“MOMmy, MOMmy, Jesus died on the ‘crossing’ and then he came back… and made bwreakfast for His FWRIENDS”!!!!!!!!!!!
With big, brown wide-eyed excitement, my then three-and-a- half-year old son, Jonathan, came running to the door of his Sunday School room bearing Easter Sunday artwork. As he thrust the paper into my hands, he caught his breath…gulped…and exclaimed again, “Jesus died on the ‘crossing,’ and then he came back…and made bwreakfast for His FWRIENDS!!!” Clearly, Jonathan didn’t want me to miss out on this, the coolest thing he had ever heard.
I looked at the simple picture, which showed Jesus sitting, cooking fish, and serving bread to a couple of his disciples. For the first time, I was struck with — what has now become for me — the greatest and most powerful aspect of the Easter experience — Jesus preparing food for “His Fwriends,” before they were even hungry.
Against the backdrop of unprecedented miracles, this making of breakfast for “His Fwriends” is sometimes treated as an afterthought in the telling of the death and resurrection of Jesus, but Jonathan didn’t see it that way, and …now … neither do I. Neither. Do. I.
Since that Easter Sunday, 22 years ago, I have spent much time thinking of Jesus on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and picturing him getting everything ready to reveal himself to Simon Peter, James, John, Nathaniel, Thomas (called Didymus) and two unnamed disciples.
Did He catch the fish he was already cooking before he asked the disciples to bring some from their net?
Did He gather the “wood” to start the fire? And, how did he start that fire anyway?
Did He “tell” the fire to “ignite” like he “told” the wind and sea to “quiet and be still”?
Did He get goosebumps as He envisioned how joyful these disciples would be to see that He was alive?
Did He chuckle as he decided to not only provide 153 fish in the disciples’ net, but to add a little humor and make sure that this catch represented one of each kind of fish found in the Sea of Galilee?
And what in the world must the disciples have been feeling and thinking, when they decided to go fishing that night and into the morning? What would it have truly been like to be out in that boat, questioning the past, unsure about the future, scared about the present and not be able to catch a single darn fish? And then, there’s this guy on the shore who sees their fishing struggle and says, “Hey, throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” So they do. Just, wow and wow!
I heard a sermon once in which the minister said that the disciples were being disobedient by going back to fishing. Well, I’m no Bible Scholar, (even though I DID break the curve on the Hebrews test in my General Epistles Class at Baylor) but I think these followers of Jesus were simply going back to the Sea of Galilee where their first memories of Jesus occurred, and where many significant milestones of His ministry were rooted. Perhaps they thought, “when all else fails – go fishing.”
And then there is Peter. You’ve just GOT to love Peter, because, well…we’ve all been like Peter in one way or another. He denied ever even knowing Jesus, and haven’t we, each of us, denied Jesus by not saying what He has called us to say, or by not doing what He has asked us to do, in His name?
As soon as John recognizes that the man on the shore directing their fishing efforts is Jesus he exclaims, “It is the Lord,” and oh boy, Peter jumps in the water and high-tails it to shore. The other disciples follow with the boat and the net full of fish. On shore they see a “fire of burning coals with fish on it, and some bread.”
So here we find Jesus once again, assuming the role of servant and caretaker. All the disciples had to do was accept his gift of breakfast.
Yes, Jesus then asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Ah, reminiscent of the three times Peter denied knowing Jesus. The irony was most likely not lost on Peter, that here was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, whom Peter had denied, and who was now anointing him to carry on His ministry. This tickles me to pieces because, all of us are flawed, cracked pots, and yet we get to share in God’s work, if we pay attention.
Which brings me back to “Bwreakfast for His “Fwriends.” In John 21:12 of the New Testament, Jesus simply says, “Come and have breakfast.” This just energizes me when I stop and think about it. For, I believe that THIS is central to, and the core of, following Jesus.
Yes, Jesus does, in essence, resurrect for us each day, but we want to see him roll the stone away, to do the unimaginable, to lift the crowd to its feet in a thunderous ovation. We want to sit in that grandstand yell, wave, give high-fives all around and say, “YYEEESS!!! I know Him.” The adrenaline flows with the thought, and sometimes we are indeed able to experience this level of excitement. (The life of my precious grandson is an example.) But, alas. We watch and wait… and unlike Jonathan 22 years ago, we miss the most powerful, the most awe-inspiring aspect of knowing Jesus. When each morning we wake up, and Jesus is watching us, and waiting for us to remember Him. He’s willing to offer help and to just “be there.” Yes, when we simply wake up, and He says, “Good morning. Cast ‘your net’ on the right side of ‘the boat,’ and “come and have breakfast.”
I am told that the area where Jesus is presumed to have served this breakfast is still quite pristine; someday, I hope to sit there myself.