Jesus is rejected by both the crowd and Peter, I believe for similar reasons. Peter, like the crowd, expected Jesus to kick Roman butt. Peter himself picked up a sword to cut off the ear of one of the Temple soldiers, a Jew in cohoots with Rome. Peter, it seems, was expecting a warrior Messiah and that is not what he got. So, he denies three times that he even knew Jesus, not primarily because of fear but due to disappointment. As far as I can tell Peter wasn't afraid of anyone- even an armed soldier let alone a girl. The crowd asked for Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus. Barabbas, it seems, was someone who violently rebelled against Rome, which would have made him a hero to the Jewish crowd. Simply put, Jesus did not meet the expectations of Peter and the crowd, so they rejected him.
Sometimes, no often, Jesus does not meet my expectations. I'm wanting and assuming he is going to show his glory in a certain way, but he has other plans. He never consults me and often does not align with my will. When he disappoints me I am tempted to forsake him through my various forms of denial. However, I have learned that if I can wait out my disappointment, frequently for a very long time, Jesus will excede my expectations. Thank God he doesn't always meet but often excedes our narrow expectations. I know this sounds paradoxical, but in those moments when I have been most disappointed by my unmet expectations of God I have experienced his presence most profoundly.
So, today, I'm letting go of my expectations for a warrior kick-butt Messiah and grabbing hold of the helpless baby born to peasant parents in Podunkville. I have discovered this odd sort of God, thankfuly, goes well beyond my expectations if I let him.