There are definite times when the Lord chooses to reveal himself to His people. We find evidence of this throughout scripture, as in today’s gospel, which is a perfect example, referring to the time of the “fourth watch.” This watch is believed to have occurred between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. It is also known as the last watch of the night. Jesus appeared to His disciples during this period of time in a more mythical sense than others because He actually walked on the water. Before the disciples recognized Him, they actually thought He was a ghost. However, once they realized it was Jesus, Peter proceeded to get out of the boat and walk on the water toward his Lord as well.
Unbelievable events often happen during the fourth watch, not just in Biblical times, but also in this age. God seems to draw close to His people at this time right before dawn. I am sure there are several reasons this time is significant for us and our spiritual journey. The fourth watch signals the end of night and the beginning of the day.
God asks us to spend this time in prayer; it is common to hear the advice to pray first in the morning. This is an ideal time to go to God and ask Him to bless the day ahead and to also take the opportunity to devote the day to God.
Praying first is the best activity for the start of any day, but Peter’s story in this gospel is an incredible example of the undeniable blessing Jesus can provide us when we go to Him at the darkest of all watches and offer Him our complete trust. The special quality this time of day holds can even have miraculous properties when we are open to the power of God. Of course, Peter did suffer doubt for a moment, but Jesus did not abandon him.
The fourth watch can be a time of great struggle, pain, possibility, and trust. This is when the fears and worries we hold for the day to come emerge, but then we allow the Lord to enter in to heal us and give us new hope. We may even feel that we can walk on water!