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Come and Have Breakfast – Br. Mark Brown

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John 21:1-14

The Sea of Tiberias, the Sea of Galilee, is actually well below sea level, so the heat in warm weather can be really oppressive.  And the outcroppings of black basalt along the northern shore just keep on baking the landscape through the night.  It’s not surprising that Peter would be stripped down to the minimum required by Jewish modesty.  They’re probably all in their hot weather work clothes. But that Peter immediately covers himself when he realizes the Lord is near may remind us of someone else. Adam and Eve hid their nakedness when they heard the Lord in the garden.

Peter, too, is deeply ashamed. Those three denials are seared into his heart forever. And, yet, in spite of his guilt, in spite of his fear, he makes his way as fast as he can to the Lord’s side.  We can imagine him in his confusion thrashing his way through the shallow water trying to get his clothes on right, stumbling over the rough stones.  He knows his guilt. But he also knows his Lord.

A cloud of despondency has hovered over the scene.  They’re tormented by the coulda-shoulda-wouldas of those terrible days in Jerusalem. And they can’t even catch fish. Grief, shame and a sense of  utter failure pervade the atmosphere.  And they’re probably all, like Peter, feeling utterly exposed in their despondency, utterly stripped down, totally vulnerable.

The Risen Lord’s response?  Let’s have breakfast!  It’s OK—come and eat!  I’ve already got a good fire going.  Bring one of those fish you just caught.  It’s OK—don’t bother to dress up—I’ve seen you with your shirts off before—come as you are! The bread is already toasting.  And I may even have a little wine here somewhere… It’s OK; c’mon—you must be hungry, you must be thirsty.

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