And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Are not you also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.
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Augustine of Hippo
After the Evangelist has said that they sent Jesus bound from Annas to Caiaphas, he returns to Peter and his three denials, which took place in the house of Annas: And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. He repeats what he had said before.
Here we find Peter not at the gate, but at the fire, when he denies the second time: so that he must have returned after he had gone out of doors, where Matthew says he was. He did not go out, and another damsel see him on the outside, but another damsel saw him as he was rising to go out, and remarked him, and told those who were by,i.e. those who were standing with her at the fire inside the hall, This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth. He heard this outside, and returned, and swore, I do not know the man.Then John continues: They said therefore to him, Are not you also one of His disciples? Which words we suppose to have been said to him when he had come back, and was standing at the fire. And this explanation is confirmed by the fact, that...
Mystically, by the first denial of Peter are denoted those who before our Lord's Passion denied that He was God, by the second, those who did so after His resurrection. Soby the first crowing of the cock His resurrection is signified; by the second, the general resurrection at the end of the world. By the first damsel, who obliged Peter to deny, is denoted lust, by the second, carnal delight: by one or more servants, the devils who persuade men todeny Christ.
The inspired Evangelist, to our profit, checks the course of his narrative, like a horse at full speed, and turns it back again. And why? Because he was bound, before narrating what next ensued, to point out to us Peter's third denial; and this event is best and most appropriately described as it occurred. He therefore designedly refers to what took place at first, and says, that Jesus was sent by Annas to Caiaphas; and shows us that Peter was questioned by the servants who were warming themselves with him at the fire, and also by a kinsman of him whom he had smitten; and that this was the occasion of his third denial. Then He mentions the crowing of the cock, making, it plain to us that no word of our Saviour ever falls to the ground; for He had foreknown and foretold the frailty of His own disciple in the midst of danger. Perhaps the divinely taught compiler of this book would have made no mention at all of this fact, had he not bethought himself of the captious |591 spirit and cease...
Wonderful, by what a lethargy that hot and furious one was possessed, when Jesus was being led away! After such things as had taken place, he does not move, but still warms himself, that you may learn how great is the weakness of our nature if God abandons. And, being questioned, he denies again.
Or, He means that the once fervid disciple was now too torpid, to move even when our Lord was carried away: strewing thereby how weak man’s nature is, when God forsakes him. Asked again, he again denies: They said therefore to him, Are not you also one of His disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.
But neither did the garden bring back to his memory what he had then said, and the great professions of love he had made: Peter then denied again, and immediately the cock crew.
The Evangelists have all given the same account of the denials of Peter, not with any intention of throwing blame upon him, but to teach us how hurtful it is to trust in self, and not ascribe allto God.