Have you ever wished you could just disappear? Responsibilities weigh you down, and you want to leave them behind. That weight perhaps causes you to forget the good things, the blessings you have.
Maybe you feel this way now or have felt this way in the past. There is no peace in your home, in your job, your community, let alone in your country and in the world. You are tired of the bickering in politics. Yes, I “went there” because I have found that putting my energy into “whose side” I’m on can drain me. My fear of the future may haunt me because of what the politicians are doing or not doing. Or because of war or the threat of war.
The Eleven disciples who remained after Judas died are different from us though, right? They know they have to continue His mission. They’re not worried about the political atmosphere or the Roman’s torture. So, they go out and preach everywhere the Gospel and love of Christ!
Oh, wait. No, they don’t.
Instead, they go into hiding. Fearful of the Jews—which meant, by the way, the fear of the Jewish leaders—they disappear from the public eye. Huddling together, they lock the doors. But without a warning, instead of a dreaded pounding on the door, Jesus appears in their midst.
And is He ever upset with them! He reminds them that they’ve denied Him, deserted Him, and even fallen asleep while He asks them to pray (Matthew 26:36-45, 56, 69-75). I can hear Him saying, “Hey guys, you know the plan. Why are you hiding? I faced the same threats you’re afraid to face. Now get out there and do what I told you to do!”
At least that’s what He could have told them. But instead, His first words are “Peace be to you.”
Wow. I get so excited when I think of Jesus uttering those words to them in love. In absolute love.
They are frightened by His appearance, thinking He is a ghost or spirit. At this point Jesus seems disappointed with their doubt yet He tells them to “Handle me and see…” in order to assure them it is Him in the flesh. (Luke 24:36-40).
After this event (we don’t know how much later), Peter announces he is going fishing, and some of his fishing buddies decide to go with him. I’m not sure what motivates Peter, but he heads out to his former occupation. Apparently, Peter does not want the responsibilities of being a fisher of people with the obligation of not only catching them, but teaching and training them as well. No, he seems to be done with that.
So off they go. Back to what they’ve always done. The men fish all night as is the custom, but by morning, they have caught nothing.
Someone on the shore calls out, and the voice carries across the water, “Children, do have any food?”
With a weary sigh, they holler back, “No.”
Who is this guy anyway?
Maybe they should have known when He calls them “children,” but only after He tells them to cast the net on the other side of the boat, and they catch a net full of fish does Peter realize “It’s the Lord!” And Peter, being Peter, jumps in the water and swims towards Jesus.
When they haul the fish to shore, Jesus invites them to breakfast. He asks them to bring Him some of the fish they’ve caught even though he has already started cooking. He tells them to come and eat. He doesn’t fuss at them for fishing. He doesn’t tell them they should be ashamed for trying to net fish when he has told them to fish for people (John 21:3-13).
Do these reactions by our Lord surprise you? Don’t we sometimes see God waiting to fuss at us when we lack faith or when we turn back to our old ways?
But look at what Jesus does. He knows these men are hungry after working a physically exhausting and discouraging job. So, he prepares a meal for them. I also think He longs to sit with these men and enjoy their company before ascending to the Father. Just chill with his homeboys.
That is God. It is a beautiful picture of Him. He understands. He comes to us in our need and even in our doubts. He holds us close, sits with us in fellowship, and invites us to sup with him, to be nourished at his hand.
I know God disciplines us and guides us away from the wrong path, or even away from a good path to the best one, but He knows our needs too. He understands when we falter. He will come to us, remind us He is our peace, and remind us we are His children.
Perhaps He calls to you today. “Children, have you any meat?” If you don’t, He has something that will fill you.
No matter what your need, He longs to satisfy it. Bow to Him, set your longings at His feet, and trust Him to sustain you.