Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And immediately the cock crew.—Better, . . . a cock crew. (Comp. Matthew 26:74, and (on the whole question of the denial, Notes to Matthew 26:69-74.)Matthew 26:72-74.
and immediately—"while he yet spake" (Lu 22:60).
the cock crew—As Mark is the only Evangelist who tells us that our Lord predicted that the cock should crow twice (Mr 14:30), so he only mentions that it did crow twice (Mr 14:72). The other Evangelists, who tell us merely that our Lord predicted that "before the cock should crow he would deny Him thrice" (Mt 26:34; Lu 22:34; Joh 13:38), mention only one actual crowing, which was Mark's last. This is something affecting in this Evangelist—who, according to the earliest tradition (confirmed by internal evidence), derived his materials so largely from Peter as to have been styled his "interpreter," being the only one who gives both the sad prediction and its still sadder fulfilment in full. It seems to show that Peter himself not only retained through all his after-life the most vivid recollection of the circumstances of his fall, but that he was willing that others should know them too. The immediately subsequent acts are given in full only in Luke (Lu 22:61, 62): "And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter," from the hall of judgment to the court, in the way already explained. But who can tell what lightning flashes of wounded love and piercing reproach shot from that "look" through the eye of Peter into his heart! "And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice. And Peter went out and wept bitterly." How different from the sequel of Judas' act! Doubtless the hearts of the two men towards the Saviour were perfectly different from the first; and the treason of Judas was but the consummation of the wretched man's resistance of the blaze of light in the midst of which he had lived for three years, while Peter's denial was but a momentary obscuration of the heavenly light and love to his Master which ruled his life. But the immediate cause of the revulsion, which made Peter "weep bitterly," was, beyond all doubt, this heart-piercing "look" which his Lord gave him. And remembering the Saviour's own words at the table, "Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat, but I have prayed [rather, 'I prayed'] for thee that thy faith fail not" (see on Lu 22:31, 32), may we not say that this prayer fetched down all that there was in that 'look' to pierce and break the heart of. Peter, to keep it from despair, to work in it "repentance unto salvation not to be repented of," and at length, under other healing touches, to "restore his soul?" (See on Mr 16:7).See Poole on "John 18:25"
and immediately the cock crew; the second time; which was a signal by which he might call to remembrance, what Christ had said to him; that before the cock crowed twice, he should deny him thrice, Mark 14:72. It was now early in the morning, about three o'clock, or somewhat after.Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 18:27. Πάλιν οὖν … ἐφώνησεν … A cock crew, the dawn approaching, and the warning of John 13:38 was fulfilled. See on John 13:38.27. Peter then denied again] Again therefore (John 18:3) Peter denied; because he had denied before. S. John, like S. Luke, omits the oaths and curses (Mark 14:71; Matthew 26:73). We may believe that S. Peter himself through S. Mark was the first to include this aggravation of his guilt in the current tradition.
the cock crew] Rather, a cock crew. In none of the gospels is there the definite article which our translation inserts. This was the second crowing (Mark 14:72). A difficulty has been made here because the Talmud says that fowls, which scratch in dunghills, are unclean. But (1) the Talmud is inconsistent on this point with itself; (2) not all Jews would be so scrupulous as to keep no fowls in Jerusalem; (3) certainly the Romans would care nothing about such scruples.
Just as the Evangelist implies (John 18:11), without mentioning, the Agony in the garden, so he implies (John 21:15), without mentioning, the repentance of S. Peter. The question has been raised, why he narrates S. Peter’s fall, which had been thrice told already. There is no need to seek far-fetched explanations, as that “there might be contained in it some great principle or prophetic history, and perhaps both: some great principle to be developed in the future history of the Church, or of S. Peter’s Church.” Rather, it is part of S. John’s own experience which falls naturally into the scope and plan of his Gospel, setting forth on the one side the Divinity of Christ, on the other the glorification of His manhood through suffering. Christ’s foreknowledge of the fall of His chief apostle (John 13:38) illustrated both: it was evidence of His Divinity (comp. John 2:24-25), and it intensified His suffering. S. John, therefore, gives both the prophecy and the fulfilment. It has been noticed that it is “S. Peter’s friend S. John, who seems to mention most what may lessen the fault of his brother apostle;” that servants and officers were about him; that in the second case he was pressed by more than one; and that on the last occasion a kinsman of Malchus was among his accusers, which may greatly have increased Peter’s terror. Moreover, this instance of human frailty in one so exalted (an instance which the life of the great Exemplar Himself could not afford), is given us with fourfold emphasis, that none may presume and none despair.
On the difficulties connected with the four accounts of S. Peter’s denials see Appendix B.John 18:27. Ἐφώνησεν, crew) Concerning the repentance of Peter, John takes for granted those particulars which the other evangelists record. Add ch. John 20:2-3 [which presupposes his repentance].
The Greek has not the definite article. See on Matthew 26:34. The use of the article would seem to mark the time, cock-crowing, rather than the incident.
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