By Dr. Harold Sala

I am the bread that came down from heaven.  John 6:41

After the crucifixion, their hopes dashed, most of the disciples began thinking of the future—their own futures. What do we do now?  Falling back on his old trade, Peter announced, “I’m going fishing!”  Then following his lead, the six other disciples with Peter said, “We’ll go with you!” That’s how the seven who had followed Jesus boarded their old fishing boats on Galilee and headed out for a night’s catch.

There’s a camaraderie about fishing that only those who enjoy the sport understand. Fishermen are all on the same level. There are no Ph.D.s, no executives, just ordinary people who pit their skills against the fish. And when you fish, you swap yarns and fish stories, kibbutz and talk openly and freely.

Fishing at night is peaceful and tranquil; however, it’s the catch that excites those who fish, so when dawn came, with empty hands, the seven hungry and tired men headed towards the shore by Tiberias.

That’s when they heard a voice, one that had a strangely familiar quality to it, ask, “Haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered.  And back came the response, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”

As a fisherman of a sort, I can tell you that when you haven’t caught anything, you are as desperate as someone dying with cancer who will try snake oil or about anything that promises success. “What do we have to lose?” they thought.  Though it wasn’t recorded, I suspect that Thomas, the pessimist of the group, who was along that night, blurted out with, “Hey, if we haven’t caught anything all night, what makes him think that we’ll get anything on the other side of the boat?”

Knowing they had nothing to lose, they cast their nets on the other side of the little boat.

Gradually, they begin to retrieve the net and suddenly the weight and the thrashing in the water makes them think, “Whoa! Something is happening here which cannot be explained!” They squint at the stranger standing on shore, wondering, “Could this be the Lord?” The net was full of fish–153 of them, yet the net was not torn, something that should have happened.

“Come and have breakfast,” called the stranger. Then they knew—it was Christ, the resurrected Lord, yet none dared ask, “Are you really He?”  They knew.

The story which I’ve related is found in John 21 in the New Testament. There were only two items on the breakfast menu that morning long ago—bread and fish. Nothing is more common in the world than bread nor anything more basic than fish. You’ll find those two simple food in almost any market anywhere in the world.

Jesus had told the disciples, “I am the bread that came down from heaven” (John 6:41). Almost 200 times the Bible talks about bread. Jesus taught the disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Something impresses me about the simplicity of this in relationship to my life and our world. Jesus demonstrated what He had taught: God is sufficient to provide for my daily needs, my emotional needs, and the bread and fish which keep me alive.

A closing thought: Bread is pretty basic. Flour, oil, salt and leavening are the principle ingredients.  But with fish, there are more than 20,000 varieties, an almost limitless array. So is it with the way God meets us. His answers and solutions to our daily needs come in a pretty diverse fashion.

Bread and fish, so simple, so basic, and so delightful. Can’t you smell the aroma of fish broiled over an open fire and bread freshly baked? What more could you ask?

Resource reading: John 21:1-14