17 Jul 2015 Articles Resources No comments

Lessons from South America: How to greet and understand Pope Francis

People make special preparations for welcoming a special guest, and watching what worked and did not work in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay may help people prepa…

Read more

17 Oct 2014 Q&A Comments (2)

Did the Church move the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday?

Catholics do not worship on the Sabbath which is the last day of the week according to Jewish teaching, when God rested from work after creation (Gen. 2:2-3). W…

Read more

29 Jul 2016 Q&A Comments (4)

When Jesus mentioned the "one flock, one shepherd," was he referring to the Catholic Church alone?

Full Question In John 10:16 Jesus says "I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must lead them too, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be …

Read more

18 Jul 2015 Articles Comments (2)

Grief: Does It Ever End?

“It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls." —St. John Paul II In August 2009 my two older s…

Read more

05 Aug 2016 News Comments (1)

New claimant to Boko Haram leadership has pledged to ‘blow up every church we can’

New Boko Haram leader announced, with new threats aimed at Christians An Islamist named by ISIS as the new leader of Boko Haram has pledged to blow up every ch…

Read more

19 Nov 2014 Q&A No comments

What are the pains of purgatory?

Full Question What are the pains of purgatory? Answer While the nature of the punishment of the cleansing fire of purgatory is not a defined doct…

Read more

30 Aug 2016 Uncategorized No comments

Prosecutor undecided on death penalty after killing of nuns

The nuns' order has said it opposes the death penalty and said the sisters' murders do 'not demand revenge' A Mississippi prosecutor said she hasn’t decided wh…

Read more

17 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (2)

If I married a non-baptized person in a civil wedding, do I need an annulment to remarry?

Full Question My first wife and I were married by the justice of the peace. I was baptized in a Baptist church, but she was not baptized at all. Do I have …

Read more

24 Sep 2015 News USA No comments

Be shepherds concerned only for God and others, Pope tells US bishops

Pope Francis met the US bishops in Washington's Cathedral of St Matthew the Apostle Acknowledging the real challenges and burdens the US bishops face in thei…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

What was the reason behind Peter’s denial of Jesus?

The story of Peter’s threefold denial of Christ is found in all four Gospel accounts: Matthew 26:69–74, Mark 14:66–72, Luke 22:55–62, and John 18:15–18, 25–27. But why would the chief of the disciples deny even knowing Him? There were two main reasons why Peter denied Jesus: weakness and fear.

Peter’s denial was based partially on weakness, the weakness born of human frailty. After the Last Supper, Jesus took His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to await His arrest. He told them to stay awake and pray while He went off to pray alone. When He returned to them, He found them sleeping. He warned Peter to stay awake and pray because, although his spirit might be willing, his flesh was weak. But he fell asleep again, and, by the time the soldiers had come to arrest Jesus, it was too late to pray for the strength to endure the ordeal to come. No doubt his failure to appropriate the only means to shore up his own weakness—prayer—occurred to him as he was weeping bitterly after his denials. But Peter learned his lesson about being watchful, and he exhorts us in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be on the alert, because your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." Peter’s weakness had caused him to be “devoured" momentarily as he denied his Lord because he hadn’t been prepared through prayer and he underestimated his own weakness.

A second reason for Peter’s failure was fear. To his credit, although all the others had fled (Mark 14:50), Peter still followed Jesus after His arrest, but he kept his distance so as not to be identified with Him (Mark 14:54). There’s no question that fear gripped him. From the courtyard, he watched Jesus being falsely accused, beaten, and insulted (Mark 14:57–66). Peter was afraid Jesus would die, and he was fearful for his own life as well. The world hated Jesus, and Peter found that he was not prepared to face the ridicule and persecution that Jesus was suffering. Earlier, Jesus had warned His disciples as well as us today, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first" (John 16:18; cf. Matthew 24:9). Peter quickly found he wasn’t nearly as bold and courageous as he had proclaimed, and in fear he denied the One who had loved him.

We might well wonder why Jesus allowed Peter to fail so miserably and deny his Lord three times that night. Jesus revealed to Peter that Satan had asked for permission to sift Peter like wheat (Luke 22:31). Jesus could have easily protected Peter and not allowed Satan to sift him, but Jesus had a higher goal. He was equipping Peter to strengthen his brothers (Luke 22:32). Not only did Peter strengthen the other disciples, but he became the pillar of the early church in Jerusalem, exhorting and training others to follow the Lord Jesus (Acts 2). And he continues to this day to strengthen us through his epistles, 1 and 2 Peter. As with all our failures, God used Peter’s many failures, including his three denials of Christ, to turn him from Simon, a common man with a common name, into Peter, the Rock.



  1. Eric E. Reply

    “Why would a man with the zeal of Peter, the man who would become the first Pope, deny his Lord three times? To get back at Him for healing his mother-in-law!” -Ven. Fulton J Sheen.

    Couldn’t resist! lol


    Ever CaTholic must know these things…to define & strengthen their faith.

  3. catstclair12000 Reply

    It makes sense. Peter was so definite that he would never deny Christ, but would follow Him whatever happened. He needed to learn humility so he could understand those who failed as the Church progressed. We all need to be taken down a peg every now in then when we get, as we say in the South, too big for our britches.

Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories