Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fires and Fish and Jesus

There's something about the filling of hearts in church that empties the stomach.

Sunday just has a different kind of ravenousness to it. Perhaps that's why 'Sunday lunch' is a thing.

This past Sabbath was no different.

Before we even left the parking lot of the high school my church congregates in - all five of us were pining for a filling. So I handed out snacks to hush the hunger and we rushed home to whip up lunch.

Upon making it to the driveway - I made like a mule (as moms often times do) and grabbed all fifteen bags that I had taken with us, then ran inside to prep meat.

My husband went out back with the blondes to strike black coal - so that our food could sizzle over fire.

And that hot simmer - it made the Sunday sermon come full circle.

Because the pastor had us consider John 18:18 and John 21:9 that day.

Let's start with the former.

Jesus had just been bound by a band of soldiers and taken. Peter followed them. But when he was asked if, indeed, he was one of Jesus' disciples - Peter denied that he was. And then verse 18 says this:

Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

When the pastor read that verse aloud - something in my gut stirred over the word 'charcoal'. The Spirit impressed that there was something with that stay alert to it.....that there was something in it for me.

We moved on to the words in chapter 21.

At this point - Jesus had been beaten, thorned, hung, placed in the tomb, and risen again.

Jesus' disciples got it into their minds to go out and catch fish, but alas, no fish were being caught. Suddenly, a man (Jesus) appears on the beach near them right at daybreak. Jesus tells them to drop their nets on the other side of the boat - and when they do....their nets can scarcely hold the amount of fish found. Of course - it was at this moment of overflowing abundance, that they realize the man was Jesus. And then this happens:

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread.

A charcoal fire.

Do you have any idea what this must have meant to Peter? What this means to me? To you?

When Peter got to the shore - and saw the charcoal fire that Jesus had built to make them breakfast...

- all after Peter himself had denied even knowing Christ.....
- all after Peter had abandoned the Lord.... 

He sees the Lord, sees the fire, smells the charcoal - and is taken right back to the moment of his denial of Jesus. 

Jesus meant for it to.

But now - He sees this very same Jesus serving him, the denier, breakfast - on charcoal......that same substance that Peter stood next to while falsely denying the Lord.

Jesus knew that the coal would take Peter back to his moment of betrayal - but He also knew that the coal - and the food being prepared on it - would reveal Christ's crazy love and forgiveness for him, too.....

Plus some! They now had an overflow of fish to boot!

Do you see it?

Isn't this just so God of God?

To reinstate and restore and offer up - to the very ones who gave up? All in a manner that shows them....

The abundant kind.

Meet Jesus, friends. 
I just took a pause from writing  - to take the kids on a bike ride. We whirled down warm sidewalks throughout our neighborhood, fed ducks, and worked up an appetite. Mama here - pushed the stroller and pondered this post for much of the outing.

On our way home - my older two slammed on the breaks of their bikes and stooped over to look at something laying on the pavement.

There between two bayous - laid a perfectly preserved little fish. It was dead - but completely and totally intact....odd site - considering all the fish-eating wildlife that's around these parts.

When I bent down to take a look at the out of place creature- my mind instantly went to the scripture we just discussed. 

Yet again....

He meant for it to.

Perhaps.....for you. Perhaps you need to know, like me, that no matter what you've done or where you've been or who you've hurt....

His provision and restoration and revelation await.

He'll use fires and fish and all manner of things to show you so.