What Is the Biblical Context of Peter Denying Jesus?
At the Last Supper Jesus predicts that the disciples will deny ever knowing him. Peter speaks up defiantly and assures Jesus he can count on him. He would never deny Jesus, but Jesus tells him exactly how and where his denial will take place.
Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:
“‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. Matt. 26:31-35
After supper, Jesus went to Gethsemane to pray and “He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’” Matt. 26:37-38
Jesus left them for a short time to pray and cry out to God, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matt. 26:39
When Jesus returned to Peter and the other two disciples, he found them sleeping, not praying. Jesus warned Peter that he especially needed to understand the danger awaiting him.
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matt. 26:40-41
Jesus went away three times to pray, each time asking God if there could be any other way, but understanding it would be as God ordained. The last time, “Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Matt. 26:45-46
Just as Jesus predicted all the disciples scattered, even Peter, when Jesus was arrested.
Peter Denies Jesus Three Times
The story of Peter denying Jesus appears in all four Gospels: Matthew 26:69-74, Mark 14:66-72, Luke 22:55-62, and John 18:15-18.
Continuing the biblical story in Matthew: Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome. Matt. 26:57-58
While the Sanhedrin was falsely accusing Jesus in front of Caiaphas, Peter watched from afar and succumbed to the temptation Jesus had predicted.