Matthew 26:34

ESV Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”
NIV Truly I tell you,' Jesus answered, 'this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.'
NASB Jesus said to him, 'Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.'
CSB "Truly I tell you," Jesus said to him, "tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times."
NLT Jesus replied, 'I tell you the truth, Peter — this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.'
KJV Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

What does Matthew 26:34 mean?

In keeping with his impulsive nature, Peter has rejected Jesus' prediction that all the disciples will fall away. He has declared that even if everyone else runs away and hides, he will never do so (Matthew 26:30–33). That's not only derisive to the other disciples, it's also incredibly bold.

Jesus knows, though, that Peter's courage cannot stand the test that is coming. He tells Peter that the bold disciple will not just fall away to save himself (Matthew 26:56), he will in fact deny Jesus three times during the night before the rooster crows to signal the start of a new day (Matthew 26:69–75).

This would have been devastating for Peter to hear, especially coming directly from Jesus. The traitorous actions of Judas would be the worst of all: to actively work to harm his master (Matthew 26:21–22). On the other extreme, to "fall away" implies running and hiding when Jesus was in danger. To "deny" his relationship to Christ suggested a level of cowardice and unfaithfulness Peter simply could not imagine of himself. He had never known Jesus to be wrong, but Peter would not accept this statement (Matthew 26:35; 69–75).

Peter will learn, eventually, that Jesus does not want followers who think they are strong in themselves. He wants those who know they are strong in Him.
What is the Gospel?
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