Monday, May 4, 2020

Breakfast with Jesus: John 21 Part #1

We do not get many stories about Jesus after He rose from the dead.  In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it is as if Jesus emerges from the tomb, has a few brief conversations, commissions the disciples, and then ascends into heaven. (Luke does write that Jesus hung out and taught for 40 days after He rose, but we have no record of those conversations.)  John’s Gospel is different.  From his prologue to the amount of time he spends writing about the passion week, John gives us something different in his Gospel.  The same is true for the post-resurrection appearances.  He writes of four different times of Jesus' appearing after Easter morning.  These stories are whimsical.  They are full of conversations and details.   John was the last Gospel story to be written, with most scholars dating the writing of John somewhere between 68-90 AD.  John, most likely, was able to read the other three Gospels before writing his story.  This might give us a little insight to reason his account of Jesus.  Maybe being late to the party does have its advantages.

Turning our attention to the 21st chapter of John’s Gospel, we find that the story moved 60 miles north to the region of Galilee.  Why this move north?  Were the disciples tired of the hustle and bustle of Jerusalem?  Were the disciples sick of the traffic?   
When we remember that the area of Galilee was the home to more than one disciple is not that odd move as most of the disciples were from that area.  The other clue is that when we cross-reference the Gospels. We see that in Matthew, the Angels at the empty tomb tell the Marys to tell Peter and the boys that Jesus will meet see them in Galilee (Matt 28:5-7).  

Although there is a promise to see Jesus in Galilee, John’s Gospel gives the impression that maybe Peter forgot.  Once Peter gets home, he makes the statement that he is going fishing.  This might not seem that weird.  Peter was a fisherman, and fishermen like to fish.  Peter had just gone through the most stressful and confusing weeks ever, and maybe a little fishing would put things in perspective. Perhaps Peter had a craving for a little Israeli sushi and decided that fresh is best.  But this fishing venture was not just a quick trip to the old stomping grounds, John writes, that Peter and the fellas fished hard all night and caught nothing.  (it would seem that Peter was the worst fisherman…ever.  Every time we read about him fishing he never has any fish.) 

We might think that after everything that Peter saw in not only the last week but the previous three years of his life, we could argue that fishing would be the last thing to do.  However, this is not unlike us.  We regularly run back to what is comfortable.  We return to things, places, and even people not because they are uplifting but because they are comfortable.  We might have a reoccurring dream or fantasy just because it feels good.  Some of us even live life trapped in the past because it is safe.  We stay where we feel safe, and we do what is most comfortable.  The life of the past or imagination is not for us as God's children. Nor is this the life for Peter in our passage.

The Apostle Paul tells us that when we are called to be God's children, we are made into a new creation (1Cor. 5:17).  The old is gone, and the new is here, even if we do not know/see it.  When we forget this truth, do you know what happens?  When we act like Peter, and we forget, Jesus comes and meets us right where we are!  This is what Jesus does in the 21st chapter of John.  Jesus appears on the shore and asks if they have caught any fish (John 21:5).  

This moment catches the disciples off guard.  They did not know it was Jesus.  Maybe it was the fog of the early morning light, but they did not expect to see and hear from the Lord at this moment.  (The same is true for us.  In our lives, Jesus shows up often in places where we least expect it.)  Jesus then tells them to drop the nets on the right side of the boat.  The advice is not just successful; it is abundant!  The net fill full of fish, and this triggered a memory in John to make him realize that the only One that could have done something like this.  The only One that could give advice and fill the nets to capacity…is Jesus.  There is a massive truth here for us to notice.  No matter how proficient we are, no matter how hard we try, no matter how much effort we put into something, if God is not a part of it, we will never be successful!

While this is good stuff, this is not where we are going to land the plane.  There is something better awaiting us on the shore.

Arriving at the shore with the disciples, we find that Jesus already has breakfast on the grill.  Our Lord then tells Peter to go a get some of the fish that they just caught.  Why would Jesus need more fish?  What is He trying to show us?  Maybe in this little moment, Jesus is inviting Peter to bring the gifts that he was given to be a part of the meal. Perhaps this is a little reminder that Jesus provides all things but still wants us to be a part of His mission.  Maybe.  But what happens next is absolutely amazing.  Look at verse 12.  Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast."  Did you catch that?  The risen Lord, the One that could demand the worship of the disciples, the One that suffered, died and rose, the One that just blessed the unsuccessful fishermen with more fish than they could have dreamed asks them to come and eat breakfast.  Not only does He ask them to come and eat, but then in verse 13, we read that Jesus served them breakfast!  Only Jesus! 

Do you know that this same offer of “come and eat breakfast” is something that we still hear today?  Every morning as we wake up, Jesus still offers us the chance to come and eat with Him.   So, who are you having breakfast with today?  Facebook?  Instagram?  Twitter?  Alexa?  Jesus?  

Come and start your day eating from and with the Bread of Life.  If you cannot make it in the morning, don't worry it is served all day long.  It is ready, and He is waiting.    

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