Peter’s Denial Matt. 26:34 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO of Peter’s Three Denials
Do Matt 26:34, Mk 14:68 and Mk 14:72 contradict concerning Peter’s three denials? Absolutely not. Let’s study the accounts of Peter’s Three Denials.
Jesus said that “before the cock crow” [Matt 26:34] Peter would deny him thrice. Well, according to Mk 14:68, “the cock crew” after his first denial. The reason is that the “first” denial literally involves three denials.
Here is the solution. Peter denied the Lord to three different people in his “first” denial in the same location and at nearly the same time before he even went out into the porch [Mk 14:68] where his “second” denial took place [Matt 26:71-72]. Therefore, the cock crows the first time after the “first” denial. Here are the accounts as they appear in order in the Gospels.
In the first account, Peter denied Jesus to a damsel. Notice the wording of Matt 26:69, while “Peter sat” a damsel said, “Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.” Matt 26:70 says, “Peter denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.”
In the second account, Peter denied Jesus to “one of the maids of the high priest” [Mk 14:66] while Peter was “warming himself” [Mk 14:67]. She said, “And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.” When he denied he said, “I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest” [Mk 14:68]. So, in her accusation she identifies Jesus as coming from “Nazareth” not “Galilee,” though Nazareth is in Galilee and he adds “neither understand I” to his reply.
You might suggest that the damsel in Matt 26 and the maid in Mk 14 are the same person and that the episodes are supplemental. That is you might say that Peter was sitting when he was warming himself and the damsel said “Jesus of Nazareth of Galilee.” However, when you see the third account of the denial by the “fire of coals” you will know for sure that we’re not talking about the same person here and that there was not just “one” denial in the “first” denial.
In the third account, Peter denied Jesus to the “damsel that kept the door” [Jn 18:17]. She asked him, “Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples?” And his reply was, “I am not” [Jn 18:17]. Peter’s posture is different than in the first denial above. In the first case, he “sat” and in this case he “stood” [Jn 18:18]. The damsel doesn’t state emphatically that Peter was with Jesus, as in the first and second case. She asks him if he is one of Jesus’ disciples. And his answer was simply, “I am not.”
Evidently, what happens is this. Peter walks in the door and the damsel that kept the door asked Peter [before he sits down], “Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples?” He denies saying, “I am not,” [Jn 18:16-18]. Then he takes a seat by the fire to warm himself and a damsel accuses him of being with Jesus of Galilee and he denies saying, “I know not what thou sayest,” [Matt 26:69-70]. This same damsel [maid] then announces before him and to the others, “This man was also with him,” to which Peter replies, “Woman, I know him not,” [Lk 22:55-57]. And before he can get out of there, “one of the maids of the high priest” shows up and says confidently, “And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth,” to which Peter replied, “I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest.” That’s when he “went out into the porch” where he was greeted by the cock crowing the first time [Mk 14:66-68].
These three denials combined together at the same location and in front of generally the same witnesses comprise what we call the “first” denial. So, the cock crowing the first time in Mk 14:68 fulfills what Jesus said in Matt 26:34. The second time he crows he fulfills Mk 14:72.
Conclusion: You have a perfect Bible which is exact down to the minutest detail. Don’t forget it.