Breakfast by the Sea – A Game Changer for Life

By Joe Henriques, MBC Tysons Pastor

We know how Jesus changed the lives of His disciples before the cross, but after His resurrection, the changes were even more radical. The Apostle John tells us of one day when Jesus unexpectedly showed up and said to His disciples:

“Come and enjoy breakfast by the sea!” [1]

Sounds like a promo for an exclusive resort, doesn’t it? But what if it’s a personal invitation from Jesus to join Him for breakfast, and, by the way, He’ll be the chef?

For socialites, that would be the perfect photo op. But for Peter, breakfast with Jesus turned out to be a game changer. Jesus completely refocused him, repurposed his life and even told him what his obituary would say. If ever there was a power breakfast, this was it!

Let’s look at the background behind this breakfast by the Sea of Tiberius, specifically, what was going on with Peter? Take note because Jesus may be preparing a similar occasion for you.

Before-the-cross Peter:  Hard-driven and loyal, confident and proud

Before he had to face the hard reality of Jesus being crucified, Peter was the kind of person CEOs and Commanding Officers look for: success-driven, loyal to the extreme.

  • “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” [2] Peter was the first disciple to publicly declare Jesus’ true identity.  He did so in direct defiance of the powerful religious authorities, who saw his statement as an act of blasphemy.
  • “Never Lord, this shall never happen to You!” [3] Peter tried to talk Jesus out of the suffering and death He predicted for Himself.
  • “Even if I have to die with You, I’ll never disown You!” [4] With great bravado, Peter declared his war cry against all enemies of the Savior.

When armed men grabbed Jesus in the garden to arrest Him, Peter grabbed his sword and fought back, cutting off a man’s right ear. He even followed the mob into enemy territory where they took Jesus to be tried.

Taking a serious fall

Peter crashed. In the courtyard outside Jesus’ trial, a servant girl (not exactly a powerhouse in those days) stared at him and said, “Hey, you were with Jesus of Galilee!” Then she said to the people, “This fellow was with Jesus!”  Peter called down curses from God and swore to them, “I don’t know what you’re talking about! I don’t know the man!” [5] He repeated the denial three times.

Peter failed miserably at his greatest point of pride and strength: loyalty.

Take Note: God may allow you to be broken in what you consider to be your greatest area of strength. Why? So that you learn humility before God, that He is your strength. Only then can you resist the Devil, only then can He lift you up.

After-the-resurrection Peter:  Refocused toward the heart of the matter

After breakfast, Jesus looked directly into Peter’s eyes, paused, and asked, “Peter, do you love me?” [6]  Three times Jesus asked the same question. Maybe it was to remind Peter of each of his denials. I think that it was to make clear to Peter that love must be added to his loyalty, a dimension without which his strength would always weigh him down.

Jesus asked His disciples to love Him. He had said that all along. It wasn’t loyalty to Jesus’ cause that counted, it was loyalty rooted in personal love for Him. Loyal love, just like God’s, is the only focus that matters.

Take Note: Like Peter, you know that Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” [7] It’s possible for you to religiously and meticulously keep Jesus’ commandments – checking off the list of do’s and don’ts – without focusing on loving Him. A true disciple knows that when love for Christ comes first, obeying is the natural, desired result.

Repurposed for the next mission

Fishing was in Peter’s blood. In fact, he was out in a boat on the Sea of Galilee with his fellow fisherman when they spotted Jesus on the beach. At the beginning of His ministry, when Jesus first called Peter to be His disciple, He used a picture that Peter would immediately understand, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”[8] Fishing for men was Peter’s mission, that’s what following Jesus was all about.

Jesus repurposed Peter’s mission. “Feed my sheep,”[9] Jesus told Peter. He was asking Peter to take care of His most precious possessions on the earth, His people. In essence Jesus was saying, “You followed me as a fisherman, now follow me as a shepherd.”

Take Note: Your motivation for following Jesus, loyal love, doesn’t change, but your service for the Lord could. Think back. Has there been a shift in your ministry? If you feel that you’re not qualified, you’re in good company. Peter didn’t feel qualified to shepherd God’s treasures. But he knew what it was to fail and to be restored, to be attacked by Satan and to resist victoriously. That’s what God’s sheep need to know. Keep in mind that Peter’s humanity made him believable, and his love for Christ made him credible.

Knowing the end gives confidence in the journey

Jesus didn’t tell people how they would die. No one, that is, except Peter. Why? Perhaps it was to give Peter assurance. “You denied me once, Peter,” Jesus may have said, “Don’t be afraid, you’ll never deny me again. You’ll love me to the end.”

Peter knew how his journey would end. His obituary would read: “Peter glorified God in death.” Peter even knew the specific way he would die. Certain knowledge about the future enables sure confidence in the present. That knowledge and confidence empowered him to write letters to God’s people forcefully urging them to live victoriously and with certainty for Christ until He returns.

Take Note: You probably won’t know exactly what will cause your death, but you can know that in it you will glorify God. It’s very human to do as Peter did: he looked over at John and said, “Lord, what about him?” [10] Why did Peter ask about John? Was he curious? Concerned? Comparing the will of Jesus for each of them? We don’t know. We do know how Jesus responded: “What’s that to you? Just follow me.” [11]

The invitation for you

Jesus’ invitation to “Come and enjoy breakfast by the sea!” is a picture of His delight in having such times of fellowship with His followers. Why not find a place where you can have your own conversation with Him? Your “Breakfast by the Sea” will prove to be a game changer.

[1] John 21:12
[2] Matthew 16:16
[3] Matthew 16:22
[4] Matthew 26:35
[5] Matthew 26:69-74
[6] John 21:15-19
[7] John 14:15
[8] Matthew 4:19
[9] John 21:17
[10] John 21:21
[11] John 21:22-23

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