Did Peter Walk on Water?

Joseph Francis Alward
January 9, 1999

The Old Testament is believed to contain many statements about the attributes which the coming saviour son of God would possess.  Matthew, and others, who sincerely believed that Jesus was the saviour, therefore concluded that he must have fulfilled all of the scriptures' predictions about the saviour's biography.  This essay gives evidence that Matthew mistakenly took a story about a disciple of Buddha walking on water to be a story about Jesus and one of his disciples.

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Jesus Walked on Water

Mark, John, and Matthew all agree that Jesus walked on water, but only Matthew tells us that Peter tried to walk on water, too. Why did Mark and John choose not to tell us about this remarkable event?

And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship... And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.  Mark 6:44-51

And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went. John 6:10-21

And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away....and when the evening was come...the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 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. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. "
Matthew 14:17-34

It is surprising that Mark and John, who wrote about Jesus walking on water, didn't think Peter's remarkable saving by Jesus as Peter walked on water was important enough to put in their books. Was Matthew the only one among all of the bible-writers who knew about this event? Who else knew?