“The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.[c] 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.” John 21.8-14
153 fish. On hundred and fifty three. From zero, before meeting Jesus, to a number so large they felt the need to count it. Some suggest these fish are the Tilapia Galilea which live in the Sea of Galilee. Average weight is 3.5 lbs, for a grand total of 535 lbs for all the fish. Not a bad haul after having caught nothing all night long.
When Peter see Jesus he jumps in the water. The other disciples follow Peter, bringing in the net full of fish. When they arrive Jesus has a fire of burning coals (he’s been there a while) and it has fish on it as well as some bread. Jesus tells Peter to bring some of his own fish so Peter goes back to the boat, helps drag the net ashore, and returns to Jesus.
“Come and have breakfast,” is what Jesus says to the disciples. Jesus then breaks the bread and the fish and gives it to the disciples. The scripture tells us this is the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples “after he was raised from the dead.”
Is this how we would expect the Son of God to greet his followers? By serving them breakfast? Is this modus operandi of how royalty greets subjects? Jesus has just done the impossible, the incredible and the unbelievable. Not only did he live a life full of miracles, amazing truth, but he was put to death and raised to life. Now, free from the sins of humanity and the rule of death, Jesus welcomes his followers back by serving them breakfast with a huge number of fish.
Two extraordinary things occur here — 1) the large number of fish and 2) that God in the flesh would make breakfast! The God we serves cares enough to provide for his people in simple ways. The great number of fish would help provide the fishermen with living and ministry expenses. The breakfast would fill their bellies and serve to welcome them back into God’s fold.
Jesus does these kinds of acts for those he loves. He wasn’t forced to greet his friends this way, he could have floated across the water in a golden throne and had the fish spring up out of the lake. But he’s not silly. He’s genuine and he who controls creation has nothing to prove to this world. He’s done that already. He who was raised from the grave defeated death and now is on mission. Breakfast was an introduction to this journey.
This is how Jesus greets those who follow him. How will you greet him today?
“O Lord God, you welcome us all to heaven. You invite us to sit with you and to rest within your care. You call us forth to join you where you are at work, and you will bless us along the way. Come now, Holy Spirit, let us learn from how you interacted with your disciples and what it means to walk with you. I praise you Lord for rescuing us from sin and death and for inviting us to shine the light with all we meet. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen