The Lord's breakfast.

The Tilapia Fish is also known as Saint Peter’s fish. In this study we look at the disciple Peter.

When Jesus first came into his life (John 1:40–42), Peter was a fisherman – rough, tough and resentful of the rule of the Romans over Israel. It took real courage for Peter to give up his boats, his nets and fishing and follow Jesus. He believed the risk was worth it and was prepared to fight against the Romans. No doubt he was puzzled at Jesus’ lack of military preparations, but recognised that people had to repent and turn humbly to God so that the people of Israel could once again be God’s special people. He reacted strongly when Jesus spoke of coming suffering and death – which Peter felt was going too far (Matthew 16:21–23).

Then came the crucifixion. All that Peter had believed and lived for was shattered. He denied his connections with Jesus three times (John 18:17, 25–27). He wept bitterly – for the loss of Jesus and for the frustration of three years lost out of his life. Then, to his amazement, Jesus came back to life and appeared to the disciples (John 20:19–21). His hopes were raised again – until Jesus spoke to them, ‘As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.’ With this, Jesus made it clear that there was to be no glorious, earthly future for the disciples, no victory over the Romans, no thrones or crowns. They were to continue to live and work as Jesus had done, facing rejection, poverty, persecution and possible death.

Read John Chapter 21:1–17. Peter was very confused. He needed time to think. He told the others he was going fishing and they joined him. For Peter, this night of fishing was a time of temptation – his chance to run away from Jesus. He thought his old skills in fishing would return. Maybe he could start again as a fisherman.

But that night they caught nothing… Nothing until a man on the shore told them to cast their nets on the other side. A huge catch of fish – 153 great fish – which threatened to break the nets. What a catch! But Peter knew now that this was Jesus’ catch, not his own. As they joined Jesus for breakfast, this became a time of truth for Peter.

Jesus asked Peter, ‘Do you love me more than these?’ Some people think Jesus was asking if Peter loved him more than the other disciples did, or if Peter loved him more than his other friends? But if we think of the beach, and the huge pile of fish lying there, I’m sure Jesus was asking Peter which came first in his life – his skills and pride in fishing or his love for Jesus, which might mean giving up his fishing and following a life of servanthood.

To discuss:

  • What kind of difficult choices did you make when choosing to follow Jesus?
  • Were there things you needed to put to one side?
  • Are you still putting off decisions about things you need to put right in your relationship with Jesus?

Jesus chose the early hours of the day for some of the prayers that meant the most in his life. He is ready to meet with us as we set aside time to renew our faith each day at ‘The Lord’s Breakfast’. Do you take time to meet with him each morning before rushing into the day’s work?

by Dr Paul Brand. Condensed from a chapter of Dr Brand’s book, The Forever Feast. Text and illustration used with kind permission of Servant Publications.