DayBreaks for 1/16/17: Fish and Chips with Jesus in Galilee
Note: Galen is traveling this week so he’s recycling some old DayBreaks.
FROM THE DAYBREAKS ARCHIVE, January, 2007:
John 21:7-9 (NIV) – Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, ‘It is the Lord,’ he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
The New Testament is full of wonderful stories. I don’t know that I could pick out one of the great stories to call it my favorite, but I love the story of Jesus greeting the disciples in the morning of the Sea of Galilee. I love to fish, and I especially love to fish in lakes. There is something about the early morning stillness, the calm and cool before the heat of the day, the makes my blood tingle even with just the anticipation of such a scene.
But this was no ordinary morning, and this is no simple story. Sure, it can be read as a tranquil meeting on an early Galilean morning, but if we don’t grasp the greater implications, it remains just a nice story. This was one of the few meetings of Jesus with the disciples after his resurrection, and it was filled with tension, for as far as the disciples could ascertain, there was still the issue of Peter’s denial hovering like an unwelcome specter in the background. But in their hearts’ core, each disciple knew that it wasn’t just Peter who had denied Jesus. In their own way, they all had – by running and hiding, fleeing from the garden and from the trouble, and not defending the Master when needed. And so, as Peter identified the stranger on the shore, the disciples were filled with excitement, hope, and undoubtedly, some trepidation. Why had Jesus come?
In his work, The Importance of Being Foolish – Learning to Think Like Jesus, Brennan Manning observed: “In Jesus’ post-Resurrection encounter with the apostles on the beach along the Sea of Tiberias, when one might have expected, as Raymond Brown says, ‘the impact of unbearable glory’, Jesus serves fish and chips. There is no mention, apparently even no memory, of their betrayal. Never a reproach or even an indirect reference to their cowardice in the time of testing. No sarcastic greeting like, ‘Well, my fair-weather friends…’ No vindictiveness, spite, or humiliating reproach. Only words of warmth and tenderness. The same in the Upper Room as Jesus says, ‘Peace be to you.’”
Is the difference between us and Jesus any more pronounced than in how Jesus handled this situation? We want, no – demand, apologies. We slink around with hurt feelings, nursing them, wanting them to be understood, empathized with, for the pain we feel to be felt by those who hurt us. Nothing could be more ungodly or un-Christlike. If we’d been treated (by our friends, let alone our enemies) as Jesus had been, it is highly unlikely that we’d have taken the time to rise early, get fish, start a fire, and cook a meal for those who had hurt us. We may not even have been willing to sit at table with those who hurt us. But Jesus saw it as an opportunity to be with friends, to share some fish and chips, but mostly, to share in the love he felt towards these weak and flawed human friends.
Perhaps there is no trait that is more reflective of God than His forgiveness. We don’t have to extort forgiveness from Him. He gives it to us without us even asking for it (remember the Prodigal Son story?) Make it a goal to this week reflect the forgiveness Jesus modeled on the seashore. Make it your goal to be a forgiving woman or man, one in whom the image of Christ is clearly visible, one who shares the glory of a sunlit lakeside with those who may have hurt you.
Psalm 130:3 – NIV – If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?
PRAYER: Father, forgive us for wearing our feelings on our sleeves, for taking such umbrage at anything that anyone does to us that we don’t like, or that hurts us. May we learn the secret of the Spirit of love enables you to not keep a record of sins. Make us like Jesus! In His name, Amen.
Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.