Peter entered the courtyard of the chief priest expecting to stay close to Jesus. . . sort of. He didn't want to be too close, right by Jesus' side, but give him some credit, he didn't stay away like the rest of disciples.
He took the middle ground, the place that appeared safe. Close enough to count, far enough away to be safe. He couldn't forsake Jesus all the way, but he couldn't follow him all the way either.
An interesting thing happened to Peter in the middle ground. It happens to everyone. He was forced out of it. "You were with Jesus." Even on the middle ground you need to identify yourself. Peter couldn't appear neutral and have the satisfaction of following Jesus. It doesn't work that way. It didn't for him and it won't for us.
I am amazed at how often this is tried still. Even though it has always been unsuccessful. A high school student join her parents in church without much of a fuss, but is a totally different person on Friday night. The end for her will be the same as the end for Peter. This strategy leads to denying Jesus.
In Revelation, Jesus tells the church to be either hot or cold, but don't choose the lukewarm middle ground. The irony is that the middle ground appears safe, but it is the most dangerous. So, choose to be either hot or cold, go all the way in with Jesus or stay away, but don't settle for the courtyard and think you'll be safe. You will get called out. . . and it won't be pretty.