Breakfast with Jesus

Sharing my words from the slanty side of the pulpit today.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Two men were fishing in separate boats on the lake. One was watching the other with this growing curiosity because he’d catch a fish, he’d keep it, then he’d catch another fish and he’d throw that one away. He just kept doing this, catch after catch. The really strange part was it was always the big ones he threw away. What kind of fisherman is this?

Finally, the man watching couldn’t contain his curiosity any more so he called out the obvious question, “How come you’re throwing away the big ones?”

The man answered, “Oh, because I only have an eight-inch frying pan!”

Okay, I have to credit Ron Hutchcraft for that smile, who in turn credited Ravi Zacharias. Where Ravi got it from is a mystery, but there’s a rumor circulating he was seen on Sebec Lake.

When I read the joke, I was reminded about today’s gospel. The backdrop is fishing … an empty boat and a full boat. But the second point was our fishermen having breakfast with Jesus.

How awesome is that!

For them, probably not so much since they spent a lot of time with Jesus – breakfast, lunch, dinner. But for us, how awesome would that be?

There’s a country song by Thomas Rhett called Beer with Jesus that caught my attention a couple of years ago, but before I get into that, I have to make a couple of disclosures. I haven’t always been a country music fan. In fact, having been city born and bred, country was “hillbilly” … you know Rednecks with beer bellies and rusty old dirty pick-up trucks with gun racks. In truth, I always preached country music shouldn’t be played in anything but a rusty old dirty pick-up truck. And, of course, when I bought one I became a convert.

To be sure, there is some hillbilly twang on the country circuit and the lyrics … well, let’s just say there are a lot of double entendres there. But, they are honest, honest to goodness honest. Brad Paisley sums it up,

You’re not supposed to say
The word cancer in a song
And tellin’ folks Jesus is the answer
Can rub ’em wrong
It ain’t hip to sing about tractors, trucks,
Little towns and mama
Yeah that might be true
But this is country music and we do
Well, you like to drink a cold one
On the weekend and get a little loud
Do you wanna say I’m sorry or I love ya
But you don’t know how?
Do you wish somebody had the nerve
To tell that stupid boss of yours
To shove it next time he yells at you?
Well, this is country music, and we do
So turn it on, turn it up and sing along
This is real, this is your life in a song
Yeah this is country music …

But I digress. When I heard Beer with Jesus and actually listened to the words, they touched me deeply. Here they are …

If I could have a beer with Jesus
Heaven knows I’d sip it nice and slow
I’d try to pick a place that ain’t too crowded
Or gladly go wherever He wants to go

You can bet I’d order up a couple tall ones
Tell the waitress put ’em on my tab
I’d be sure to let Him do the talkin’
Careful when I got the chance to ask

How’d You turn the other cheek
To save a sorry soul like me
Do You hear the prayers I send
What happens when life ends
And when You think You’re comin’ back again
I’d tell everyone, but no one would believe it
If I could have a beer with Jesus

If I could have a beer with Jesus
I’d put my whole paycheck in that jukebox
Fill it up with nothing but the good stuff
Sit somewhere we couldn’t see a clock

Ask Him how’d you turn the other cheek
To save a sorry soul like me
Have You been there from the start
How’d You change a sinner’s heart
And is heaven really just beyond the stars
I’d tell everyone, but no one would believe it
If I could have a beer with Jesus

He can probably only stay, for just a couple rounds
But I hope and pray He’s stayin’ till we shut the whole place down

Ask Him how’d You turn the other cheek
To save a sorry soul like me
What’s on the other side?
Is mom and daddy alright?
And if it ain’t no trouble tell them I said hi
I’d tell everyone but no one would believe it
If I could have a beer with Jesus
I’d tell everyone but no one would believe it
If I could have a beer with Jesus

Well, that got me to thinking what I would ask Jesus if we just hung out over a beer … or wine or whatever. Certainly all Thomas’ questions would be on the list, but I would probably add a few more. Like …

If this salvation thing is so simple, why is it so hard for us numskulls to understand it?

Why are there so many distortions to the truth?

Why did You pick that time and place to enter our world? Why not sooner? Or later?

But, more important, I would borrow a line from Thomas Rhett. I’d be sure to let Him do the talkin’ … Careful when I got the chance to ask.

Okay, but how does that relate to today’s gospel?

Well, despite threats and some trepidation, our fearless leader Simon Peter decides he was going fishing. And some of his apostle buddies and other fishermen — Thomas the Twin, Nathanael, the sons of Zebedee and two others disciples – said they would go with him. They headed to the boat in the still of the night but came up empty.

As morning dawned, they spotted someone on the shore who asked them how their fishing went. They didn’t recognize the stranger, who told them to cast the net on the right side of the boat, advising them they would find some. I’m thinking they thought what the heck and tried it.

What happened? The nets were so full the entourage had a tough time pulling in the nets.

It is then Jesus is recognized, with impulsive Peter throwing on some clothes and diving into the sea to rush to shore. And by the time the boat makes it to shore, there is a fire ready for some breakfast tilapia … and an audience with the Lord. The crew never asked who this person was. They knew. And they shared bread and fish with their fallen-now-resurrected Leader.

We’re not told what the breakfast conversation was. I can only imagine. I know I would have had a zillion questions – much like Thomas Rhett.

What about you? What questions would you have if you had a chance to have a beer or breakfast with Jesus?

That’s only part one of the gospel text. Now that breakfast is over, Jesus addresses Peter directly and the others tangentially. Do you love Me?

Peter answers, You know I love You.

Feed My lambs.

Now, with Peter, you can’t state the obvious just once. I don’t think he was the sharpest hook in the tackle box, so Jesus asks him the same question again. Peter answers again, You know I love You! perhaps with a little irritation in his voice – my interpretation.

Tend My sheep.

Yet a third time the Lord asks Do you love Me?

The gospel says Peter was grieved because Jesus asked him the same question a third time. He may have been a little more than grieved, in my mind snapping back, Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.

Jesus answers, Feed My sheep. But He goes a step further. Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish as a precursor of the type of death Peter and the other disciples would face. He added this martyrdom would glorify God.

Then Jesus made the invitation. Follow Me.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our first reading from Acts. It’s the ultimate “Follow Me” moment. Remember, our disciples were followers of Jesus. They heard His message over and over. They witnessed His miracles. They experienced His post-Resurrection presence.

But here in Acts, we’re talking about Saul. He was not a follower. In fact, his mission was persecuting anyone who professed loyalty to this heretic, Jesus the Christ. He went out of his way to get legal justification for this roundup.

Lo and behold, on his way approaching Damascus, a light from heaven flashed around him, knocking him off his horse and to the ground. A voice booms out, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?

Dazed and confused, Saul asks, Who are you, Lord? The reply came, I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. As Saul got up, he was blind – he could see nothing — though his eyes were open. His troops had to lead him by the hand into Damascus.

We’re told for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Enter Ananias. He hears a voice while in prayer. Here I am, Lord.

The Lord tells him to find the man of Tarsus named Saul. The Voice explains Saul is right now praying and saw a vision of a man named Ananias coming in to lay his hands on him so he might regain his sight.

Ananias is a little skeptical and afraid because Saul’s reputation precedes him. But the Lord said to him, Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I Myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of My name.

Ananias follows the call and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and his sight was restored. From that day forward, he was no longer Saul but Paul. After getting up and being baptized, he took some food to regain his strength.

From there, Paul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus, immediately proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues, saying, He is the Son of God.

You know the rest of the story. One man was transformed from a persecutor to one of the leading figures in the spread of early Christianity. All because he chose to “Follow Him” … Jesus the Lord.

What about you? What about me? Are we willing to follow Him … Jesus the Lord. The call was made to the disciples. The call was made to Saul. The call was made to Ananias. The call has been made throughout the ages of Christendom. The call has been made to each of us. Sometimes we are so preoccupied, we miss the movement of Jesus right in front of us.

How will we respond?

I pray all who hear these words choose to follow.

May it be so.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible. — Corrie Ten Boom





About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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