The Apostle Peter’s Denial
When they led Jesus Christ to the high priest’s house, the Apostle John, who was known to the high priest, entered the court, but Peter remained outside at the door. Then, John spoke to the maid who kept the door and brought Peter in.
The maid, seeing Peter, said to him, “Are you not also one of the disciples of this Man (Jesus Christ)?”
Peter answered, “No.”
The night was cold. The officers kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat warming themselves. Peter also warmed himself with them. Soon another maid seeing him as he sat in the light warming himself said to the guards, “This man also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
But Peter again denied it saying “Woman, I do not know him.”
After an interval of about an hour still, another insisted to Peter, “Certainly, you also were with Him; for your accent betrays you. You are a Galilean.” One of the servants of the high priest, a kinsman of the man, Malchus, whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?”
Peter began to invoke a curse on himself and swear, “I do not know this Man of Whom you speak.” While he was still speaking, the cock crowed and reminded Peter of the words of the Lord how He had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny Me three times.” The Lord being among the guards in the court turned and looked at Peter. The gaze of the Lord penetrated the heart of Peter. Shame and repentance seized him, and he went out from the court and wept bitterly over his grievous sin.
From that moment, Peter never forgot his fall. St. Clement, a disciple of Peter, tells how Peter throughout all his remaining days at the midnight crowing of the cock fell on his knees and in a flood of tears repented of his denial although the Lord Himself immediately after His resurrection forgave him. The ancient traditional teaching preserved that the eyes of the Apostle Peter were red from frequent and bitter weeping.
Note: See the Gospel of Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:55-62; John 18:15-18, 25-27.