I love breakfast. Every night I lay my head on my pillow with excited anticipation of waking up early to a quiet, dark house, smelling the coffee brewing and enjoying of a perfectly toasted English muffin with peanut butter and jam. When our family goes camping in the summers, breakfast is even better. Bacon fried on a camping stove, and then eggs scrambled in the bacon grease. Mmmmm. Hot chocolate heated over the fire. Occasionally s’mores as breakfast-dessert. The smell of campfire and coffee mixed with fresh morning air. It’s so good. I love breakfast.
And maybe that’s why my heart is so gripped every time I read about Jesus in John 21. This morning before anyone was awake in my house I sat down with my Bible and my coffee to read my favorite post-resurrection account of Jesus. We don’t get very many insights into Jesus’ time with his disciples between his resurrection and his ascension into Heaven forty days later, but we do get a few. And this one is my favorite. If you’re not familiar with John 21 (or even if you are) I encourage you to read it. Revel in it. Maybe have breakfast with it today or tomorrow.
The scene is the Sea of Galilee. Several of Jesus’ disciples have been fishing all night to no avail. As night turns to morning, ‘just as day was breaking,’ a man calls from the shore “Have you caught any fish?” The disciples, not knowing because of the darkness of dawn and the distance from shore whom it was who called, answer no. The man calls back to throw their net to the right side…there’re fish over there.
I just love this…Jesus is casually engaging in guy-talk, to the point that they still think the man on the shore is simply another fisherman who knows a hot spot. The disciples take the man’s advice. As their nets begin to heave and are nearly busting, they get it....that’s not just another guy on the beach. That's Jesus...the risen Jesus who just conquered the grave. Peter dives right in and swims to shore. The others take the boat and haul in the fish (and then count them, as every good fisherman does).
And there is Jesus. On the beach, this shore where they’ve shared so many moments. This place where he first called several of them. He’s already built a fire, gathered fresh bread, and has fish cooking on the fire. He’s been here preparing breakfast for them and they didn’t even know it. The aroma of campfire and lake and dawn and roasting fish fills the air and draws in the weary fishermen.
And then the invitation: “Come and have breakfast” (verse 12).
Come and have breakfast. Oh, how I love this invitation of Jesus:
You, who’ve been up all night, come and have breakfast.
You, who’ve been working hard, come and have breakfast.
You, who are worried about what today holds and confused about the things that happened yesterday, come and have breakfast.
You, who are weary and heavy burdened, come and have breakfast.
You, who maybe just wants to crawl back into bed, come and have breakfast.
You, who denied me with your words and actions but whom I have forgiven, come and have breakfast.
This is our Jesus. Savior of the World, Risen Lord, Creator of the Universe, King above all Kings….sitting on the beach, feet in the sand, building a fire and cooking fish to eat with his tired friends as day is breaking.
This is intimacy and friendship at its best. This is breath-taking. Yet I sometimes feel like this is a truth about Jesus we often miss. It seems that often we tend to fall into one of two trains of thought about Jesus: either that he is an impersonal, religious, loving but un-relatable teacher and Lord, or that he is my happy-go-lucky BFF who writes in my yearbook, ‘You are so perfect just the way you are!!! Never change!!!!’
However, as this scene shows us (as well as the whole Bible), he is so much grander.
As this breakfast scene goes on, Jesus shows us that not only is he the perfectly loving friend and Savior who cooks breakfast on the beach, but also that he is a perfectly holy Lord who takes our sin very seriously…seriously enough to die for it. Just a few days prior, in Jesus’ darkest hour, one of his best friends denied ever knowing him. Three times. Culturally we like to think that Jesus negates our sin, ignores it, or just brushes it under the rug. He doesn’t. So, after they eat the last of their roasted fish, Jesus gently pulls Peter aside and asks him three times (one for each denial) if Peter loves Him. Verse 17 tells us that by the third time, Peter was grieved at the question. It hurt. Confession hurts. Talking about our sin hurts. But restoration heals and sets us free…and that is always Jesus’ aim for us.
So here we have our Jesus. Building campfires on the beach, inviting his friends to sit in the sand with him and eat some freshly roasted fish, and tenderly yet authoritatively leading Peter through confession and restoration, right there on the beach. Peter didn’t have time to put on his ‘Sunday best’ or even take a shower. He was probably barefoot and he certainly hadn’t brushed his teeth. There was nothing ‘religious’ per se going on here. But there was relationship, companionship, intimacy, restoration and fellowship with Jesus that simply takes my breath away.
The Bible teaches us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
So, friends, this God who makes breakfast? He’s still our God. He is still the God of the invitation. He’s still inviting, “Come and have breakfast.” And although I know tomorrow morning when I wake up there won’t be a fire pit in my backyard with freshly roasted fish on it, there will be Jesus.
Like most mornings, he’ll gently rouse me from my dreams and invite me to have a cup of coffee with him and my Bible. Whether not I roll over and go back to sleep or get up and grab my robe will be my choice, (and I firmly believe there’s grace either way), but oh, the joy is in saying yes to the invitation.
We have a God who still beckons us and desires that we would heed his beckoning. We don’t have a far off God that suffered, died and conquered our sins so that he could simply watch us from heaven and be aloof. No. We have a God that suffered, died, and conquered our sins so that we could have fellowship with him. Real, living, personal, relational, breakfast-eating, campfire-building, honest, lets-skip-the-small-talk type fellowship. Forever.
What a Jesus.
Let’s have breakfast.