Breakfast with Jesus

John 21:1-14 After this, Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. This is how he showed himself: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I’m going fishing.”

They replied, “We’ll go with you.”

They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 Early in the morning, Jesus was standing on the shore, but the disciples did not know it was Jesus.

5 Jesus called to them, “Boys, don’t you have any fish?”

“No!” they answered.

6 He told them, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” So they cast the net out. Then they were not able to haul it in because of the large number of fish.

7 The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard, “It is the Lord!” he tied his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about one hundred yards. 9 When they stepped out on land, they saw some bread and a charcoal fire with fish on it. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”

11 So Simon Peter climbed aboard and hauled the net to land, full of large fish, 153 of them. Yet even with so many, the net was not torn.

12 Jesus said to them, “Come, eat breakfast.”

None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord.

13 Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them, and also the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)

Nutrition experts agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast provides fuel for the body and brain after an overnight fast. That’s where the name originates – breaking the fast! A healthy breakfast can improve memory and concentration levels. It can improve mood and lower stress levels. In studies among children, breakfast can improve behavior and has been linked to improved grades. Just like any other organ of the body, the brain needs energy to work its best. Eating breakfast is healthy for the body and brain.

Breakfast is also healthy for relationships. When I meet to mentor Pastor Scoggins, it is over breakfast at Robert’s Roost. When there is a late start at Shoreland, I will take my girls out for breakfast at Annetta’s Café. Whenever my daughters have a day off of school, we will cook a big breakfast together of French Toast, bacon and scrambled eggs. Breakfast gives us an opportunity to meet as a family, talk and create memories.

Breakfast allows us to start the day out right. It gives nutrition to the body, energy to the brain and builds relations for life.

Jesus invites you today to have breakfast with him.

Shortly after his resurrection, Jesus is cooking breakfast on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. What a quiet, humble, gentle picture. It’s not at all the way we might expect the Son of God to reveal himself after his resurrection from the dead.

Jesus has just crushed the devil’s head. He has paid the price for the world’s sins with his holy, precious blood. He has endured his Father’s wrath over mankind’s rebellion. He has defeated death by dying … and then rising from the dead. This is the greatest victory of all time. We might expect some blow-out miracles before thousands, with assorted explosions and pyrotechnics.

But Jesus doesn’t do that.

John tells us: “After this, Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. This is how he showed himself … When they stepped out on land, they saw some bread and a charcoal fire with fish on it.” Think about the preparation of this meal. Jesus must have been on the shore for some time while his seven disciples were out fishing. It takes a while to start a fire and clean fish. Plus, Jesus had bread for their for the meal. Certainly, Jesus could have created the fire, fish and bread out of thin air, but that doesn’t seem to be his style. I suspect he stopped by a local shop for supplies on his way to the beach.

Jesus decides more fish are needed to feed his seven hungry disciples. They’ve been fasting all night long on the boat. So, he asks his disciples to catch more fish. Then he provides them with a miraculous catch. “He told them, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ So they cast the net out. Then they were not able to haul it in because of the large number of fish.” Though he is going to be feeding his disciples, he involves them in his work. “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”

When everything is ready, he calls the group to breakfast. “Come, eat breakfast.” He takes the bread and fish and serves it to them with his own hands. No doubt, they get a good look at the scars in his hands as he is serving them.

The disciples need this time with Jesus. They have been put through the wringer these past few weeks. They have experienced so many emotional ups and downs. Jesus’ grand Palm Sunday entrance. The solemn prayer and meal in the upper room. The betraying kiss by their close friend. The arrest of Jesus at the hands of the temple guards in dark Gethsemane. Peter swinging his sword wildly and cutting up Malchus’ ear. Abandoning their Master. Peter denying Jesus to a servant girl. The crowd turning on Jesus at Pilate’s Praetorium. The horror of the crucifixion. The sorrow of Jesus being in the tomb. Hiding in fear of the Jewish religious leaders and the Roman soldiers. The confusion of the empty tomb. The exhilaration of seeing Jesus alive again.

They are drained. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. Spiritually.

“Come, eat breakfast.” That is Jesus’ invitation to the disciples. Jesus turns the beach into a banquet hall. His disciples are the guests of honor. Just as Jesus fed the 5,000 on the hill with only a little bread and fish, so he provides a meal of fish and bread for his disciples. To eat and have their fill. To feast with Jesus and enjoy their time with him. With no sense of hurry. Jesus doesn’t have to rush off. He is here for them.

Jesus shows up on the shore to spend time with his disciples – to take care of them, to provide for them, to sit among them for a little while longer. Their company was precious to him. Jesus reveals himself as the God who desires our company. He wants to provide for us. He wants to sit down to converse with us, be near us and feed us.

You need this time with Jesus. You are drained. Chasing your kids from one practice to another. Parents and teens cramming for examination questions. Navigating around all the orange cones in Racine. Rain outs for all our spring sports. Trying to cut the grass before it snows.

The check engine light on in the car. Marriage falling apart. Teenager locked in her room. Cancer ravaging the body. Dementia robbing the mind.

We are put through the wringer. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. Spiritually. Our response is to either work harder and put even more on our schedule or to be so overwhelmed we can’t move. Neither one is beneficial.

Jesus invites you to clear your schedule. Take a break. Come to have breakfast with him.

I want you to think of worship as having breakfast with Jesus. This is where you can sit down to have a conversation with Jesus. Create lasting memories together. Start your day and week out right with Jesus.

Do you know why we stand and sit so much in worship? We might call it “Lutheran gymnastics.” Our confirmands learned that Lutheran worship is a conversation with Jesus. We stand when we are speaking to God. We sit when God is speaking to us. We speak to God by telling him our deepest, darkest secrets. He immediately speaks to us announcing his forgiveness. We speak to God in the Song of Praise and Prayer of the Day. God speaks to us through the Scripture lessons, children’s devotion and sermon. We speak to God in the confession of faith, Prayer of the Church and Lord’s Prayer. God sends us home by speaking his blessing over us. Our worship services are a continual conversation between sheep and shepherd, disciples and Master, sinners and Savior.

“Come, eat breakfast.” That is Jesus’ invitation to you. He prepares a meal for you with this breakfast. He turns our church into a banquet hall. You are the guests of honor. You are invited to a feast. But not of bread and fish, but on the very body and blood of the risen Lord. To eat and have your fill. Not to fill your stomach, but to fill your soul. To have your sins forgiven, your faith strengthened, and your soul nourished. To feast with Jesus and on Jesus. Jesus is both Host and Meal. To have one-on-one time with the Lord. To taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).

I meet with the confirmands in February to ask them if they want to be confirmed. I don’t want to assume that they believe what they’ve been taught and desire to become members. Nor should they assume that they will be confirmed just because they’ve done the homework for class. In our pre-confirmation meeting, I asked them: “What is the purpose of confirmation and why do you want to be confirmed?”

They answered that the purpose of confirmation is: “To be a part of a church body with my fellow Christians and part of a family that cares about myself and my faith.” “To take the Lord’s Supper and grow in faith.” “To help me be more religious.” “Taking communion and having Jesus’ body and blood so we can be forgiven and know he died for us.” “Becoming a part of God’s family to take the Lord’s Supper.” “So I can take the Lord’s Supper with my family.” “So I can take communion and be a part of the church and with God.”

Just as Jesus invited the disciples to be involved in their own meal with their work, our confirmands want to be involved in the work of the Lord. Today is not a graduation – it is not an end. It is the middle. Their baptism, like Logan Kohler’s whose baptism we affirmed today, was the beginning. Their confirmation is saying they are ready for the sacramental meal. The rest of their lives are committed to the worship of the Lord, conversation with the Lord, and working for the Lord.

I asked the confirmands what their personal plan is to make sure this is not the end of their maturing as a disciple of Jesus. They answered: “Stay in the Word of God. Go to church and become more involved.” “Cooking at church dinners.” “Christian education through high school.” “Usher in church and help with the New Hope Soccer Camp.” “Like Grandpa, working for and in the church and helping anyway I can.” “Reading the Bible and devotions and praising God with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.” “Attending church and hearing God’s Word and not only taking on my challenges alone, but taking them on with God.”

We can learn a lot from our confirmands. Let us have the same desire that they have. Have a conversation with Jesus. Speak to him with your confession, prayers and songs of praise. Listen to him in the words of absolution, Scripture lessons, sermon and blessing. Commune with him at his sacred meal. After you have worshiped your Savior, then go to work for him. This is not the end. You are right in the middle of your Savior’s service.

You want to eat a healthy breakfast every day. Otherwise, you will be tempted to fill up your body with doughnuts, Kringle and coffee, carbs and sugar.

Eat a healthy breakfast with Jesus every week. Otherwise, you will be tempted to fill up your mind and soul with the sugary lies of the devil and the sweet sins of the world.

Eating breakfast with Jesus in worship will improve your mood and lower your stress levels. It will prepare you for works of service, give you love to share with your family, and provide you with forgiveness to spread to those around you. Your active involvement in worship will change your children’s behavior. Just like any organ of the body, your soul needs nourishment.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your breakfast in church is the most important meal of the day and week. End your fast. Every Sunday morning, come and eat breakfast with Jesus.

The fire is lit. The food is ready. Jesus is here. Come, eat breakfast. Amen.

May the LORD our God be with us, just as he was with our fathers. May he never leave us or abandon us. May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways (1 Kings 8:57-58a).