streams

Yeshua Fixed Them Breakfast

Paul Sumner

You're in shock. Your hopes are collapsing under pounding storm waves. You're disillusioned about the central person in your life who made promises that have, apparently, all died — with him.

But have they? Did he?

You go home. Pick up the remnants of the life you had abandoned to follow him. For now, work staves off depression and despair. Physical labor outside, all night, with good friends, keeps the mind occupied, diverted.

Then at dawn, when you're most depleted in body and soul, you see the unexpected: That One himself is standing there in the dim twilight, like the bright morning star telling you that night is ending soon. Resurrection of the sun is coming.


So it was for Peter (Shimon Bar-Yonah), the fisherman from Kefar Nahum on the shore of Yam Kinneret in the northern region of Galil. He had followed Yeshua of Nazareth for about three years. He was convinced he was from God: "You are the Mashiach, the Son of God ... you are the Holy One of God" [Matt 16:15; John 6:69].

But then Yeshua was arrested, illegally tried in two courts then executed by a military death squad. How could this happen to God's Mashiach?

Peter couldn't endure. He publically denied knowing Yeshua. He wasn't whom he thought he was.

Three days later, in a secret meeting place in Jerusalem, Peter and the other disciples saw Yeshua, apparently raised from the dead. Was this merely a vision or mass hallucination born of desperate hope that he had not died?

Thomas came late to the gathering. When they affirmed, "We have seen the Lord," he didn't believe them [John 20:18-25]. But when he tangibly encountered Yeshua, he believed for himself.

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And yet, we readers sense that uncertainty still plagued the disciples.

Because, some days later, they fled the heady, threatening Holy City for their homes in the north and their previous life of fishing on Lake Kinneret. On these very waters they had seen Yeshua's divine power [John 6:16-21]. And here, again, he chose to "manifest himself" to them — not as Lord over creation, but as a Servant [Mark 10:45].

In the pre-dawn light, he stood on the shore and called out to them in their boat [John 21:1-13]. He called them "children," not men.

The one known as the Beloved disciple said, "It is the Adon, the Lord himself." Quickly, Peter jumped in the water to swim toward Yeshua, about 110 meters away. The others rowed as hard as they could.

When they arrived, they found an unbelievable scene. On the beach was a fire cooking a fish [singular] and handmade pita bread [v. 9]. Yeshua was the cook. He told them to bring some of their catch, perhaps to add to his prepared meal.

A subtle parallel appears here.

Earlier, while Yeshua was being tried and abused in court, Peter was outside, huddled around "a charcoal fire" [anthrakia] to keep warm, among Temple officials who may have abused Yeshua earlier.

But this morning, on the beach, Peter was offered food by the hand of the one he betrayed — food cooked over "a charcoal fire" [anthrakia] (John 18:18).

Then Yeshua uttered a most heart-melting invitation to Peter himself and to all his soul-battered, bewildered children:  

"Come and have breakfast."

As a servant-host would do, Yeshua "took the bread" (as he did at their last Passover Seder), broke it in pieces and gave it to them, with the fish. We aren't told more about the meal, but we expect he offered thanks for it, as he always did [Matt 15:36; John 6:23].

While serving them, we hear no rebuke from him for their earlier fear, unbelief, and abandonment.

We wonder: How did Yeshua do all this, and before dawn? He caught and cleaned the fish, mixed the bread flour (with olive oil?), collected pieces of wood, ignited a fire to make charcoal, then fried the fish — all so that everything was ready when his disciples arrived.

Why would he do this?

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Fellowship meals for God's people in the presence of the Holy were observed in ages past and were deemed prophetic of ones to come.

  • When Moses, Aaron and seventy-two elders ascended Mount Sinai "they saw the God of Israel" and "ate and drank." We assume they did this "before God," as they had on a previous occasion [Exod 24:9-11; 18:12]. To eat and drink in God's presence signifies intimate fellowship with and acceptance by him.

  • The angel of the LORD found Elijah collapsed under a tree in the wilderness where he had fled in terror from Jezebel. The angel baked bread for him "on hot stones," set a jug of water nearby, and let him sleep [1 Kings 19:4-8].

  • The prophet Isaiah foresaw a grand Future Meal to be hosted by God on Mount Zion:

    The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet
    for all peoples
    on this mountain.
    [Isa 25:6a]
    Note here that God himself will participate in the meal. What will he eat? "He will swallow up death for all time" (v. 8).

  • At a marriage festival in the village of Cana, Yeshua blessed the newlyweds and guests with his presence and a miraculous gift of wine [John 2]. Here was a human covenant ceremony honored by the very keeper of the "eternal covenant" himself [Heb 13:20].

  • The Cana event and Isaiah's prophecy foreshadowed the final marriage banquet in honor of "the Lamb" [of God] — a ceremony open only to those who are "invited" guests, who accepted the call to come, where they will be greeted as his "wife" [Rev 19:7-9].

    In that consummate fellowship meal, it's implied that God, as father and host, will provide everything for Yeshua's "children" at the banquet. It is not a potluck dinner. They cannot contribute to this celebration. They can only accept the gracious invitation — and observe the new dress code [Rev 7:9; 22:14].

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We notice five moving features of the breakfast scene involving Peter and the others on Kinneret's shore :

  1. The simplicity of Yeshua's invitation: "Come."

  2. The timing: the hour of resurrection when the sun returns to dispel darkness, disappointment, and despair.

  3. The simple nourishment: fish and bread.

  4. The forethought and preparation of the Host: he collected the food and built the fire by his own hand.

  5. The forgiving silence of the Host toward his fearful, uncertain disciples: "Children ... come and have breakfast."

This private fellowship meal on the shore of Kinneret gives us hope when we see Yeshua's spirit toward these men. Projecting beyond this moment, there is an unspoken invitation that draws "all peoples" to him — specifically to come to his banquet on Mount Zion [Hebrews 12:22], even now being prepared for the future.

Until then ... Yeshua hosts quiet breakfasts at dawn for weary, broken-hearted disciples who will come ashore to him — even today and here, wherever we are.

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