WHEN JESUS WAS LED AWAY from Gethsemani, Peter and an unnamed disciple (probably John), followed at a distance, concealing themselves in the shadows. They came up to the house of Annas as Jesus and His captors were entering. John, who was known to the high priest’s household, passed through the gates with the others; then he returned and told the woman tending the gate to admit Peter, who had remained waiting outside.
Together the disciples entered the courtyard and joined a group of servants and attendants who were warming themselves at a fire. The chill dawn winds had begun to blow, and the warmth of the fire was welcome; but Peter and John had little time to enjoy it, for the portress, after closely scanning Peter’s features in the firelight, suddenly exclaimed, “Thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.”
Peter vigorously denied her statement, crying, “Woman, I do not know Him. I neither know nor understand what thou art saying.” To escape further attention, he withdrew from the fire and stationed himself near the entrance to the building. As he went a cock crowed.
Returning to her post at the gate, the portress again noticed Peter. Calling him to the attention of the others, she repeated her charge; and again he denied it, supporting his denial with an oath.
A little later the others came and challenged him in the same way, saying that his Galilean speech marked him as a follower of Christ. And one of the attendants, a relative of the man whom Peter had wounded in the Garden of Gethsemani, asked, “Did I not see thee in the garden with Him?”
Peter turned on them furiously, cursing and swearing that he had no idea what they were talking about. But as he spoke a cock crowed, and at the same instant Peter looked upward and met the gaze of Jesus, who was being led out by the guards. Christ’s look was not reproachful, but Peter was seized with remorse for his unfaithfulness and fled from the house in tears.
Meditation: Peter could not imagine that he, who loved Christ so dearly, would ever deny Him. Disloyalty to the Savior was unthinkable for Peter; or, at least, so he thought. His fall is a warning to us. If he, after his intimate association with Christ, could deny Him, we must be constantly on guard. The impetuous and over-confident temperament of Peter led him into danger. If we cease to guard ourselves against temptation, we could be traitors, too.
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 255-256. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.