The Deep: A Devotional of City Light Community Ministries

“When [Jesus] had finished speaking he said to Simon,
‘Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.'” (Luke 5: 1-11, The Jerusalem Bible)

Alexander Schimmeck

This is our story, this our song:

The apostle Peter, fisherman,
both knowing and knowing not Jesus,
Peter often finding himself in a
precarious boat on the crest
of the Deep, a torrent of wind and waves,
Satan toying with his soul always
in danger of sinking out of sight
and salvation, Jesus sleeping
in the stern of the tiny boat
or walking on the waves, their swells
no more to him than the pull
of the moon on gentle tides

Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, 1633, Rembrandt van Rijn

and Peter asking, “Lord, if it is you,
tell me to come to you across the water”
and stepping from the boat,
eyes for the moment on his savior,
the waves solid ground until
Peter looks to the watery demons
locking claws around his ankles,
pulling him down, and cries,
“Lord! Save me!” and Jesus
puts out his hand at once and holds him,

St Peter Invited to Walk on the Water, 1766, Francois Boucher

knowing how like a child Peter is,
all of his impulsive declarations,
rash actions, leading up to the night
of Jesus’s betrayal in the Garden
of abandonment, his surrender
to trial and sacrifice this night
of Peter’s know-not-what-you-do-or-why
denial of Jesus as Lord, Peter swearing
three times he is no follower of this teacher
he loves, having led Peter all this way
on the road to death, burial, and resurrection,
to the thin light of dawn, a rooster’s proclamation–
No Pétros! No Rock!–rather the sinking human
unknowing, Peter’s words betraying his heart,

St Peter’s Denial, 1660, Rembrandt van Rijn

Satan’s goading the impulsive apostle
to rush into the outer darkness
and weep what he cannot yet know
as the tears of confession and
almost despair, but then
remembering Jesus reaching down,
taking Peter’s hand, and lifting him
up from the pull of the Deep.

Charlie Firth

Additional Sources:
Matthew 14: 22-33, The Jerusalem Bible.
John 18: 12-27, The Jerusalem Bible.