Some of the disciples went fishing with Peter. They didn’t know what else to do. They had been following Jesus. That gave structure to their lives. They got up in the morning, they did what Jesus said. Sometimes he taught, sometimes they traveled, sometimes they went on trips for him. But every day was oriented around what Jesus told them to do.
Then he died.
Though it was only for a weekend that he was dead, it changed everything. Now he could appear and disappear. He didn’t need to walk from place to place. He was real – touchable, capable of eating – but it was a different kind of reality than the disciples were familiar with.
So Peter went fishing. It was a routine that he knew. Even when, like on this particular morning, there weren’t any fish to catch.
In the dim morning light, a voice called out from shore. “Friends, have you caught anything?”
“No, we haven’t”
The voice responded, “Throw the net on the right side of the boat. There will be some fish.”
They tossed the net over the water and drew it closed. The net was full. John said, “It is the Lord,” Peter swam for shore.
There was a fire burning, fish and bread cooking on the coals. And Jesus said, “Bring some of the fish you caught.” Peter went and got some off the boat.
Jesus said, “Come and have breakfast.” After they ate, Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my sheep.”
I know that Jesus gives Peter three chances to affirm his love after betraying Jesus three times. But what if feeding isn’t just a metaphor? After all, didn’t Jesus literally feed the disciples? And what if obedience, at least sometimes, is as simple as “Come and have breakfast.”