It had been a few days since we’d seen the Lord, and the excitement and relief we had experienced in seeing him, speaking with him, and actually touching him had sort of worn off. Don’t get me wrong, we were relieved and thrilled to see him alive, but looking back, I think we were still sad and afraid for ourselves. You see, we’d grown so accustomed to Jesus’ presence with us all the time, and now we just felt, well, lost.
Last night we were all gathered together again, when Peter announced that he was going fishing. Several of us decided to join him. It actually made me feel better to be doing something so routine and familiar. We put out to sea and threw out the nets as the sun slowly sank over the western hills. The sea air blew in my face, and I was reminded of all that had changed in the past three years – how much my life had changed, and how much I had changed – or should I say, how much Jesus had changed me.
I glanced over at Peter. He seemed lost in his own thoughts, but his face had a troubled and anguished look. Something was eating at him. He’d been unusually quiet since the night of that atrocious trial. I’m pretty sure something happened between Peter and the Lord, something he wasn’t willing to talk about. Peter worked as though he had a huge weight on his shoulders.
We worked through the night, mostly in silence. It was comforting to be near my brothers, even in the stillness of thought. The light of the morning sun began to silhouette the eastern skyline as we stowed the nets and gear. We had no catch to testify to a night’s hard labor.
Then we heard a voice calling from shore. We looked to see a man standing at the water’s edge. He called again, “Friends! Haven’t you caught any fish?”
I’m sure the despondency was evident in our reply. “No! Nothing.”
He called to us again. “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you’ll find some!”
With a boat full of professional fisherman, you’d think one of us would object, but the man’s voice held such a familiar authority. We did as he said.
Immediately our net was filled to overflowing! All of us together could not pull it into the boat. Waves of recognition flooded me as my eyes were suddenly opened. I clasped Peter’s shoulder. I could barely contain my excitement. “It is the Lord!”
Now, my friend Peter is not a very young man. In a foot race I would beat him in a heartbeat, but at that moment, we didn’t stand a chance. He was off like a shot! Straight into the water he jumped, and swam all the way to shore.
When the rest of us reached the shore with the boat and the fish, we found that the Lord (for we were sure now that’s who it was) had built a charcoal fire and was cooking fish!
Jesus said to us, “Bring some of the fish you have caught.” Again, Peter acted more quickly that any of us could, and dragged the net ashore by himself.
Then came the loving invitation of the Master. “Come. Have some breakfast.” My heart was ready to burst with gladness! I don’t think fish has ever tasted so good.
I’m sure the events of this early morning encounter will remain among the sweetest memories of my life. I was so thrilled to be with Jesus again, doing ordinary things. But, I really think that this meeting was mainly for Peter. Something profound happened between Jesus and Peter on that shore – I witnessed something painful, but beautiful at the same time. Jesus seemed to open up a wound that Peter had been trying to conceal. It was as if Jesus washed it out, then tenderly applied bandages to Peter’s wound.
I don’t really understand what happened there. I was watching something intensely personal as Jesus spoke with Peter. But there was a definite change in my friend that day. Jesus had come to meet Peter in the midst of his sorrow, confusion, and guilt. Jesus touched him with love and healing, and Peter was restored.
Breakfast on the beach with the Savior – he provided for us, he nourished us, he healed our wounds. Isn’t that just like Jesus?