By: Staci Stallings
I love VBS Week. It always teaches me about God in ways I take for granted. I get to do the plays with the teens. I write the plays and then direct them. Every year, the questions of the teens bring what I’ve learned and how far I’ve come into stark focus. This year was no different.
On one of the days, we did Jesus ascending into Heaven (yeah, all those Bible stories sound SOOOOO easy… until you have to figure out how to stage them!). Because the story is relatively short, and we have to fill about 20 minutes, I started the play with the Apostles who had gathered on the mountaintop having a conversation about Jesus and the things He had taught them before and after His death and resurrection.
One of the things they talked about was Jesus appearing to them after they had been out fishing all night. The line in question was “I should have known it was Him. Who other than Jesus would tell us to put out to the deep water in the middle of the night? I mean, I don’t mind danger, but that’s crazy!”
The first girl who was reading this line (because our Peter hadn’t yet shown up) kept stumbling on it. That “to put out into the deep water” part was like a tongue-twister to her. Finally, in frustration, she said, “What does that even mean?! To put out into deep water? That doesn’t even make sense!”
Oh, but it does.
You see, Peter was a fisherman. Fishermen were some of the most danger-seeking people on the planet. When you got into one of those boats, you didn’t have an engine. You were at the mercy of the wind and the waves. So the fishermen learned how far out from shore they could go. They knew the stories of others who had pushed the boundaries of smart and floated away to their doom. To put out into the deep water meant not only rowing to a dangerous spot, it also meant the possibility that you would never come back!
Not only that, but when Jesus showed up, it was the darkest part of the night. To put out into the deep water during the day was crazy. To do it at night was nearly sealing your fate forever.
So why did they do it? And why did Jesus ask them to do it?
Because Jesus knew what they couldn’t. He knew that the most fish were out in the deep. Think about it. All the shallow, close to the shore fish were already caught. The bigger catch was out in the deep.
But the metaphor for what Jesus asks us to do is intrinsically woven into this story. As Christians, we are called into the deep water–into places where souls need His message. We are called out of the comfort of our safety zones. We are asked to trust Him even when that seems crazy.
In fact, in the play when Jesus shows up, He tells the Disciples that He is going away but that He is making Peter a fisher of men. Peter says, “Ah, putting us out into the deep water again, eh, Jesus.”
If you are a Christian (and not just in name only), get ready to be put out into the deep. Sooner or later, He will call you there as well. Trust me on that one!
A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS