The gospel this week tells of Jesus feeding people. It’s not a new story. Jesus often fed people. It was a way of demonstrating God’s nourishing love. The message was that God isn’t somewhere outside of things watching. God’s with folks giving them life. It would have been difficult for anyone hearing John’s gospel to this point to miss the idea. Why make it again?
John has Jesus feeding people once again because this time it’s not just anyone that he’s making breakfast for; it’s the apostles: the ones who had run away when he was arrested, except for Peter, of course, who, when things got dicey, had told everyone he hadn’t the slightest idea who Jesus was. That’s who Jesus was baking fish for.
It’s worth noting that the apostles didn’t go looking for Jesus figuring that he said that God would raise him from death so they ought to be there to welcome his return. Given the option, they had chosen to go back to work fishing. Jesus had to search them out.
When the apostles noticed him with the fish on the fire, they must have expected a tongue lashing. They didn’t get it. They just got breakfast – and a question: Are you still in this with me? Peter, having done so well speaking for the group before, said, Sure; you bet. I wonder if Jesus grinned; we’ll never know. Anyway, handing them a plate of fish, Jesus said, Okay, let’s get to it; there’s a lot to be done. If we could soak in that idea!
With God it’s not about punishment or threats or lectures. It’s about love and the commitment God’s made to us. It’s about a world to be made whole. It’s about the gift and the work.