Summary: Suppose everything we thought and believed about religion got stripped away from us in one horrific event. Suppose all the answers we thought we had to all the questions we thought people wanted answered, seemed hollow and empty.
Breakfast with Jesus
Chuck Warnock, Senior Pastor
Chatham Baptist Church
April 22, 2007 – Sunday after the shootings at Virginia Tech on Ap 16, 2007
– John 21:1-19, NIV
1Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias.[a] It happened this way: 2Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3"I’m going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We’ll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5He called out to them, "Friends, haven’t you any fish?"
"No," they answered.
6He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.[b] 9When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught."
11Simon 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. 12Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. 13Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Jesus Reinstates Peter
15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
16Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
17The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
18Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." 19Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"
Suppose everything we thought and believed about religion got stripped away from us in one horrific event. Suppose all the answers we thought we had to all the questions we thought people wanted answered, seemed hollow and empty.
Suppose our friend is gone, killed by forces that to us are incomprehensible. And suppose in the midst of this loss and tragedy – this relentless “why” – we see God again in the ordinary moments of life.
This is what happened this week at Virginia Tech, and what happened almost 2,000 years ago beside the Sea of Tiberias.
Everything the disciples thought they knew about God and about themselves was stripped away from them. First, when they all betrayed Jesus by forsaking him, and then at Calvary as they watched him killed. And even though they have seen the resurrected Christ, the disciples are still reeling from the events they have witnessed.
Now, a couple of weeks later, Peter – tired, confused, frustrated and bewildered – goes back to fishing -- back to what he knows, back to the last thing that he felt comfortable with. Back to doing something familiar, as if to try to get in touch with his life before all the horror and uncertainty.
Others follow Peter’s lead, back in the boat casting nets, swearing like sailors, acting like men. Stripped, naked, sweating, angry, tired, and working hard to stave off the grief and confusion that overtakes them without warning.
So they fished, but it was a futile exercise. Fishing had lost it meaning for them. They could not go back to life as it was before, and they could not go forward to life as it would be. They were trapped between what had been and the broken promise of what was to come. And they were alone.