Breakfast with Jesus
Our family had several special meal traditions when our kids lived at home. One was Saturday morning breakfast with animal-shaped pancakes. Another was Friday night pizza and movie night. And of course, I can’t forget ice cream for breakfast on the last day of school!
Since our kids left home Diana and I still do Friday night pizza night, although we don’t stay up as late as we used to! But I have to say, my favorite meal is going out for breakfast on a Saturday morning. When we lived in Denver, there was a restaurant named Three Chics, run by three girlfriends, and it was only opened for breakfast. It was within walking distance from our home and it became one of our favorite spots for breakfast.
My favorite thing about having breakfast was not the food but having time with the one I love. There was also some anticipation involved, since Saturday breakfast was usually followed by some adventure together in the mountains!
The gospel of John (21:1-19) records an encounter between Jesus and some disciples following the resurrection. This is one of my favorite resurrection stories. Jesus met them on the shore of the Sea of Galilee with breakfast over a coal fire and with restored relationship.
The big idea for me is that Jesus always meets us where we are to invite us into fellowship and to extend an offer to “Follow Me.”
Jesus didn’t wait until they were in the synagogue on Saturday or worshiping in homes on Sunday. He came to them where they were. And notice who was there – Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, Zebedee’s sons (James and John) and two other disciples.
Consider the first three in the list: Peter, Thomas and Nathanael. The gospels show these men to be real, authentic people that say it as it is. They are not afraid to speak what is on their mind. For all three, Jesus had a personal interaction showing his acceptance and extending his call on their life.
Let’s take them in reverse order. First, remember the first time Jesus met Nathanael (John 1:45-49). Philip meets Jesus and then goes to find his friend from Cana to tell him that he met the messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. Nathanael was not very supportive of his enthusiasm. Nathanael said, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Jesus met Nathanael’s skepticism and bias right where he was and said, “Here is a genuine Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” During the conversation, Nathanael finally said, “Rabbi, you are God’s Son. You are the king of Israel.” (He was the first disciple to identify Jesus as the son of God.)
Next remember Thomas (John 20). Jesus appeared to the disciples on the night of the first Easter, but Thomas was not there. When Thomas arrived after Jesus left, he said he would not believe that Jesus was alive unless he could touch his wounds. The next week Jesus appeared to the disciples again. This time Thomas was there. Jesus offered him what he said he needed to believe. But Thomas without touching Jesus’ wounds believed and said, “My Lord and my God!” (He was the first disciple to identify Jesus as God following the resurrection.)
Now consider Simon Peter. He was the first disciple to respond to Jesus’s question about his real identity with, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16). Jesus met Nathanael and Thomas where they were as they struggled to believe. In this resurrection encounter, Jesus is going to do the same for Peter in the company of these who had already seen how patient Jesus could be with them. They had experienced what the love and mercy and forgiveness of God was like.
This brief encounter on the sea shore with Jesus must have brought back memories of three important times in Peter’s life with Jesus: his initial call to “Follow me,” the feeding of the crowd with bread and fish, and (the BIG one) the night he denied that he knew Jesus three times, most of it while standing around a coal fire keeping himself warm.
It is interesting that there are only two times in the New Testament that talk about a coal fire: John 21:9 (Jesus fire on the shore) and John 18:18 (the guard’s fire where Peter denied knowing Jesus). I don’t know about you but sounds and smells often trigger past memories for me. For Peter, the smell of the fire probably reminded him of that fateful night when he denied his Lord.
This whole encounter with Jesus got Peter’s attention. Peter had denied Jesus three times, so maybe that’s why Jesus gave him three times after this breakfast on the sea shore to express his love for Jesus.
It went something like this.
“Do you love me?” “You know I love you.” “Feed my lambs.”
“Do you love me?” “You know I love you.” “Take care of my sheep.”
“Do you love me?” “Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.” “Feed my sheep.”
Jesus meets Peter where he is. Offering him opportunity to express his love for Jesus and restoring his call on Peter’s life.
Some make a point to say something about the Greek words for love used here (agape vs. phileo). We don’t need to over complicate this simple exchange between Jesus and Peter where Jesus came to Peter where he was. Just like he did for Nathanael and Thomas.
Why was Peter’s love for Jesus so important to confirm? Jesus had called Peter the Rock. He was to be the leader of the early church. But he had denied his Lord and needed to feel restored into fellowship with Jesus and know that Jesus still had a mission for him.
Remember, the others were listening in on this conversation – especially Thomas and Nathanael. It was important for them to hear Peter restored with Jesus after he had publicly denied him. They also felt restored. They also had run away. They had denied Jesus privately. They too had abandoned Jesus.
So, what was the deal about taking care of the sheep and feeding the sheep? Jesus was restoring the call on Peter – the call to be a shepherd and an angler for people-sized fish!
Have you ever forsaken your first response to Jesus? Do you need Jesus to restore fellowship with you? To renew His call to “Follow me?”
Maybe you have never heard Jesus call. Do you need Jesus to show you his love and mercy?
Today Jesus will meet you where you are.
Today you can answer his call to Follow Me.
Today he is knocking at your heart’s door.
If you open your heart and life to him, he will come in and eat with you and you with him (Rev 3:20). I invite you to come have breakfast with Jesus and get ready for the adventure of your life!