My mother rose early each day to prepare my father’s breakfast. She laid the table the evening before, then in the morning, she cooked his toast and eggs while he was out in the chook-pen, mixing up warm food for his fowls.
Later, while we children slept, Mum began our breakfast. I remember her calling to us: ‘What do you want on your toast?’ She’d hurry out with plates of our preferences, and we’d eat it before getting out of bed! Yes, we were spoilt, but she had a tiny kitchen, and probably found it more convenient not to have the three of us underfoot. Well, that’s my excuse!
As I’ve read the story of Jesus preparing breakfast on the beach for seven of his disciples (John 21:9), I’ve noticed his thoughtfulness, and his example to them, and to us. Have you ever wondered where he obtained the food he’d prepared on the beach that morning? I have. Often. When they drew close to the shore after a night of fruitless fishing, there he was, with fish and bread, and he even had a fire going. I picture him standing there, calling them in to share what he’d prepared.
I’m always trying to see something new about Jesus in the Gospels. It would not be difficult for the person who’d turned plain water into wine, to later produce some fresh fish and delicious bread to go with it. And how easy for the creator of the world, who made all the beautiful plants and animals, to make enough loaves for eight people. That’s nothing compared with the five-thousand-plus crowd he’d once fed. And then there was the four-thousand congregation he’d also provided with dinner. These examples might be only a few of many that occurred when he was on earth. A whole book about feeding thousands of people wouldn’t be so riveting after a while!
But it is fascinating to ponder the origins of these meals, especially this one for a small group of fishermen. We shouldn’t become immune to their miraculous creation, because after a while we could pass over them as if we knew the whole story. The fish mightn’t have been difficult to find. He could have gone down to the shore and waded in a little way and…there you’d have it! Aboriginals can make a fire without matches, so maybe that’s not a big miracle?? But bread? Amazing!
There are a few verses in the Psalms which tell us how like a mother our Lord is. He sees our need for sustenance and protection, and he has it all ready for us. But do we reach out for it? Do we tell him about our needs? He doesn’t have to be told, but how he longs for us to ask, so we are aware, when he provides, that it all comes from his hand. As Jesus said to the people of Jerusalem (see Luke and Matthew’s Gospels), quoting Psalm 91: 1-4:
How many times have I wanted to put my arms around your people as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings…but you would not? What a graphic picture!
Jesus knew these discouraged fishermen would need a decent breakfast. They’d be tired, and they’d be missing him too. So he provided for them. It was a prelude to an important conversation he was about to have with them on providing meals for the needy. Like a mother, he went ahead and set the example. He expects us to be like mothers to his people, not only feeding them, but keeping them safe. What a kind kind and caring Saviour.