Each mealtime has a special feeling to it. Breakfast is refreshing because it has been a long time since dinner. In our day, many people skip it or eat a pop tart on the way to work. Almost never does someone fix breakfast for you. So, when we have a hearty breakfast, prepared by someone else and take time to enjoy it, it is rare. Now, imagine that it is Jesus cooking breakfast for you.
It was pretty exciting. Jesus yelled out to these fishermen asking them if they had caught anything. That’s what you always ask fishermen. They replied, no. He said, try throwing your net out on the right side of the boat. I imagined they grumbled and begrudgingly did so. Then they caught so many fish they couldn’t pull in the net.
Finally, they realized the stranger on the shore was no stranger. It was Jesus. Peter was so excited that he dove in the water and swam ashore.
Jesus cooked some of the fish they had caught on the campfire. Their time together had to remind them of the many times they had eaten together as they traveled with Jesus for over three years. The band was back together, laughing, telling stories, listening to Jesus.
But the most important thing that happened was after breakfast. The rest of the guys had probably gone back to fishing. Jesus and Peter took a walk down the shore. Peter still loathed himself for denying Jesus in his hour of need. The stress of the moment had shown him that he was weak, cowardly, impulsive, and a hypocrite. Now he was face-to-face with the one he vehemently denied a short time earlier.
Jesus turned to Peter in one of those dramatic moments in which everything else in the world seems to stop and asked him, “Peter, do you love me?” Peter gave his lame response. Then Jesus said, “Peter do you love me?” Another lame response. Then a third time, “Peter, are you even my friend?” Then, Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
Three things happened in the conversation. One, there was no more wondering about the relationship. Jesus got it out in the open. Two, Jesus gave Peter a new job and indeed Peter became the first leader of the church and was the go to guy in its early days. Three, Jesus forgave Peter and Peter finally accepted his forgiveness and stopped wallowing in guilt. Only then could he fulfill his role that Jesus had for him.
This is a universally human story. He forgives us. Now, we need to do that which he has put in our heart.
Originally posted April 24, 2011.