Breakfast with Jesus
The earliest memories of my childhood include fishing. I wasn't particularly good at it, but I remember what it felt like to catch something on the other end of the line. It was an exhilarating feeling -- even if it was just a can or a rock.
John 21:1-14 tells a different fishing story: the story of Jesus' third appearance to the disciples after His resurrection. While waiting for Jesus at Galilee, Peter decided to go fishing, and the other disciples joined him, but they didn't catch anything. The next morning Jesus appeared on the shore and told them to cast their nets on the other side of their boat. They ended up with a huge amount of fish -- and an intimate breakfast with the risen Lord.
Even though the last two verses of John 20 sound like a perfect ending for his book, John wrote another chapter. Why? I believe he wanted his readers to know how to relate to a resurrected and returning Lord. At the end of chapter twenty, the disciples believed in the resurrection, but they were unclear about their responsibility: Okay, He's risen. Now what?
How do we relate to our Savior who is alive and coming back? How do we live while we're waiting for Him to return? I think the answers are found in this short section of John.
The first thing we ought to do as the church is gather frequently, just as the disciples did. The word church has become such a religious word, but it originally was a secular term meaning a group of citizens called out of their city or society to assemble together regularly. A biblical definition of the church is a holy assembly set apart to meet regularly and worship Christ. As we wait for the Lord to return, we need to be with God's people, "[stirring] up love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24).
The second thing we need to do is be active. The disciples were waiting for Jesus to come to Galilee (see Matthew 28:7), but while they were waiting, they went fishing. I suggest that until the Lord returns, we stay busy. Jesus recommended the same thing (see Luke 19:11-27; Matthew 25:14-30). We should invest our time and talents in doing the Lord's work. Live your life, work hard, and make decisions trusting that He will direct you as you're moving. Don't couch your excuses in spiritual terminology: "I'm just waiting on the Lord." Wait actively on Him.
Here's the third thing to do: be obedient. When Jesus asked the disciples, "What have you caught?" He was only asking so they would admit their failure and recognize their need. Failure causes us to think about our motives and be open to something new, like casting our net on the other side of the boat. Be more than competent and diligent in your Christian life; listen carefully and be obedient: Is this what the Lord is telling me to do at this time? I want to follow His lead.
Finally, be intimate with our resurrected Lord. If you talked to the disciples that morning, they probably would have said, "The highlight of the day was eating breakfast with Jesus; it reminded us of the sweet intimacy of that Last Supper." I love that Jesus loved to eat. Eating was an intimate form of fellowship in ancient times. In Revelation, Jesus said, "If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me" (3:20).
I'm so thankful that John included this story so we can know how to relate to our resurrected and returning Lord. Remember what Jesus said: "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming" (Matthew 25:13). May we live intentionally while we wait for His return.
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