Breakfast by the Sea
Vs 1-3 “After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We are going with you also.’ They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.”
When we go through awful, difficult, and stressful times, we have the tendency to pull back into the familiar. Doing what you know, what we’re used to doing. This helps us to get our minds off of the rough patch we are going through.
For me, when dealing with stress in my life, there is nothing I love better than gardening. Digging in the soil, pulling weeds, planting seeds, driving on my tractor, tilling, moving manure – I love all of it. If I could make a living at it, I’d do it in a minute. (I love praying to God while gardening. It’s a wonderful time of communion with the Lord for me.)
Other folks love exercise at the gym, or running, some love sewing or quilting, many love to sit and read a great book. We all deal with stress and difficulty in our lives in different ways.
That’s what the disciples are doing here. They are going fishing. It’s something they all know how to do, it’s familiar to them, and they have no idea what The Lord wants them to do with their lives going forward. They’ve not yet been given the Great Commission and the Holy Spirit in Acts 1 and 2.
Vs 4 “But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.”
Remember in the last chapter Mary didn’t recognize Jesus either (Jesus’ Resurrection and Doubting Thomas). In this case, if the disciples had recognized Jesus immediately, they would have rushed to shore right away and He wouldn’t have been able to perform this miracle. He does something similar in Luke 24 on the road to Emmaus.
Vs 5-6 “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Children, have you any food?’ They answered Him, ‘No.’ And He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.”
Vs 7-8 “Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish.”
Peter gets so excited! I love his heart for Christ! In his excitement and enthusiasm to see God, he jumps in the water to swim to shore and leaves the other guys to drag the fish to shore. This reminds me of story about Mary and Martha in Luke Ch. 10:38-42
“Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.’ ”
Peter and Mary both had hearts that longed to be with Jesus, I love that! Lord give me that kind of heart!
Vs 9-11 “Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken.”
From David Guzik:
“Why 153 fish? This number has been a field day for speculative interpretations of the Bible since the early church.
-153 is the sum of numbers 1 to 17. Some (like Augustine) say that it is a number representing the number of commandments (10) added to the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit.
-153 is the added numerical value of the Greek words “Peter” and “fish.”
-Some ancient writers (such as Jerome) held that there were 153 different types of fish in the world; this represents a “full harvest” of all of the world.
-Some (like Cyril of Alexandria) say that 100 stands for the Gentiles, 50 for Israel and 3 for the Trinity.
-The truth is that all we know for certain is that 153 stands for the number of fish that they caught! We must always be careful of manufacturing ‘hidden meanings’ in the Word of God.”
Miracles we see here:
Jesus knew the fish were down there, and he knew EXACTLY where they were (Cast the net on the right side of the boat)
Jesus had to strengthen the net such that it didn’t break under the severe weight of 153 large fish.
(As a side note, the Sea of Tiberias is also known as the Sea of Galilee, and the fish caught has long been thought to be the tilapia which in this area can grow to 9 or 10 pounds. So on the large size, this is could be well over 1,000 pounds of fish.)
Vs 12-13 “Jesus said to them, ‘Come and eat breakfast.’ Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, ‘Who are You?’—knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.”
I love reading about the many occasions Jesus shared a meal with His disciples. Have you noticed that these times are often associated with a miracle Jesus performs? Jesus feeding the 5,000, the Last Supper, and so on. God made us to love food, and to enjoy “communion” or communing with others when we eat! It can be such a blessed time of loving and sharing! Yet how often do we eat in silence, or eat in front of the television?
Vs 14 “This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.”
The other two occasions that Jesus revealed Himself were both back in Chapter 20 that we studied last week.
Vs 15-17 “So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’ He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep.’
Guzik: “Jesus allowed Peter a three-fold public affirmation of love to replace a three-fold denial, and gave him a three-fold challenge to feed my sheep”.
Feed my lambs – Lambs are the young of the flock. Feed them the Word of God (like teaching Sunday School!) (:-) We’re called to teach those that are new in the faith or young in the faith.
Tend my sheep – This makes me thing of caring for and tending the flock. The disciples were charged with building the church, loving and caring for the believers, and guiding them faithfully. You don’t beat or abuse the sheep, you herd them and care for them.
Feed my sheep- The disciples were also told to feed (teach) the flock, and feed (teach) they did! The entire New Testament was written by God using disciples of Christ. Many of the books of the New Testament are letters written to churches of pastors to teach and guide them.
Vs 18-25 ” ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.’ This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, ‘Lord, who is the one who betrays You?’ Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, ‘But Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.’ Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?’
This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.”
“You will stretch out your hands” was Jesus’ way of saying Peter would be crucified (which he later was). But after telling Peter he will be crucified, He says “follow me”. No matter the cost Peter. Follow me.