I wonder what Peter had in mind when he responded to Jesus announcement of his denial. I imagine he thought of it in the context of the Jewish Leaders, Pharisees or even the Sanhedrin or maybe even the Roman Governor. “I will never deny you before men.” Peter is a mixture of bold bravado and quaking self-doubt. This same Peter who cuts off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest's slave and who later will boldly proclaim the gospel before all and sundry is reduced to deny Christ before whom?
1. The old woman doorkeeper Joh 18:17 Caezarius says this portress was named Ballila. It is worthy of remark that women, especially old women, were employed by the ancients as porters.
2. A servant girl (Matt 26:71) and overheard by the group of servants and workers gathered around the fire in the courtyard – John 18:25
3. One of the servants of the High Priest (and kin of Malchus, the High Priest’s slave) (John 18:26)
Hardly an illustrious array of people who would threaten Peter. These are not people of standing or might and power. They are the bottom end of society. This is highlighted by all four gospels. The one who hours before had wielded a sword in the presence of soldiers and risked everything is now reduced to running scared of slaves and old door keeper women. [What was he aiming at when he cut the ear off, and why take it out on the high priest’s slave?]
Peter never denied that Christ was God or the Son of God, or that he was come in the flesh, or that he was the Messiah and Saviour of sinners; but either that he did not know what the maid said, or the person she spoke of; or, as here, that he was one of his disciples; which was a very great untruth.
John 18:26 One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman, whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him
No doubt his relationship to Malchus and his actions against him drew attention to the man who struck his relative and thus enabled him to identify Peter. The other Evangelists make his detection to turn upon his dialect. “Surely you are one of them, for your speech betrays you” (Mat_26:73). “You’re a Galilean” (Mar_14:70; and so Luk_22:59). Or as Eugene Peterson put it in the Message Version: "He's got to have been with him! He's got 'Galilean' written all over him." The Galilean dialect had a more Syrian lilt than that of Judea. If Peter had held his peace, this peculiarity would have not been observed; but hoping, probably, to put them off the scent by joining in the fireside talk, he only exposed himself.
Note the escalating nature of the denials, each time more forceful and vehement in his denial and rejection.
68 But he denied it falsely and disowned Him, saying, I neither know nor understand what you say.
70 But again he denied it falsely and disowned Him.
71 Then he commenced invoking a curse on himself [should he not be telling the truth] and swearing, I do not know the Man about Whom you are talking!
And note there were THREE of them. Not just a one on-the-spur-of-the-moment slip of the tongue. But three.
But note also how this fits into John’s overall rejection theme. First the leaders, then the family, then the wider band of disciples, then one of the twelve, Judas and now Peter, one of the three favoured ones. IT COULD HAPPEN TO ANYONE.
No one is in charge of your happiness but you. Regina Brett
Jesus came to pay a debt he did not owe for those who owed a debt they could not pay. Max Lucado