In my latest Bible illustration, I draw Jesus the Lord our peace, In Him We Trust, who was walking on water. The art depicts a scene that was specifically only in he book of Matthew, where Peter walked on water too, towards Jesus.
The New Testament Bible story of Jesus walking on water is one of the most widely told narratives and key miracles of Jesus. The episode occurs shortly after another miracle, the feeding of the 5,000. This event convinced the 12 disciples that Jesus is indeed the living Son of God. The story, therefore, is extremely significant to Christians and the basis for several important life lessons that govern how believers practice their faith.
The story occurs in Matthew 14:22-33 and is also told in Mark 6:45-52 and John 6:16-21. In Mark and John, however, the reference to the Apostle Peter walking on water is not included.
Bible Story Summary
After feeding the 5,000, Jesus sent his disciples on ahead of him in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. Several hours later in the night, the disciples encountered a storm that frightened them. Then they witnessed Jesus walking toward them across the surface of the water, and their fear turned to terror because they believed they were seeing a ghost. As recounted in Matthew verse 27, Jesus told them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Peter replied, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water,” and Jesus invited Peter to do exactly that. Peter jumped out of the boat and began walking on the water toward Jesus, but the moment he took his eyes off of Jesus, Peter saw nothing but the wind and waves, and he started to sink.
Peter cried out to the Lord, and Jesus immediately reached out his hand to catch him. As Jesus and Peter climbed into the boat together, the storm ceased. After witnessing this miracle, the disciples worshipped Jesus, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Lessons From the Story
For Christians, this story presents lessons for life that go beyond what meets the eye:
- Making room for God: Jesus sent the disciples away so that he could go alone to the mountainside and pray. Even with his busy schedule, Jesus made spending time with God a top priority. The story reminds Christians of the importance of setting aside room for God.
- Recognising the Lord: Even though the disciples had been with Jesus for a long time, they didn’t recognise him as he approached in the storm. The story reminds Christians that they may not recognise the Lord when he comes to them in the middle of their own personal storms.
- Keeping focused on Jesus: Peter did not begin to sink until he started looking around at the wind and the waves. For Christians, the lesson is that when they take their eyes off of Jesus and focus on their difficult circumstances, they begin to sink under the weight of their problems. If we cry out to Jesus in faith, he will catch us by the hand and raise us above seemingly impossible surroundings.
- Restoring faith after a lapse: When he left the boat, Peter started out with good intentions, but his faith faltered. Nevertheless, Peter’s leap of faith did not end in failure. Even in his fear, he cried out to the Lord, knowing that Jesus was the only one who could help him. Peter’s experience reminds Christians that a lapse of faith is merely a lapse and that the Lord is still there for believers when they call for him.
- Weathering the storm with Jesus: When Jesus climbed into the boat, the storm ceased. Believers can rest assured that when they have Jesus in their boat, he will calm the stormy waters of life.
In my final illustration in full color, I made emphasis on the waves, the storm that all the disciples were experiencing. And Peter’s eyes were fixated on Jesus – in whom He Trusts, for salvation, to be saved, as Peter lacking faith, was sinking into the water.
Read the full story below:
Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”