“Breakfast with Jesus”

John 21:1-19

5 May 2019 - Third Sunday of Easter

The Rev. Todd R. Goddard, Pastor

East Rochester & West Walworth: Zion United Methodist Churches


John 21:1-19 (http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=423799239)


After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn.

Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”


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The shore of the Sea of Galilee

Is not a sandy beach.


It is rocky in character,

Ranging from small pebbles,

To larger skipping stones,

To big rocks used for piers or breakwaters.

The shoreline is reminiscent of our own New York Finger Lakes.


In the dark, pre-dawn hours;

Jesus gathers together flint, charcoal, bread, and fish;

Heads down to the shore and builds a fire.


Jesus is calculating.


Fishing with nets from a boat,

On a dark night in a dark sea,

Surrounded by dark heights, hills, and ridges,

That fire

Could have been

The only point of light visible to

Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, John, and two other unidentified disciples.


Jesus wants his disciples to be drawn to him.


This encore Gospel narrative

Is Jesus’ fourth resurrection appearance,

According to the Gospel author John;

First, Jesus privately appeared to Mary Magdalene.

Today is his third appearance to his disciples,

Twice in the Upper Room -

first without Thomas, secondly with Thomas.


The narrative takes place some unknown later time,

Along the shore of the Sea of Galilee,

Also known as the Sea of Tiberias.

Jesus has one more thing to do.


You and I might appreciate those who experience

A dramatic call to discipleship

Followed by an immediate and decisive conversion.


But for most of us,

The call and conversion to follow Jesus Christ

Is much more nuanced, complicated, subtle;

Usually followed by periods of doubt

On a gradual curve of spiritual development.

John records it was no different with Jesus’ disciples.


Jesus intends to call and send his disciples, yet again.


It’s too easy of a soft ball to hit over the fence

To believe that the disciples had

Witnessed the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus

And left Jerusalem unmoved.

Afterall, they went back fishing.


But you and I know better.

Life is more complicated than simply backsliding.

We backslide for a reason;

Often times for many reasons.

The disciples needed to work,

To feed themselves and their families.

They fell back into a familiar routine,

Returning to what they knew,

What was safe.

And they stuck together.


Jesus calls and sends his disciples for a third time.

In the first chapter of John

Andrew hears the testimony of John the Baptist

And goes to tell his brother Simon Peter.

“Come and see,” (1:39)

Followed by Jesus’ invitation,

“Follow me.” (1:43)

Philip and Nathanael followed,

And it was game on.

In the preceding chapter of John

(as we heard last week)

The resurrected Jesus comes and appears before his disciples

Locked away in the upper room

For fear of the crowd.

“Peace be with you,” Jesus says.

“As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (20:21)

Jesus calls and sends his disciples,

Empowered by the breath of the Holy Spirit,

To forgive sins.

Jesus is cooking breakfast on the shore over a charcoal fire.

Third time's the charm.


Like the disciples, I too, understand

The need for repetition.

My spiritual journey has been in a continual state of discernment,

Examination and re-examination of God’s call and commission for my life.

Consistent in the Gospel of John

Recognition comes in the context of abundance.

Think about Jesus turning water into wine.

Remember Jesus feeding 5,000 with five loaves and two fish.

Think about professional fishermen frustrated by not catching a thing


The one who made the fire

Tells them to cast their net on the right side of the boat.

153 fish is a big catch.

Good thing the game warden didn’t show up.

Jesus is known by abundance.

Abundant wine, bread, and fish.

Abundant patience, persistence, and promise.

Abundant forgiveness, grace, and love.


In the only Gospel that doesn’t have a Eucharistic scene,

Eucharist is disconnected from crucifixion,

Which is refreshing.

We are freed to explore Eucharist in a new context.

John allows the faithful

To significantly connect Eucharist with abundance.

This is a vital characteristic that should not be overlooked or underestimated.  


Jesus isn’t done.

Taking Simon Peter aside,

Jesus completes his third call and commission

By telling him what discipleship looks like;

To take on the role of the Good Shepherd.

“Feed my lambs.” (21:15)

“Tend my sheep.” (21:16)


Simon Peter, like you and me,

Should remember Jesus teaching his disciples in chapter 10.

“I am the good shepherd,” Jesus taught. (10:11)

“I am the gate for the sheep.” (10:7)

A good shepherd leads his sheep and they follow.

The sheep follow because the good shepherd knows them by name.

A good shepherd comes that the sheep may have life,

And have it abundantly.

A good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.


Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep.

That’s what discipleship looks like.

Simon Peter finally gets it.

He understands.


This morning, like Simon Peter and the rest of the disciples,

We, too, have gathered to have breakfast with Jesus.


As we dine on this Eucharist meal,

May we be mindful of Christ’s abundance;

His love, grace, and forgiveness.

May we be encouraged that,

Though we may face periods of doubt and uncertainty,

Our spiritual trajectory is ever arcing to the heart of God.

May we be inspired to again,

Answer our shepherd’s call

To feed and tend his sheep.


To God be the glory.