The serene and lovely lakeside setting whispered peace, and the lingering morning star seemed to lean down to listen. Silken wavelets lapping the shore chanted a greeting to dawn in subdued but splendid tones as the glowing orange orb rose from its slumber and attended to its task of illumination. A new day had begun.
A solitary man strolled the beach, delighting in the revealed beauty and breathing in the fresh, invigorating air. A beach breakfast with his best friends was the plan for the moment, and he was eager to get things cooking.
He built a charcoal fire, and as the smoke curled upward on the lake breezes, he set the food to frying. It gave him such joy to surprise his friends like this. They'd gone night fishing, and it had not been a successful venture. They would be certainly be tired, hungry, and maybe a bit grumpy. His call to them out over the water encouraged them to let down their nets one more time. They couldn't see who he was at first, but they made another attempt and were rewarded with a stupendous catch. And now were fairly sure they knew who he was.
The welcome smell of hot bread and sea-scented grilled fish met them as they struggled to reach land with their bounty. Their eyes were wide open, but their mouths remained closed as they contemplated the unexpected scene before them. Their "chef" companion motioned toward the warmth and sustenance and invited with a smile, "Come on and have some breakfast!" As had been his usual custom, he spoke a few grateful words of thanksgiving before passing the bread and fish around his circle of fellowship. The food was satisfying, but just being in his presence fed their more profound soul-hunger.
Jesus lived what He spoke. There was never any discrepancy between His words and His life. He'd said earlier that He was in this world not to be served (as He surely deserved), but to serve. He declared, " I am among you as one who serves." Those were not idle words. His heart pulsed with a stunning, genuine love for everyone. A powerful love so selfless, so unconditional, so immovable that it was truly beyond belief. And it found expression in every word and action of each day of His life. Everywhere He went people were healed, fed, raised from the dead--both physically and spiritually.
However, it was just before and soon after His suffering, death, and resurrection that we see the most intimate images of Jesus' shepherd-heart. His Passion of pain and power was "bookended" by two fellowship meals with those he cherished as His closest earthly friends. The first was the more formal Passover supper where Jesus washed their feet as the lowliest slave would have done--should have done. In unfeigned humility He got up from his place at the table and took off His outer clothing. His friends watched in astonishment as He then wrapped His waist with a towel, poured a basin of water, and knelt before each one in turn. He tenderly took their dusty, dirty feet in His pure, sinless hands and began to demonstrate just how deeply He loved them.
The second meal was more casual but the service performed in granting the miraculous catch of fish and in preparing breakfast on the beach was even more astounding. Here we have the Mighty Savior, the Awesome and Terrible Holy One, who in total triumph has overcome darkness, conquered death, and defeated the devil. He has gloriously "brought life and immortality to light" by His Cross-death and His Rising-again. He is proclaimed forever as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Supreme Victor of the Universe. And yet the Eternal Majesty willingly stoops to gather wood, build a fire, and prepare a meal as a meek household servant would do--all for the very cowards who shamefully fell asleep on Him, deserted Him, and denied Him when He needed the comfort and caring of their presence the most.
This is of the highest service known to this needy planet. This is unimaginable love.
Now, will you let Him wash your dirt and filth away with His own, gentle hands? Will you receive from Him an overflowing net of spiritual blessings? Will you take the perfect nourishment He has hand-prepared and offers so freely?
Because He loves you.
Because you love Him, too.
Scriptures referenced: Matthew 20:28, Luke 22:27, John 13:1-17 & 21:1-14, II Timothy 1:10
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