Jesus Foretells Peter's Denials

After the supper Peter makes protestations of Luke xxii. 31-38. fidelity, but the Lord announces to him that before John xiii. 36-38. the cock should crow he should deny Him. He Matt. xxvi. 30-35. teaches the disciples of the perils that await them, Mark xiv. 26-31. and they bring to Him two swords. He proceeds to address to them words of encouragement, and an- John xiv. 1-31. swers questions of Thomas and Philip. He adds .the promise of the Comforter, and calling upon them to arise and depart with Him, He continues His address to them as they stand around Him, and John Xv., xvi., xvii. ends with a prayer.

Matthew and Mark narrate the Lord's conversation with Peter, as if it took place after they had left the supper room, and were upon their way to the Mount of Olives; Luke and John, as taking place before they had left the

room. Hence, some suppose that the conversation began before they left it, and was renewed by the way ; and that His declaration respecting the crowing of the cock was twice spoken : once as recorded by the former, and once as recorded by the latter.1 Others, however, who agree with these, that Jesus twice uttered the prediction respecting the denials of Peter, would identify Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Luke does not narrate in chronological order. This identification is defended on internal grounds, and especially that the Lord's words to Peter, as given by Luke, " When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren," seem plainly to point to His words respecting all the apostles, as given by Matthew and Mark, " All ye shall be offended because of me this night."2 That the prediction respecting Peter's denials was twice spoken, is intrinsically probable, and wholly in accordance with Peter's character. Jesus had said (John xiii. 33) that He must go whither His disciples could not follow Him. This leads Peter to ask whither He was going, and why he could not now follow Him ; and he adds, " I will lay down my life for thy sake." Now the Lord declares to him, that ere the cock crow he shall deny Him thrice, (At this time, probably, were also spoken'the words given by Luke xxii. 31-34.) Later, perhaps as they were approaching the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus, addressing them as a body, declares that " they all shall be offended in Him this night." This leads Peter to repeat his protestations of fidelity, and to affirm that though all others should be offended, yet he would not. The Lord therefore repeats, and more emphatically, " Verily I say unto thee, this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice thou shalt deny me thrice."

According to some, the Lord three times predicted Peter's- denials, once as given by John, once by Luke, and

1 Meyer, Alford, Oosterzee. 8 See Bynaeus, ii. 9.

According to some, the Lord three times predicted Peter's- denials, once as given by John, once by Luke, and

once by Matthew and Mark. Others still make but one prediction, which John and Luke relate in its place, and Matthew and Mark by retrospection.8 Townsend makes two predictions, of which one occurred at the paschal supper, and one on the way to the Mount of Olives.3

The words the " cock shall not crow," may be understood as referring, not to a literal cock, but to that watch of the night known as the " cock-crowing," (see Mark xiii. 35,) or the third watch, that from 12-3 A. M. "Within the time of cock-crowing," says Lightfoot, " the short space of time between the first and second crowing." This would be equivalent to saying, before early dawn thou shalt deny me. But the Lord seems to include the actual crowing of the cock, as the event shows, (Mark xiv. 66-72.) The second crowing was probably about 3 A. M. That Mark should say, " Before the cock crow twice thou shalt deny me thrice," while the other Evangelists say, " Before the cock crow thou shalt deny me thrice," makes no real discrepancy. The latter speak generally of the cock-crowing as a period of time within which the three denials should take place; Mark more accurately says, that during this period the cock should not crow twice ere the denials were made.4 The assertion that no cocks were permitted at Jerusalem has no basis.6

The allusion to the swords is found only in Luke. Some, as Stier, make this incident to have taken place on the way to Gethsemane, and just before the entrance into it. As, however, it seems to be directly connected with the words spoken to Peter, it may have occurred in the supper room.6

1 So Augustine, Greswell. 2 Newcome, Robinson, Riggenbach.

3 So substantially Patritius.

4 See Friedlieb, Arehaol. 79; Greswell, iii. 211.

5 See Alford on Matt. xxvi. 34. " It is certain that there were cocks at Jerusalem as well as at other places." Lightfoot.

6 So Da Costa, Ebrard, Oosterzee.

After thus warning His disciples of the twofold danger from invisible temptation and external violence, and encouraging them to trust in Him, and giving them the promise of the Comforter, He offers His farewell prayer, the hymn is sung, and the paschal solemnity ended. We may, however, connect this hymn with His words, (John xiv. 31,) " Arise, let us go hence," or place it before the discourse. Norton supposes that He rose from the table to pray, but continued for a time His address. That the discourse in chaps, xv. and xvi., with the prayer in chap, xvii., was spoken in the supper room, appears very clearly from chap, xviii. 1, where it is said, " When Jesus had spoken these words He went forth—efyXOe—with His disciples over the brook Cedron," which can scarcely refer to a departure from any other place, although referred by some to His going out of the city. It appears, also, from this, that after His words, "Arise, let us go hence," no change of place is mentioned till the prayer is ended; and from the improbability that such a discourse would be spoken by the way. We conclude, therefore, that the Lord, after the disciples had arisen, and while still standing in the room, continued His discourse and ended it with the prayer.1 Many, however, suppose it to have been spoken on the way to Gethsemane.* Conversation with His disciples while journeying with them was indeed not unusual, but that He should deliver so long a discourse at night, and under these circumstances, is most improbable. Those who deny this supper in John xiii. 2 to be the paschal supper, but make it one previous at Bethany, place its close at xiv. 31, when Jesus arose to go to Jerusalem. Bynaeus finds three distinct discourses: the first, John xiii., at the supper on the evening of Wednesday preceding the paschal supper; the second, John xiv., on Thursday, just before Jesus left Bethany to go to Jerusalem to the paschal supper; the third, John xv. xvi. xvii, on the night following the paschal supper.

1 Meyer, Stier, Alford, Norton, Tholuck, Ellicott.

2 Lange, Da Costa, Ebrard, Patritius.