Peter’s First Denial
John 18:15-18 NIV
15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, He went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
17 “You are not one of His disciples, are you?” the girl at the door asked Peter.
He replied, “I am not.”
18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.
The High Priest Questions Jesus
John 18:19-23 NIV
19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about His disciples and His teaching.
20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21Why question Me? Ask those who heard Me. Surely they know what I said.”
22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck Him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.
23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike Me?”
24Then Annas sent Him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.
Peter’s Second and Third Denials
John 18:25-27 NIV
25 As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, “You are not one of His disciples, are you?”
He denied it, saying, “I am not.”
26One 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 olive grove?”
27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.
“Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!" Immediately a rooster crowed.””
Then he began positively to affirm - Καταθεματίζω katathematizó, from κατα katá, ‘down’, ‘according to’, ‘intensive’, and τιθημι tithemi, ‘I lay down’, ‘place’, ‘affirm’.
It is stronger (more dramatic) than ἀναθεματίζω anathematízō (“to curse”).
But the common reading is καταναθεματιζω katanathematizó, which signifies to wish curses on himself. Peter is said to deny with an oath; here, he positively affirms and swears, probably by the name of God, for this is the import of the word ὀμνύω omnuó, ‘I swear’, ‘take an oath’, ‘promise with an oath’.
His language had betrayed Him, and there was a positive witness who had seen him. He felt it necessary, therefore, to be still more decided, and he accordingly added to the sin of denying his Lord the deep aggravation of profane cursing and swearing, affirming what he must have known was false, that he knew not the Lord. Immediately then the cock crew - that is, the second crowing.
All this evil came simply from the fear of man more than the fear of God. It is not unfair to conclude that Peter might have gone almost as far as Judas Iscariot himself who betrayed his Master a short while ago.
Lord Jesus, let us not deny You by our language or act as we follow You.