The Bible

Discipleship and Repentance in Matthew’s and Luke’s Portrayals of Peter’s Denial

Peter’s denial of Jesus is a story that occurs in all four gospels. Though the main events remain the same, each gospel writer endows the story with unique and often contrasting details that speak to each gospel’s focus and themes. Michael Coogan notes that an important theme in the gospel of Luke is “discipleship” (95). The theme of discipleship is certainly evident in Luke’s account of Peter’s denial of Jesus. Luke’s version of the story provides a contrast to Matthew’s account; while Luke portrays Peter sympathetically as a repentant disciple with a unique connection to Jesus, Matthew emphasizes Peter’s separation from Jesus as a result of his denial. Each gospel writer’s portrayal of Peter’s relationship with Jesus in this pericope takes on a larger significance: in contrast to the gospel of Matthew, in which Peter seems estranged from Jesus, the gospel of Luke emphasizes Jesus’ relationship with those chosen as his apostles, further reflecting the theme of discipleship.

Though Matthew and Luke’s account of this story differs, the versions share several details in common. Both accounts initially take place in a courtyard and involve Peter and several other characters. Matthew and Luke state that Peter was “following [Jesus]...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 727 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4230 literature essays, 1407 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in