So after Jesus had been crucified and buried, the disciples were in a tough spot. They had given up the past three years of their lives to spend with Jesus, basically doing the world tour around the Mid East. They had also preached, taught and cast out demons, but often disappointed Christ with their lack of faith and understanding. So now all their hopes and dreams have been nailed to the cross. They had everything riding on this guy. I’m not talking about the disappointment that comes from your team not winning the Superbowl. The disciples had given up their livelihood, and at the Garden of Gethsemane might have thought they were about to give up their lives. So with basically no homes, no jobs, no plans that didn’t involve Jesus, these guys kinda had nowhere to go and no one to turn to. So what do they do? They went out all night fishing.
It’s not as strange as it might sound. Several of the disciples had been fishermen before Jesus called them, including Peter. He’s all they’ve got now for a leader. The Gospels suggest that Jesus had a few wealthy women supporting his ministry. Jesus is dead, and all those that had associated with him are scattered. The disciples are faced with some tough choices with Jesus gone, and there trip out to sea was more about going back to work than it was hanging out or partying with the guys. The disciples were returning to their previous career; food had to be put on the table. And so they went to work.
According to John, Peter and six other disciples had been out all night, and had caught nothing. They see Jesus standing on the shore, but didn’t know it was him yet. First, he repeats an early miracle by telling them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. They bring in a catch of 153 (numerologists, go mad; tell me what it means). When they finally come ashore:
21:9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
I don’t know about fish for breakfast, maybe it was common in their culture. Notice that even though Jesus tells them to bring some of the fish they caught, he already had fish and bread on the fire. Here’s a guy that has walked on water, calmed raging storms, healed the sick, raised the dead – raised himself from the dead – and when his friends are tired, cold and hungry takes the time to build a fire and cook breakfast. You know how nice it is to be surprised with a hot breakfast, especially if you thought you weren’t going to have any.
So the next time things are down or times are tough, ask your self “What would Jesus do?” And the answer is: have a fish fry.