Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

 31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Jesus was not above admonishing his followers especially his closest followers his diciples.  We in this world will also often admonish those for whom we feel a responsibility for or a closeness to.

Yet in this case (as in countless others) note how and in what order Jesus delivers his admonishment.  Peter was stepping out into a new element.  Truly the only reason that Peter attempted what he did was he witnessed Jesus was walking on the water and wanted proof that Jesus was not just an apparition.  So as Jesus, who as God was perfect and capable of all things, beckoned Peter to join him; Peter started out in nearly as perfect faith.

But as is the same with all of us, our faith is not perfect and when the world interviened, in this case the significant wind and waves, Peter failed and started to sink.  Here is where the significance of Jesus’s Love and Mercy is shown to be so much greater than ours.  At the same time he gives us an example of just how and in what sequence mercy and admonishment should be given.

In our world, under the guise of allowing a person to learn a real lesson we will let them fully sink and then in our master act of mercy we will pull them sputtering from the depths and admonish them then to listen to us.  Or we will start to admonish them first, explaining what their problem is while they flail away in distress, then to show them mercy.

Jesus shows us a better way.  At the first sign that Peter was sinking, Jesus reached out His hand and saved Peter.  Only after Peter was firmly in His grasp and safe, he admonishly asks, why did you doubt (a rhetorical question to be sure).

In Jesus’s example, it is clear that safety and mercy are the most important things, then to be followed by the admonishment about faith.  Would that for all of us the safety of and mercy to the person we are trying to help be of utmost importance versus the judgement and harm that can come from letting them go completely through the trial when we could have intervened.

Lord give me the strength to look first to help