They were totally knackered and hungry, heart-broken and angry, confused and missing Jesus: The disciples had returned to their grass roots at sea to find the encouragement of a good night’s work…but they caught nothing. Not even one fish.
Like all groups of blokes, there would have been a range of emotions (or at least a range of emotions expressed) as the boat gradually entered the shallows again, but the over-riding feeling would have been tiredness. This was a boat of tired men…tired fishermen, to be exact.
It was dawn when another man, a stranger, called from shore – “didn’t you catch anything?”. Within a few moments John has seen that it was Jesus – a glorified, resurrected Jesus – and within a few more moments still, Peter had put his jacket on and jumped into the sea, striding towards the shore, shells between his toes. This is the first time Peter would have seen Jesus since he betrayed his best Friend, unto death, so he would have been aware of his weakness. The last time Peter jumped out of a boat to meet Jesus he didn’t get wet – he had jumped onto the sea not into it.
Before long there is a fire, a miraculous catch of fish (at least 153 large ones) and a bunch of men strengthening each other just by doing life. There would have been questions galore…there would have been different levels of faith…there would have been shock and awe. But there would have been worship.
What strikes me about this most is that Peter’s reinstatement came after breakfast. Maybe Peter had tried to start the conversation with Jesus immediately (hence jumping into the sea to get ahead of the boat to meet Him) but Jesus clearly wanted the men to sit, eat, rest and enjoy brotherhood. The sense in this is that this aspect of doing life together as men (chilling, eating, sharing, helping, PRAYING) was just as important as raising the dead, preaching the gospel and healing the sick.
Jesus wanted it this way and had planned to be there that morning to refresh and strengthen His company of men.
Today is the same, chaps – Proverbs 17:17