Author: Dan Dewitt
Author Website: https://www.cedarville.edu/Academic-Schools-and-Departments/Biblical-and-Theological-Studies/Faculty-Staff/DeWitt-Dan.aspx
Illustrator: Catalina Echeverri
Publisher: The Good Book for Children
Word Count: 804
This story is perfect for ages: 2-4, 4-6, 6+
Straight from Aunty LuLav
Many of us, identify with the failings of Peter, boisterous and headstrong, speaking before thinking, – a bull in the china shop. Yet, in the face of our sin, we become timid to allow the love and forgiveness of Jesus to wash over us.
Are we worthy of forgiveness?
Does Jesus still love us?
We are afraid of the answer.
The Friend Who Forgives provides us wonderful assurance through the life of Peter. Within it’s pages, we discover the power of Jesus’ love, the power of repentance, and the power of FORGIVENESS for all who trust in Him.
The Friend Who Forgives follows Peter’s life from the time when Jesus calls him, through many miracles, through Peter’s terrible denial of Jesus in Jerusalem, on to the happy restoration at the Post-Resurrection Fish Breakfast on the shores of the Galilee!
What a story line – What a plot and
IT’S ALL TRUE!
Scriptural Underpinnings & Positive Themes
This book is RICH in scenes from Jesus’ life, miracles, and death & resurrection here on earth, giving plenty of room for happy discussions with your child.
Dewitt maps out concrete examples of the love and divinity of Jesus, linking them to Peter’s understanding, love and loyalty. Peter recalls:
The water into wine at the wedding at Cana – John 2:1-12,
the healing of Peter’s Mother-in-Law Matthew 8, Luke 4, Mark 1,
Peter walking on water then sinking into the sea Matthew 14, Mark 6, John 6, and
Jairus’ Daughter’s resurrection from the dead Mark 5, Luke 8.
A poignant moment – Peter realizes,
“that Jesus was more than a friend – he was God!” pg 8
Matthew 16, Mark 8, Luke 9
The Resurrection of Jesus is touched upon. We see the Empty Tomb and the effect on Peter’s heart:
“But Peter didn’t stay sad, because Jesus didn’t stay dead.” pg 23
Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20
But Peter’s need was forgiveness and restoration. That is how we end up on the shores of the Sea of Galilee eating Fish Breakfast with Jesus. We see Jesus embracing Peter, surrounded by the other Disciples. Dewitt gives us a lovely taste of forgiveness.
“And since Peter had said he didn’t know Jesus three times,
Jesus gave Peter the chance to say three times,
‘I love you, Jesus’” pg 27
Forgiveness brings freedom! Jesus forgave Peter setting him free to become,
“a forgiven fisher of men!” pg 28
Matthew 4, Mark 1, Luke 5
The Fruit & Transformation of Forgiveness – After the Fish Breakfast with Jesus,
we see Peter at Pentecost – Acts 2,
we see him healing the cripple at the Beautiful Gate – Acts 3,
and we even see Peter in chains preaching the Good News of the Kingdom to the Pharisees.
Even in chains, when Jesus forgives us, we are free indeed. Hallelujah! Ephesians 6:20, John 8:34-36.
The JOY of Fishing – This is the thread of identity and transformation weaving its way throughout the story. The book opens with Peter’s love for fishing, illustrating him proudly displaying his fishing trophies. This was his identity before Jesus!
By the end of the book, after the miracles, the denial, and the restoration at the Post-Resurrection Fish Breakfast – John 21, we see Peter in his new identity, prophesied by Jesus, as a Fisher of Men! Hallelujah!
You can be forgiven too – On the very last page, we are lovingly reassured by the author, that if we trust in Jesus, just like Peter, Jesus will forgive us, again and again. pg 31
I cannot sing enough praise for Catalina Echeverri’s illustrations! She is an equal partner in telling the story in the illustrations. She not only brings humor, she provides insight into the meaning of each scene.
The illustration of Peter and his fish trophies is so funny! Right from the start, we see Peter’s pride in his fishing ability! pg 3
We also see Peter’s weakness in ALWAYS speaking before thinking, in the illustration with feisty dialogue bubbles. His mother is holding her head, as little Peter speaks his mind. This says it all! pg 2
Echeverri unbelievably illustrates 4 miracles on 2 pages! I love Peter’s mother-in-law serving dates after she is healed from fever! pg 7
The Raising of Jairus’ daughter is precious; the surprised expression of Peter is priceless! pg 8
The Rooster is illustrated as following Peter, in the moments of the denials, and on the page where Peter weeps alone in the darkness, the friendly rooster is there to console. pp 11-20
I have one pause in the Friend Who Forgives. It concerns the depictions of the Disciples of Jesus.
They are illustrated with varying skin tones and facial hairstyles that would NOT have been consistent with Jewish men living in Israel and from the Galilee at that time.
This may seem like a Picky Pause, but I am sensitive as a Believer in Jesus, that we never compromise the Jewishness of Jesus and the Jewish root of our faith.
I believe that even in Children’s Book illustrations, we need to preserve that understanding and honor the scriptures:
Romans 11 – Gentiles Grafted in as One & Ephesians 2 One New Man Together.
Each Children’s Book, published by The Good Book for Children, includes a brief explanation of the scriptures addressed in each story. So helpful for the one reading or teaching from the Book!
The End of the Matter5/5 waves
Yes INDEEDY! This is an Aunty Lulav Favorite!
I gladly wave and wave my Lulav for
The Friend Who Forgives – so I can also be
a Fisher of Men!