Peter did not expect breakfast on the beach. He had gone back to work – night fishing – perhaps to take his mind off Jesus’s death. But for Peter work wasn’t the answer – they laboured all night and caught nothing. The night was empty, the work was empty, Peter was empty. And in walks a stranger – a stranger who can see the shoal of fish which those in the boat cannot see. The stranger reveals what is hidden, he redirects their action so that they throw the net out on the other side of the boat. This incident is not presented as a miracle because it isn’t one. This method of fishing is still used in some parts of the world today, with one man in the water with a net and the other on the shore from where he can see the shoals.
John (the disciple whom Jesus loved) recognizes the voice of the stranger and tells Peter. Impulsively Peter jumps out of the boat.
It is indeed Jesus – with breakfast on the beach. He has fish on the barbeque and bread. Breakfast is waiting but he invites them to bring some of their fish to add to the meal which he, Jesus, gives them.
When things go wrong do we metaphorically go back to fishing? How do we fish? Perhaps only half-heartedly, on only one side of the boat? Do we know what it is like to lose someone special? Do we sometimes feel that life is empty or devoid of meaning? Do we sometimes wonder where Jesus is? Why can’t we see him in our lives? Who or what blocks our vision? We are told that John recognizes Jesus’s voice but Peter does not. Am I like Peter and who is the John who recognizes Jesus’ voice when I don’t? How do I feel when I, like Peter, have to be told? What is it like when I do hear Jesus’ voice?
The boat represents my comfort zone – so am I impulsive like Peter? Do I jump out of the boat? Am I happy to move out of my comfort zone? If I’m not impulsive do I need to jump out of the boat? If I don’t move out of my comfort zone how am I going to have breakfast on the beach with Jesus?