In John 18:10 Peter demonstrates courage during Jesus's arrest when Peter uses his sword to defend Jesus. A few verses later during Jesus's trial Peter denies Jesus. It seems that Peter would risk everything to defend Jesus against a detachment of soldiers yet Peter wouldn't risk his reputation with women and strangers. I can certainly understand the change of heart after Jesus's resurrection but why the change of heart during Jesus's arrest and trial?

One could argue that Peter was in close proximity to Jesus during His arrest but Luke 22:61 says "the Lord turned and looked at Peter" which implies that Peter was close to Jesus when Peter denied Jesus. Maybe Peter became discouraged when he saw that Jesus seemed to surrender.

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    Welcome to the site. I hope you don't take this as a discouragement, but I'm voting to close this. There's really no way to answer this other than to say "I think it's because..." Unless one of us actually knows Peter's mind, there's no way to objectively, definitively answer this question. See blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/01/real-questions-have-answers for more on why this guideline exists on all Stack Exchange sites. – David Stratton Jun 2 '13 at 20:07
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    This incident does seem somewhat to fit other descriptions of Peter (confessing Jesus as "the Christ, Son of the living God" and then saying "Never, Lord!" [Matt. 16:16, 22], the foot washing incident [John 13:6-9]). – Paul A. Clayton Jun 2 '13 at 21:09
  • Paul: That's an answer in itself: Peter was just being Peter. What encouragement for us (me) that God can be served by flawed people. – Jim Fred Jun 3 '13 at 3:06
  • This is certainly a valid question and something for Christians to ponder, but I don't see how the open ended way it is worded right now can be given a definitive answer from Christian doctrine, practice or even tradition. We could ask a myriad of "why" questions about human characters in the Bible, but most of the answers would be speculative except in the few cases we are given a direct reason in the text. Without a reason these matter to some Christian belief or practice, these sort of subjective questions don't fit this QnA model very well. Please check out our faq and tour pages. – Caleb Jun 3 '13 at 9:57

It wasn't so much a change in heart as it was the natural and common progression of disappointment which prideful people display. After a prideful person sees that the object of their pride doesn't meet their standard they may disavow that object.

While John loved Jesus unconditionally Peter showed pride in aspects of Jesus' life and ministry as well as loving Him. That pride interfered with his love. Peter was proud of the Teaching, Preaching, Healing and Delivering Messiah as well as even the Dying Messiah but he was not proud of the Humiliated and Suffering Messiah.

Peter was willing to die immediately for Jesus in his own way with a sword in his hand rather than God's way for him to die years later on a cross of his own (as far as we know). His actions against the representatives of the evil rulers of the people of Israel are not venerable. Its a kind of false fleshy courage based in pride. Can you hear the pride in this statement: "If God wants me to do it I'm doing it my way when I want." It's seen in the contemporary world when people may say things like this: "You're not going to talk bad about or hurt my wife/child/husband/friend." This defensiveness is sometimes healthy but can become unhealthy because punishment is sometimes necessary. The punishment of Christ for us was necessary. Jesus did instruct the disciples to carry a sword but He never authorized them to use it in His defense. His Kingdom isn't of this world and if Peter had been listening he would have known that. Besides Jesus didn't need Peter to attack them. All He had to say was I AM and they would have kept falling over. Peter's pride is also shown in how he rebuked the Lord and he didn't ask questions concerning the Lord's death which Jesus had already announced as unavoidable. Satan desired to sift Peter like wheat and nearly was able to because Peter wasn't willing to suffer in the form of humiliation and abasement rather than death with Jesus.

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