John 21:11-13 – Breakfast by the Sea
“Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and eat breakfast.’ Yet none of the disciples dared to ask Him, ‘Who are you?’ – knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.”
Prior to the scene in the verses above, the disciples had gone fishing through the night, and had come up empty-handed (netted?). From the shore at sunrise, an as-of-yet unrecognized Jesus called out to them, gave them some direction, and they caught a lot of fish (153 to be exact!).
He was waiting on the shore, with a charcoal fire blazing, when they hauled in the catch. Jesus already had some fish and bread cooking, and added some of the disciples efforts to the grill as well.
There is a lot happening in this passage. My favorite is realizing that the risen Christ just wanted to hang out with his friends and have a cookout on the beach at sunrise. Doesn’t that sound great? The ultimate heavenly Host?
Also, He already had fish on the grill, but he wanted to involve the disciples, and their efforts, in this meal. We are a part of the plan. We could have been created to subsist on one boring thing (Soylent anyone?), it could have fallen from heaven, or we could have been designed not to eat at all I suppose. But we are brought in to a network that provides a tremendous variety of foods, bursting with flavors and textures for us to enjoy. He asks us to take part, and says, “Come and eat.”
Lastly, similar to walk on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24), it is through the meal that their eyes are opened and Jesus is recognized. As it was then, I believe it is today as well. When we gather with friends (virtually if need be), and share a meal, we see Jesus.
PS – It is speculated that the fish that was caught was Tilapia (aka St. Peter’s Fish), which is now available much more easily at your local grocer.
It is an honor that You would have us involved in your design for this world and the perfect world to come. It is humbling to think that You relish joining us at dinner parties and cookouts. May our eyes be opened in the breaking of bread and may we see You, the risen Christ, in those at our table.
We also realize that putting food on the table is challenging for some in our midst and around the world. We pray for parents struggling to make ends meet, those who suffer from food insecurity and those for whom a piece of fish is a luxury. And we, the church, commit to being the hands and feet of Jesus to our neighbors, inviting them to our tables to dine amongst friends.