22 April 2007 * Easter 3C * John 21: 1-19
The Reverend Kirk Alan Kubicek, Saint Peter’s at
Come and Have Breakfast
Years ago, when I merely aspired to become a priest in Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic and
I had anticipated being asked what my favorite Bible verse is. So I was prepared when the question in fact did come up. “Come and have breakfast,” I replied. “No, Mr. Kubicek,” one of the clergy said, “we want to know a verse from the Bible.” Again I replied, “Come and have breakfast.” There was an awkward silence in the room.
Finally one of the clergy asked me, “And just where is that found in the Bible?”
Somewhat puckishly I said with a straight face, “John, chapter 21, verse 12, the third time Jesus was revealed after he rose from the dead, and the lectionary reading for this coming Sunday, the Third Sunday after Easter, Year C.” There were smiles from the lay people on the commission to compliment the somewhat chagrined expressions on the faces of the clergy. I passed my New Testament canonical with great relief.
I have always thought of this chapter of John’s gospel, believed by many to be a later addition to the gospel that seems to end in chapter 20, as a kind of summary of the entire Gospel story. That is, if you can remember this chapter of fishing, breakfast and the after breakfast meeting with Peter, you could probably remember many of the most important elements of the entire gospel – a gospel in which the disciples begin as fishermen and end up fishers of men, women and children. Even the charcoal fire recalls Peter’s three times denial that he knew Jesus.
It is interesting that after seeing the risen Lord Peter says, “I’m going fishing,” and the others tag along. That is, they go back to what they used to do before ever meeting Jesus. They attempt to go back to business as usual.
But, not to worry, along comes Jesus over on the shore asking if they have any fish. When they say no, he says to put the net on the other side of the boat. Suddenly the net is nearly bursting with fish! One hundred and fifty-three to be exact! Someone says, “It’s the Lord!”
Next comes my favorite part. Peter puts his clothes back on and then jumps into the water! Is he excited or what? Reminds me of the morning after our first daughter, Harper arrived, and I poured myself a glass of milk and put orange juice on my cereal! It’s like Christmas, Easter, Birthday and the Tooth Fairy all rolled into one! Peter is some kind of excited to see Jesus.
When they get to shore the disciples see Jesus has a charcoal fire going with some fish already on the grill and some bread toasting on the side– but they are asked to contribute – make an offering – to the meal. Here we might note, that the meal consists partly of what he had himself prepared, and partly what they – we – bring to the table. This is the heart of the meal we come to share each week: The Lord refreshes us for his service by a gift partly derived from him, in part the fruit of our labor under his direction. We may wish to reflect on the “under his direction” clause and its importance to a life in and with Christ. Do we allow ourselves to be directed by Jesus?