Breakfast on the Beach (John 21:12-19)

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“Come and have breakfast,” Jesus said. Isn’t that a friendly, homely invitation?

Jesus’ disciples were completely bewildered, after his death, his resurrection and his appearances since then. So they went back to what they knew best – they went fishing. And then Jesus appeared to them, on the beach. He gave them a miraculously enormous catch of fish, but that was not really his point that morning. No, his real purpose was to have breakfast with his disciples, and to set them back on course.

And do you notice? Jesus didn’t need to wait for the disciples to land their fish before he could make breakfast. No, by the time they got to shore, he already had the fire going, he had provided some other fish, and bread to go with it. “Come and have breakfast,” he said.

So, they all had breakfast on the beach together. (Fish-finger sandwiches, as Tim put it on Sunday.) And I’m sure Jesus said quite a bit to them while they ate. But in his gospel, John focuses mainly on a specific conversation with Peter. Three times Jesus asked Peter, “do you love me?” And three times Peter was able to say, “I love you, Lord.” And just like Paul wrote in his post last week, there is a poetic match between the three times that Peter had denied Jesus a few days before, and the three opportunities to say he loved Jesus now.

But what Jesus really wants to do is to empower Peter and the other disciples to keep on going, to keep on following Jesus. “Feed my lambs”, “Tend my sheep,” “Feed my sheep,” Jesus said to Peter. Or in other words – don’t worry about fishing any more, that was your old life. I’ve called you to a new life, a new purpose. Jesus wanted Peter and the others to go and make disciples of all nations (as recorded in the other gospels, although not by John.)

This breakfast on the beach is a mirror of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, when he first called Peter, James, John and the others. Back then, his call was simple: “Follow me,” he said (see John 1:43). Now it is just the same: “Follow me,” he says (John 21:19, and 21:22). At the start of his ministry, Jesus asked them to leave their fishing nets to become his disciples, and now he says the same again. Think about it – he’s just given them a miraculously large catch of fish, and now he’s saying, “Come on guys, you don’t need these fish. I’ll provide all you need and more. Follow me.”

And two thousands years later, that’s Jesus’ call to us too. “Follow me,” he says to each one of us. That is the core theme of the whole of John’s gospel, and that’s why we picked the words ‘Follow Jesus’ for this whole teaching series. So think back over the past three months – the sermons, the blog posts, discussions at Life Group, your notes, the text of the gospel itself. What has Jesus been saying to you? How does he want you to respond? Where does he want you to follow him?

As we come to the end of our series on the gospel of John, let us all pay heed to Jesus’ call to follow. This is the first and the last thing that John records Jesus saying.

Today, tomorrow and onwards, let’s follow Jesus!