Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”
He denied it, saying, “I am not.”
One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow. John 18:25-27
Peter walked and talked with the Master daily for three years. If anyone could ever possibly know the personal and informal side of Jesus, it would have been Peter and John. Let me repeat that: Peter walked side by side with the Son of God for three years. Knowing this, what could possibly have happened between the time in the Garden and here? Jesus even told his disciples that He would be taken from them and crucified. I suspect the shock of how He was taken messed with his mind because Peter knew what Jesus was at least partially capable of doing and could do if he wanted. But he didn’t, and he was in custody.
He denied Him three times, just as Jesus said he would do. Peter is trying to add space between him and Jesus.
I suppose all of these things were swirling around in Peter’s mind when he was asked about his relationship to the man now in custody. After the first denial, he was probably certain he wouldn’t let it happen again, but it did. The final two denials seemed to come quickly. There’s no denying it but Peter blew it. Three times. And later we know that he wept bitterly about it.
Struggle. Sin. Repentance and regret over the sin.
Not much has changed over the years.