But Peter said vehemently, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you” (NRSV, Mark 14:31)
Simon Peter was among those who had known Our Lord the longest. It was through St John Baptist, whose follower he had been, that Peter first met Our Lord. Later he was called by him to be a disciple, and then was chosen to be one of the Twelve Apostles, a personal representative of Our Lord himself.
In those early days Peter displayed those qualities of weakness and strength which are typical of self-confident and optimistic characters. He was a man who was always sure of his own mind and had complete confidence in his own judgement. His pride gave him an exaggerated opinion of his own capabilities and made him averse to taking advice from other people. His natural enthusiasm produced in him that impulsiveness which was his most noticeable and endearing quality, so that in any moment of crisis or decision, you could always count on Peter to be the first to speak or the first to act.
Those features which make him the most interesting personality among the Apostles carried with them their own weaknesses. He used to plunge into action without looking ahead to see what it might involve, and as a result he would find when it was too late to turn back, that he had taken on more than he could cope with and all his strength was expended on the first impulse. An early example of how his impulsive pride led him to overreach himself was his abortive attempt to walk on the water to meet Our Lord on the Lake.