The Dogmatic Sarcophagus: Detail, Jesus, Peter, and the rooster

First half of the 4th century
Stone sarcophagus
Museo Pio Cristiano, The Vatican, Rome

Jesus on the right is portrayed as a beardless young man. Peter has the usual short, square beard and carries a staff like the one he has in the scenes on the right with his arrest and water miracle. The rooster at his feet has been taken to signal that Jesus is predicting his denial (Matthew 26:34, Mark 14:30, Luke 22:34). However, see the St. Peter page for Sgarlata's suggestion that this is the scene from John 21 where Peter is told to "feed my sheep." On this sarcophagus, the rooster scene is followed directly to the right by Peter's arrest, predicted by John 21:18, "another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldst not," and then by the water miracle, which is an instance par excellence of feeding Christ's sheep.

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Photographed at the Museo Pio Cristiano by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.