Guess Who Made Breakfast?

As we look at our scripture lesson today (John 21), we find seven disciples hanging out near the lake – on the shores of Galilee. Jesus has risen from the dead and he has appeared to them two times already. He is preparing them for what is to come next – his ascension and departure and Pentecost. He is planning to leave them in charge of everything. Preaching the good news of the Gospel, building the church, making disciples, and sharing the stories of Jesus.

But here they sit on the shore not knowing what to do next, so they go back to where they feel at home, by the water, and to what they know best, fishing, and to what is comforting to their restless souls. Peter especially is restless because of the memory in his soul of the sound of the crowing rooster the night he denied knowing Jesus three times as he stood in the courtyard by the fire.

Psalm 43:5 says, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Peter was especially downcast that day. It all still was fresh on his mind. He hadn’t talked with Jesus about any of it since seeing him after the resurrection. So, to take his mind off of things he said, “I’m going out to fish,” and all the other disciples joined him. Peter was the leader, and they all looked to him for direction. After fishing all night, they didn’t catch anything.

Early in the morning, Jesus was standing on the shore watching them. He called out to them, “Friends, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they answered. Three years earlier, the Lord Jesus had called Peter away from the fishing business to follow him and to be a fisher of people instead. In Matthew 4:19, “and he said to them, follow me and I will make you fishers of men. Immediately, they left their nets and followed him.”

For three years, Peter had been a faithful follower of Christ. He was there with Jesus through all the highs and lows.

John 6 – Peter declares that he would not desert Jesus.

John 13 – Peter doesn’t want Jesus to wash his feet because he feels unworthy, and Peter declares he would lay down his life for Jesus.

John 18 – Peter defends Jesus with a sword when Jesus is arrested.

John 18 – Peter denies knowing Jesus three times.

John 20 – Peter discovers the empty tomb.

Suddenly, Jesus calls to the disciples in the boat, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” “When they did, they were unable to haul the next in because of the large number of fish. The disciples began to remember this happening before – nets so full of fish that the nets began to break and the boats so full that they began to sink. Peter remembers what he said to Jesus that time, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” And Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”

The early morning fishing trip turns from a depressing trip to a joy filled party with Jesus waiting for them, for John realizes that it is Jesus on the shore. “It is the Lord,” John declares. Peter, impetuous, Peter jumps into the water so that he can get t Jesus. His love for Jesus made him jump from the boat. His excitement to see Jesus again made him jump into the water. The disciples never knew when Jesus was going to greet them. Peter could not contain his excitement.

Remember – Peter had done this before.

In Matthew 14, Jesus came to the disciples walking on the water. Peter said, “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water. Jesus said to Peter, ‘Come.’” Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water to Jesus, but when he saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” “Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’” Now Peter is going to Jesus, wanting to show him how much he loves him and believes in him. Peter was replacing his fear with faith.

Our ladies’ Bible study has been studying the series by John Ortberg, If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have to Get Out of the Boat. John Ortberg says, on page 83 in his book, “Most of us have an area that might be called our ‘spiritual comfort zone,’ which is the area where we feel most comfortable trusting God. When God calls us to go beyond our spiritual comfort zone, we begin to get nervous or uncomfortable. We would prefer not to go outside the zone until we feel better about it…there is only one way to increase our spiritual comfort zone…you will have to follow the path of God, which requires taking a leap of faith.”

Peter loved his Lord. He wanted to always be with him, and today seeing him on the shore was no exception.

Jesus said to all the disciples, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught and come and have breakfast.” What a treat to have someone cook you breakfast. I love it when my husband makes breakfast in the morning – pancakes, eggs, bacon. Usually, he doesn’t make fish for breakfast, but Jesus knowing fisherman are hungry after a night of fishing serves them fish and bread.

Jesus, who told them once, “I am the Living Bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” Jesus, the bread of life. “He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)

Jesus is again teaching them they  must be servants and tell others about him. They all needed to learn how to be water-walkers for Jesus, stepping outside their comfort zones. Life will no longer be the same. They are on the other side of the resurrection, and they will soon begin their work – fishing for people, not fish.

Life will never be the same of all of us since the pandemic. We are changed forever. Our world is changed forever. As we again come out of our locked homes, like the disciples started leaving their locked room, we must learn how to adjust to the changes.

Jesus was also there that morning, not just to be the breakfast host, but to talk with Peter. He knew Peter’s heart, and he knew Peter wanted to follow him, but he had to hear Peter say it. Peter needed to face Jesus after his three denials of knowing Jesus at the burning coals the night of Jesus’ arrest.

Here again, as at the burning coals, Jesus asks Peter three questions.

“Simon, son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

“Simon, son of John, do you truly love me?” “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

The third time, Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

Jesus was telling Jesus that he needed to be a shepherd to the new young believers. He needed to take care of them and keep them from danger, to protect them, and he needed to fee them and disciple them as they grew in their faith. It wasn’t going to be east, and he told Peter that he would have to die for Jesus. There would be a cost of discipleship for him and all the disciples. Jesus is asking Peter, “Will you put me first?”

Jesus then gave a command to Peter, “Follow me!” as he had three years prior, but now Peter’s heart was growing in strength and commitment to the Lord. As this quiet breakfast on the shore, Peter’s three denials are now replaced with three affirmations. The amazing grace of Jesus. This is more than forgiveness – this is healing, redemption and restoration.

Just like Peter, sometimes we fail God or others, and we need forgiveness, healing, redemption and restoration. Jesus is reaching out to us today, to restore our relationship to him and to restore another broken relationship we may have. The Lord is there for us as well to give us a second change and a fresh start. He is ready to forgive when you come to him, and he wants you to forgive yourself as well, to move forward in faith.

Your past is erased in God’s eyes. Last week we talked about making a U-turn on the Emmaus Road and running to God for new beginnings. When you turn toward Jesus and ask for forgiveness, Jesus stands ready to forgive and restore, just like he did for Peter.

God has mercy on us and will fully restore us and call us to follow him. Jesus asks us today, “Do you love me?” What is your answer?

Life is fragile, life is short. Life is a gift from God. Do you know Jesus? Do you have a relationship with Jesus? If you want to begin a deeper relationship with God or you want to heal a broken relationship with God, pray this prayer today with me:

O God, I come to you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus died on the cross to save me and resurrected on the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Savior and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart. I am a child of God. I want to follow you. Thank you for saving me. Amen.

Jesus invites us to his Communion Table today to know we are forgiven. He is the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation.

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