One of the most miraculous moments in the Bible is when Jesus Christ walks on water to reach his struggling apostles. Multiple books in the New Testament record this event, including Matthew, Mark, and John. In Matthew, we also find a detailed account of Peter petitioning the Savior to join him. To the apostle’s astonishment, not the least of which Peter’s, he is able to take a few steps out into the storm before doubt takes over, and Christ rescues him.
Our artists and photographers have made this scene the subject of much of their work. Here are some of our favorite interpretations:
Jesus Walking on Water Paintings
Joseph Brickey painted this piece after Russian artist Julius von Kever’s work and style. The main difference between the two paintings is Joseph’s tendency towards light and color that he adds to the scene. Of this piece of artwork, Joseph said:
“In contrast to the sea and the ship and our own hearts, the Lord is untroubled, calm, and in control.”
We see this in the way the Savior carries himself in the painting as well as His steadying influence that we can feel in our lives.
Jorge Cocco’s “sacrocubism” style is the art of portraying sacred events with the abstract principles of cubism. Jorge prefers this style to get the heart of the scene. He doesn’t want the viewer distracted by the historical accuracy of the details or surroundings.
In this bestselling painting of Jesus walking on the water, Jorge depicts the apostles reaching out for aid. We might assume Peter is at the forefront, as he is the one that asks to come to Jesus. Christ beckons for him to come, while, at the same time, beckons our eyes toward the white pillars of light that guide our gaze toward Heaven.
Rose Datoc Dall breathes a lot of character and personality into the people she paints. This likely due to her extensive process. Rose will get live models to pose for her paintings. Then she’ll often sculpt maquettes based on the photo. Only then does she start painting based on her sculptings.
Rose says: “In this painting, the sea is a metaphor for vastness, tribulation, fear, and uncertainty, yet Christ is achieving the impossible, walking on water. The vantage point is low, almost as if the viewer, like Peter, is being engulfed by the water. Yet, Christ is the beacon in the dark, the source of calm and peace in all tribulation, through whom all things can be overcome and accomplished, even the seemingly impossible.”
“In this painting, the sea is a metaphor for vastness, tribulation, fear, and uncertainty, yet Christ is achieving the impossible, walking on water."
Kelsy and Jesse’s photographic illustrations never fail to catch the eye--and touch the heart. In this picture of Jesus walking on water, the focus is on Christ’s feet. We see his calm steps crossing the water despite the rain disrupting His path. It’s a gentle reminder that Christ can walk through even the insurmountable storms of our personal life to reach us. It’s up to us to decide if we want to remain in the crashing waves or if we reach back.
Robert Barrett takes a more traditional approach in his Christian art pieces--with one exception. It’s interesting to note that in this picture, Jesus isn’t crossing the water to approach the boat. He’s walking in the opposite direction. He is walking toward us as the viewer, arms outstretched.
The scene appears to take place after the storm has passed for the apostles. The Savior is beckoning, reminding us that He can help us find the same peace.
Jay Bryant Ward’s painting, believe it or not, was inspired not by a famous Russian landscape artist, but by someone just as influential if not more: his mother. He says this poem by Joanne W. Ward best describes his image of Jesus walking on water.
I’m called to walk where Jesus walked.
He beckons me to follow.
Straightway to leave my worldly nets,
Discipleship, most hallowed.
Oh, Savior, grasp my sinking hand.
I’ll then be not afraid.
My hand in Thine, with faith divine.
I’ll walk upon the water.
Rex Pierce’s painting of Jesus Christ is calming. There’s plenty of deep colors with the backdrop of the sunset, but the overall scene is one of peace.
Christ walks toward us as the viewer, almost as if we were Peter in the story, inviting us to trust Him. We may not get the chance to walk on water, but Christ’s ability to help us walk across our personal trials can be just as miraculous.
Pictures of peter walking on water
Jesse and Kelsey Lightweave are LDS artists with a unique gift for doing what their name suggests: weaving light. We love the dramatic contrast of the sun and sea in this piece. It illustrates the battle between faith and fear that Peter experienced while walking on the water toward Jesus.
And yet, despite the precarious angle of the waves and the boat, Christ remains a steady pillar of strength as he reaches toward Peter to save him. Lightweave’s piece of Christian art reminds us that He reaches toward us as well.
While this painting doesn’t necessarily show Peter walking on water, it illustrates one of the most dramatic parts of the beloved Bible story. It’s the part that we can all relate too: Peter feeling like he is drowning. He calls out to the Savior for help, and we see in Eva’s work that Christ’s hold is strong and sure. While He may not always take away the crashing waves, we can trust that He is near, ready to catch us.
Where Didst thou Doubt is another painting done in Robert’s classic style. At first glance, it may look like a simple depiction of Christ walking on water. A closer look reveals an intentional message. The clouds in the sky, as well as the boat’s bow, direct our eyes toward Jesus. From there, the angle of his arm guides our gaze to Peter.
It’s interesting that in this piece, Christ hasn’t saved him yet. There is still some distance between their reaching hands. Perhaps Robert is reminding us that sometimes patience is required before peace and healing come.
And it does come, as we see in Simon Dewey’s depiction of Jesus walking on water. Simon said about this piece:
“All of us have found or will find ourselves, at some point in our lives, declaring, ‘Lord, save me’. I think in one way or another, we can all relate to Peter’s predicament of needing to be rescued. No matter how we are sinking under life’s challenges and difficulties, and notwithstanding how far we have sunk, the Savior will reach out and help us if we will but ask. I wanted to convey the despair and, more importantly, the hope that Christ gives us all that He will be there for us.”
Our talented artists and photographers put a lot of emotion and personal convictions into their Christian art pieces. Each picture is faith-filled and created to inspire. For more LDS art pieces such as images of Jesus Christ, Bible story pictures, or scenes from the Book of Mormon, peruse our online store.