17 Then the maidservant, female door-keeper, said to Peter: “Are you not also one of the disciples of this Man?” He said: “I am not”.
18 Now the slaves and the temple attendants stood around a coal fire they had made, because it was cold, and they were warming themselves. Peter was also with them, and stood warming himself.
There are various translations of ‘maidservant’, including;
‘woman’, ‘servant girl’, ‘damsel’, slave girl’, maiden gatekeeper’.
The word actually means ‘a door keeper’ or ‘a porter’, which was someone who had the responsibility of opening and closing the door to the courtyard of the high priest. Therefore, she had the responsibility of saying who could come in.
When I was a porter on a country town railway station I had the keys to the door and gate of the station. On the morning shift it was my responsibility to unlock them both to allow people to come onto the station and to leave. On the afternoon shift, late at night, it was my responsibility to lock the door and gate, allowing no one to have access to the station.
As we have seen John spoke to the female porter about allowing Peter to come into the courtyard, which she did.
Jesus described Himself as the door for the sheep:
7 Then again Jesus said: “In all sincerity I tell you that I am the door of the sheep.“
8 All those who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
9 I am the door; If anyone should enter through Me he will be saved, and he will go in and go out and he will find pasture” – John 10.7-9.
Jesus had also conferred on Peter the job of the door-keeper with these words:
“I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you lock on earth will be locked in heaven, and whatever you open on earth will be opened in heaven” – Matthew 16.19 (NLT).
Jesus has also given the job of door-keeper to the leaders of the churches. It is their responsibility to make sure that wolves do not get into the church and so ravage the flock.
It is the leaders of the churches to whom Jesus has given the responsibility of being ‘porters’ as they are charged with guarding the safety and integrity of the flock of God in their charge.