We can know two things here immediately: Firstly, Jesus knew every detail of what was to happen to Him from the betrayal, to arrest, torture and death on the cross-He was prepared for all of it. Secondly, the thing that perhaps affected Him the most in His thoughts was the betrayal of His closest friends. We are not talking of the cold-blooded plans of Judas Iscariot, but the instinctive action to flee the scene which they all embraced.
However, Peter and the others thought of themselves as much better than that. Again, Peter is the spokesperson for the group and is adamant that he would never desert his Master, even if death threatened him. Peter was too sure of himself and, in his youthful certainty, had forgotten or perhaps not experienced the weakness of his own heart and will.
Believers have sometimes questioned me about the differences between what Peter did and what Judas Iscariot did, emphasising their similarities. However, there is a great difference in the eyes of God between an action, or in Peter's case, a non-action, done in the spur of the moment and a cold, considered, long-planned action like the betrayal from Judas Iscariot. Of course, Jesus was going to die, but that does not mean that those responsible for His death-and those who chose freely to be involved, such as Judas, Pilate and the Jewish religious leaders and the crowd who bayed for His blood-would not be justly punished by God. Pharaoh decided not to let the people of Israel leave the land of Egypt and all the Egyptians were punished for the decisions of their leader, even though it was in God's plan to rescue Israel from the land of slavery all along.
Peter loved Jesus, and even though his love failed at the crucial time for Jesus, it rose again. You may remember John 21 and the thrice-requested ''Do you love me?'' from Jesus and Peter's answer. There are many others who truthfully could not answer Jesus' question with the words Peter uttered, ''You know I love you.'' Can you?