Thursday, June 16, 2011

Relying on grace, like Peter

A thought occurred to me on Sunday.

I was considering Peter (one of my very favorite characters in the scriptures). In Matthew we read about his attempt to walk on the water:

And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. (Matthew 14:28-30)

I have always read this story as a failure of Peter’s faith (and the Lord in the next verse, after he saves Peter, makes that observation: “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”).

But here is my thought:

Peter did have faith. He had faith to climb out of that boat. He had faith to walk on the water. He had faith to follow the Savior (even when he didn’t understand, which was often).

But Peter also had weakness. He faltered on the water. Perhaps he was distracted. Perhaps he doubted. Perhaps he did not have enough faith to continue walking.

And when he faltered, he called out for the Lord to save him. And Jesus did save him. The Savior’s grace saved him.

When I falter, when I lack faith, when I am in a moment of my weakness, I hope I will have the faith of Peter and rely on the grace of the Lord to lift me out of my stormy sea.


  1. I have always admired Peter for his brashness and his faith. His walking on water was a HUGE success. How many people who have lived on this world have walked on water?

    It is more impressive to me that Peter walked on water than that the Savior did - Peter was fully mortal. Yeah, he couldn't maintain it, but faith is a difficult thing to maintain for a long stretch.

  2. I used to imagine the Savior's remark about Peter's faith to be a rebuke. But I came to the realization fairly recently that it could also be seen as words of comfort.