Peter Walks on Water (18 June)

Between three and six o'clock in the morning Jesus came to the disciples, walking on the water. When they saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. "It's a ghost!" they said, and screamed with fear. Jesus spoke to them at once. "Courage!" he said. "It is I. Don't be afraid!" Then Peter spoke up. "Lord, if it is really you, order me to come out on the water to you." "Come!" answered Jesus. So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water. "Save me, Lord!" he cried. At once Jesus reached out and grabbed hold of him and said, "What little faith you have! Why did you doubt?" They both got into the boat, and the wind died down.
Matthew 14:25-32

Who was the only man in history to walk on water twice? We know that Jesus walked on it once, but it was Peter who got out of the boat and walked, sank, and then walked back to the boat with Jesus' help. Peter was such an impulsive character. In most of the stories we have about him, he is jumping ahead before he thinks. There is no question that he had an important lesson to learn here, and Jesus told him what it was. Peter needed to overcome his doubt, to have more faith.

And yet there is something in Jesus' actions here that can teach us another vital lesson. If I had been in Jesus' place here, I probably would have said something like, "OK, Peter, you can swim back to the boat and think about what you did wrong." Peter was not in any danger; we know that he could swim (John 21:7).

But Jesus did not do that. Matthew tells us that Jesus "at once" took hold of Peter's hand and lifted him out of the water. This was instant forgiveness. Peter would learn his lesson, but Jesus did not make him wait for his forgiveness.

How often we withhold our forgiveness, thinking that we are helping the other person to learn a lesson. It is really only our pride that prevents us from forgiving right away and without condition, as Jesus did. As our heavenly Father is ready to forgive, so too should we his children forgive quickly and unconditionally.

- 18 JUNE -

© 2012 United Bible Societies - Palestinian Bible Society, Bible Society in Israel, and Arab Israeli Bible Society. All rights reserved.