“Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
Despite casting out their nets from the boat again and again, Simon Peter and his fellow disciples had not caught a single fish all night.
Through the dim twilight, they hear a voice calling to them from the shore. After asking if they’d had any luck with fishing, the voice urges them to throw their nets out from the right side of the boat. They comply, and their nets fill to bursting with fish.
It’s in that moment that the men realise who the voice belongs to; Jesus, their beloved teacher, brought back to life.
Awe-struck, Simon Peter dives into the sea and swims to shore – cutting through the deep water, heading straight for the man he had thrice denied after the Last Supper.
When the ordinary becomes awe-inspiring
When Simon Peter reaches the shore, he approaches Christ, who is sitting before a little fire with fish cooking over the flame and bread ready to share.
As the fishing boat lands nearby, Jesus bids Simon Peter to bring their fantastic catch ashore. After doing so, Simon Peter and the other disciples gather before their Lord. Imagine how they might have felt in that moment – joy, confusion, wonder, and (in Simon Peter’s case, perhaps) trepidation.
But then Jesus turns to them and simply says, “Come and have breakfast.”
It is this fantastic blend of awe-inspiring and ordinary that we meditate on in this episode. The poet George Herbert described it as “Heaven in ordinary”; the wonder of an everyday moment.
And in this case, a simple morning meal of bread and fish cooked on a fire on the beach – shared with friends.