At the end of the book of John, the resurrected Jesus appears yet again to His disciples. This time, He greets them from the shore as they return from a long, but fruitless, night of fishing. He calls out to them, "Friends! Try dropping your net on the other side!," as though they had spent their entire night perhaps not thinking of this. But for whatever reason, they do it, their nets become full to overflowing, and they realize the mysterious stranger on the shore is Jesus.
When they finally reach Him, He's already got breakfast on the fire. This is important. When the disciples come to Him, still hauling in their catch, Jesus is already cooking...fish. Of course, He is; He's Jesus. That's what He does. But it's what He does next that tells us even more about who He is:
He asks them to bring part of their catch and throw it on the fire, too.
He doesn't need it. He's already got fish, and if two tiny little fish are enough to feed thousands, then whatever He's got on the fire is more than enough to feed the disciples. Not to mention, fish doesn't take very long to cook. So what He's got going is probably very nearly done already, while whatever's in the new catch will still have to be cleaned and prepped before even thinking about throwing it on the fire.
Understanding all of this, asking for some of their fish is not only wildly unnecessary; it's also impractical. They just went from having a nice, decent breakfast with the resurrected Christ to having maybe too much to even eat, and pushing back mealtime by a good twenty minutes...at least.
Why, then? Why does Jesus, who already has enough fish and whose fish on the fire is ready to eat, ask for part of their catch?
Because Jesus wants what you have.
He wants what you're able, and willing, to offer Him. He wants to create a feast together with you, not just prepare and serve. He has at His fingertips every resource in all the world, but it's not enough; He wants you. And the only way He can have you is to make room for what you bring to the table. To invite you to come share in what He's preparing. To have you take part in all things, not just in the final production.
Our faith has always been this way, though we often miss it. WE know that Jesus has everything and is capable of everything, so it's tempting to just sort of leave it all up to Him. It's tempting to know that He can do whatever it is, so we just "trust" Him to do it, and we call that faith. In fact, we tell ourselves that if we feel like we have anything to bring to the party, it's somehow a lack of faith. It's somehow a question as to whether we believe Jesus is who He really says He is.
But this scene in John shows us quite the opposite. This scene in John shows us that Jesus wants us to participate. He doesn't need us. It's not necessary. But it's desired. It always has been. From the very beginning, God's been writing His story in such a way that you get to be part of it. Again, not because you have to be, but because He wants you to be. He desires you to be.
So come on shore. Smell the pleasing aroma of what Jesus has cooking. And then, throw a few of your own fish on the fire and join Him.
Seriously. He wants you to.
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