I was reading the end of John recently. John is such a great book to just hang out in. It’s an art museum full of masterpieces you just have to stop and gawk at—each one portraying Jesus from a slightly different angle. So I was winding up the museum tour in chapter 21 and I stopped a moment to stare.
I was pulled into the picture of Jesus beside the Sea of Galilee. Jesus is appearing to his disciples after he has risen and so naturally he will be equipped with halo and flowing robe. And naturally his disciples will be prayerful, spiritual, and at least bathed when he appears to them.
But no, Jesus plans his visit in the middle of a fishing trip, so the disciples are sweaty pigs and probably grouchy from their fruitless trip.
Naturally, Jesus will softly call, “Children, stop fishing and come to the Lord.”
But what he really says is, “Children, did you catch anything? Try the other side!” The disciples give it a shot and haul in a giant mass of wriggling fish, which makes them happier but sweatier. Peter, figuring out who this must be, jumps overboard and joyfully swims to Jesus. The others start rowing. Fast.
Naturally, Jesus invites soggy Peter and the other disciples to sit down and receive divine words from the Savior.
But Jesus had collected some kindling, started a fire, and already had some fish on the grill. “Guys, bring some more of that catch! Let’s have some breakfast.” He wiped his fishy hands on his clothes and hugged his friends. Okay, that’s not God-breathed, but it’s totally in keeping with the feel.
Jesus is real. He eats breakfast. He knows we like to eat breakfast. He rejoices in a good catch. He builds campfires. He gets dirty.
I always ask my kids what they had to eat when they come home from somewhere. It’s a weird mom-thing that my mom did and I knew I would never do (who cares what I ate Mom?) So now of course I do it. Moms and Dads care about the details of their kids’ lives. They like to make sure needs are met. That’s love.
And Jesus cares about us—in our real, fishy, dirty, hungry, frustrated lives. He meets us on the shore with some breakfast. He doesn’t mind if we’re sweaty or soggy. He doesn’t ask us to clean up and be seated on a hard wooden pew before speaking to us. He invites us to sit down and eat with him. I love that!
And I find that the more I see of Jesus in John, and throughout the whole Bible, the more I want to be with him, and the more I understand what drove Peter to dive off the bow and swim to the Lord. That dive said more about Jesus than Peter. What a God we have waiting for us on the shore.