Jesus Makes Another Appearance

When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”

Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.  (John 21:9-14)

Remembering that His disciples are but mere men–weary and exhausted from their night of fishing–our Lord mercifully and compassionately provides a meal for them by the seashore. And by doing so, Jesus is showing His toiling disciples that He cares for their bodies as well as their souls. How comforting! Wet and cold, weary and hungry, the Lord supplies a fire to warm and dry them and food to feed and fill them. Jesus is the supplier of all our needs! In Him is the sufficiency for life, both present and eternal. The Psalmist proclaims:

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you. (Psalm 84:11-12)

Nothing smells better when one arises in the morning than the smell of breakfast wafting through the air–coffee brewing, bacon frying, biscuits rising. Surely the disciples were wide eyed and appreciative over this labor of love. King David’s words of Psalm 103 come to mind:

Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits–who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s … As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
(Psalms 103: 1-5, 13-14)

“Love, like warmth, should beam forth on every side, and bend to every necessity of our brethren.” (Martin Luther)

Christ tells His friends to bring to the shore the fish they have just caught. He wants them to eat of the labor of their hands. Whatever we have gained through God’s blessing upon our industry and honest labor has a particular sweetness to it and Christ here desires for them to taste the spoils of their miraculous catch. I believe the Lord also wanted to show His disciples that the secret to a successful life will be for them to work according to His command and to act with implicit obedience to His word. It was as if Jesus told them to look into the net to see for themselves how profitable it was for them to do what He said.

“God’s blessings at times came to us through our labors and at times without our labors, but never because of our labors.” (Martin Luther, emphasis added)

Finally, our Lord beckons His guys to join Him in dining. Treating them as friends, He bids them welcome to His table. None inquire about who he is, they fully understand. There seems to be no doubt, only awe.

“To sit, and eat, and drink, in the company with one who had risen from the dead, and appeared and disappeared after a supernatural manner, was no light thing. Who can wonder that they felt awed?” (John Charles Ryle)

Our Lord serves as the Master of the feast offering bread and fish. He shows Himself alive and having a true body by eating and drinking with His disciples:

“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen–by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” (Acts 10:39-41)

Take It to Heart

“God is continually drawing us to Himself in everything we experience.” (Gerard Hughes)

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