top of page
  • Rev. Dan Gates

A good breakfast: Resurrection Encounters with Jesus

John 21:1-14

Fish cooking in a pan over a fire on a beach, overlooking the water

Some people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I'm not really a big fan of breakfast myself, but if I were to be invited to sit with the Risen Jesus and have something to eat, I'd probably say 'yes' even if it was fish on the menu!

In this resurrection encounter, we meet some of Jesus' disciples going about their lives in a way that might seem familiar: they've gone fishing. We know from chapter 20 of John’s Gospel that they have already heard the whispers of a story about Jesus no longer being dead in his grave. Some of the woman who followed Jesus had witnessed to a wonderful experience of Jesus being alive. And yet somehow, they haven’t allowed that world-changing possibility to settle into their minds. So here they are fishing. Fishermen taken away from their nets to follow Jesus, promised a whole new kind of life, expecting the world to change, discovered that the world was just as it was before: the empire had won, the evil ones had prospered, normal service resumes. And to make things worse, the fish weren’t even biting! Insult to injury they call that. Having worked all night, they are bringing their boats home empty, nothing to show for their hard work. But then comes Jesus. And this story of hopeless fishermen is transformed into something quite different.

A large catch of fish

Jesus directs them to put down their nets on the other side of the boat. At this point they don’t know who it is giving them fishing advice. They’ve been working all night, why waste their time dropping the nets once more? What does he know anyway? And yet for some reason they do as he says. Then in this very ordinary moment, in the middle of yet another disappointment in life, life bursts forth, abundant life. Suddenly their empty nets were filled. 153 fish, we’re told later in the story. You’ll find lots of explanations for that number, all kinds of interesting interpretations. But really the point is this: into an experience of nothingness, Jesus brings forth abundance. Into a moment of one more reason to give up, Jesus offers 153 reasons to carry on. Dragging their haul to the beach they find this stranger tending to a charcoal fire. Bring some of the fish you’ve caught, he says. They do as he asks. Come and have breakfast, he says. By now they were catching on. This is no stranger after all. The one cooking them breakfast was the one they all longed to see the most. Here in their presence is the Risen Jesus. And what’s he doing? He making them some breakfast.

What a bizarre story. It starts ordinary, goes to somewhere quite extraordinary, and then returns to a breakfast scene, again something quite ordinary. But I wonder if you can see how this bizarre story is more than just a moment in history. I wonder if you could imagine yourself telling this kind of story of your own life. Because so much of our lives are lived in that ordinary mode, aren’t they? We go about our daily routine, doing our jobs at home, off out for a bit, work or school, family time or friend time, home again, sleep. Or like the disciples, we too might experience a profound loss, or some situation that unsettles us, and so we reach for a routine that feels stable and predictable. But sometimes Jesus shows up unannounced. In the middle of my ordinary life, he tells me to put my net down on the other side of the boat. And when I do, everything is different.

Unexpected Abundance

What about you? In your life have you known moments of unexpected abundance in times of ordinariness? A path that seemed to be going in one direction that took an unusual turn? A routine life that was suddenly interrupted which took you to a new place of blessing and joy? Like the one we’ve read from John, it is these stories that remind us of what resurrection means: abundant new life, offered to us by Jesus, not just in some far-off future, at the end of time, but here and now breaking through the ordinary places of life. On the school run it might appear to you. On the commute home from work you might be interrupted by this grace. In the kitchen doing the washing up, sitting on your sofa, doing the shopping, in the midst of an ordinary routine resurrection life can meet you. And in that moment, everything becomes different.

Come and have breakfast

Jesus is inviting us to have breakfast with him. He is inviting us to take these miraculous moments in our lives, these interruptions of resurrection, and share them with him and with each other. To eat and drink and tell our stories in his company. So this week I have one suggestion for you: look out for those moments where resurrection interrupts your life. Pay attention during the ordinary routines you go through. Take time to stop and think at the end of each day: where has abundant life met me in this day? And when you discover those stories of joy, of new life and new possibilities, share them with someone.

A blessing for your week

May you meet the Risen Jesus this week, telling you to do some strange things out of the blue. May your willingness to go with him bring an abundant harvest of resurrection life into your life, far beyond what you could ever have hoped for. And may you share that harvest with others, enjoying a good breakfast with Jesus, celebrating all that he has done and all that he will continue to do until we see him face to face. Amen.

7 views0 comments


bottom of page