast together. Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved him. Each time Peter told Jesus that yes, he loved him. There were three denials, so there were three opportunities to remove all doubt that Peter knew and loved Jesus. He had to cancel out those negative confessions once and for all. If Peter was going to be mightily used in the Church, there could be no doubt that he loved Jesus with all his heart.
Do you love Jesus? Would you deny or confess him before men?
When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do–with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Feed My lambs.
Again He said to him the second time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Shepherd (tend) My sheep.
He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, instinctive, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]? Peter was grieved (was saddened and hurt) that He should ask him the third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep. — John 21:15-17 AMP
Read the Peter denying Jesus story in five popular translations – AMP, KJV, HCSB, NIV, The Message:
Additional Peter Denies Jesus Resources
Peter Denies Jesus – A coloring page
Peter Denies Jesus – Lesson ideas
Peter Denies Knowing Jesus – A coloring page
Peter’s Denial Of Jesus – A lesson outline
The Fourth Station: Peter Denies Jesus – A brief blog post
Peter Denies Jesus – A blog post
Judas Betrays Jesus And Peter Denies Him – A children’s paraphrase
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