But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what you say.
But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. The nature of Peter's sin has been so fully dealt with that we may safely venture to inquire what can be said on behalf of him, and in mitigation of his very grievous fault, it is not wise to say harsh and inconsiderate things concerning our erring brethren. It is well to remember the counsel, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." No temptation took Peter but such as is "common to men." Even a Cranmer repeats his story in these latter times. We do not excuse Peter's sin when we try kindly to estimate the time of strain through which he passed. Every man has such a testing time put somewhere into his life. Sometimes it comes in the opening manhood, but perhaps it is more usually reserved for the advanced middle life, as we see in the cases of Abraham and of David. In some way the life principle is proved, and it is seen whether the will has become dissociated from the principle professed, so that the principle is only weak sentiment that can stand no strain. On behalf of Peter, it may be urged -
I. THAT HE WAS PHYSICALLY OVERWROUGHT. Long hours of watching and anxiety must have wearied him out; and that sleep in the garden was not refreshing. Body prepared a way for temptation.
II. THAT HE WAS DOING A VERY VENTURESOME THING. Making his way actually into the court of the palace, and among the high priest's guard and servants. It was a noble thing to do, but it was a very perilous one. He did not know whether the scheme against the Master included the servants; but he risked the danger because of his longing to see what became of the Lord he loved. No doubt he thought that showing a bold front was the best way to escape observation, he would have managed well if it had not been for his Galilaean brogue.
III. THAT HE WAS DISAPPOINTED IN HIS HOPES CONCERNING JESUS. He had thought that an earthly kingdom was to be set up; the arrest of Jesus dashed that hope to pieces forever. He was in the hands of his foes. This did not affect Peter's personal feeling toward Christ, but it did suggest that he had better not profess open connection with him.
1. There is a test time forevery man.
2. It is a self-revelation.
3. It is a culture.
4. The test time is precisely relative to every man.
5. The relativity is the thing to discover. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.