FreerangeFriday: At the Table with Jesus ….this time it’s a picnic table.

by Lilly Lewin
breakfast at the beach

By Lilly Lewin

It’s still Eastertide…Next week (May 9th) we will celebrate the Ascension of Jesus and his promise to come of the empowering Holy Spirit. It’s still Easter so we are invited to look at another story of resurrection about an early morning picnic!

One of my very favorite chapters in the Bible is John 21. for me it shows us just how much we are loved by Jesus. Even when we get frustrated. Even when we’ve betrayed our faith and our friend. Even when we don’t know what we are supposed to do next so we just go back to the old and familiar. Jesus knows just where to find us and isn’t afraid of our folly…like jumping into lakes with our clothes on! Instead, after fishing all night and catching nothing, Jesus provides a catch of abundance and the nets don’t break!


A while later, Creator Sets Free (Jesus) showed himself again to his followers by Lake of Circle of Nations (Sea of Galilee), also called Sea of Rolling Water (Sea of Tiberias).
2Stands on the Rock (Peter) along with other followers of Creator Sets Free (Jesus) had gathered there. With him were Looks Like His Brother (Thomas), Creator Gives (Nathanael) from Village of Reeds (Cana) in Circle of Nations (Galilee), the two sons of Gift of Creator (Zebedee), and two other followers.
3Stands on the Rock (Peter) said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They all agreed and said, “Take us with you.”
So they took a canoe out onto the lake. Under the light of the moon and stars they worked hard all night. Again and again they threw out their nets and drew them back in—empty.
4Just as the first light of day was dawning, Creator Sets Free (Jesus) came and stood on the shore. But they did not know it was he.
5“Friends,” he called out to them, “have you netted any fish?”
“No!” they answered.
6“Throw out your nets to the right of your canoe,” he shouted to them. “You will find some fish there.”
They did as he said, and the net was filled with so many fish they could not pull it into the canoe. 7He Shows Goodwill (John), the much-loved follower of Creator Sets Free (Jesus), said to Stands on the Rock (Peter), “It is our Wisdomkeeper!”
Stands on the Rock (Peter) had taken off his outer garment to fish. He put it back on and jumped into the water. 8The shore was not far, so the others made their way in, dragging the net full of fish behind the canoe.
They came to the shore and stepped out of the canoe. 9They saw a warm fire with fish cooking over the coals and some frybread to eat.
©lillylewin and

10Creator Sets Free (Jesus) looked up from cooking and said, “Bring me some of the fish you caught.”
11Stands on the Rock (Peter) climbed into the canoe and pulled the net to shore. The fish were large, and they counted them—one hundred and fifty-three in all! But even with so many fish the net did not tear.
12Creator Sets Free (Jesus) said, “Let us eat.”
They all sat down to eat, but no one dared ask, “Who are you?” They knew it must be their Wisdomkeeper.
13He took the frybread and gave some to each of them, along with a piece of fish. 14This was the third time he had shown himself to them after coming back to life from the dead.
15When they had finished eating, Creator Sets Free (Jesus) took Stands on the Rock (Peter) and sat down with him by the lake.
He spoke to him, using the name his family gave him, “One Who Hears (Simon), son of Gift of Kindness (John), do you love me more than the others love me?”
“Yes, Wisdomkeeper,” he answered, “you know I am your friend.”
“Then feed my lambs,” he said.
They sat looking out over the water and listening to the sound of the waves coming in to the shore.
16Then a second time Creator Sets Free (Jesus) asked, “One Who Hears (Simon), son of Gift of Kindness (John), do you love me?”
“Yes, Wisdomkeeper,” he answered him again, “you know how deeply I care for you.”
“Then watch over my sheep,” he said.
The sound of the water birds could be heard in the distance, and the sun felt warm as it rose higher in the sky. 17Creator Sets Free (Jesus) asked him a third time, “One Who Hears (Simon), Son of Gift of Kindness (John), do you love me as a friend?”
Stands on the Rock (Peter) felt his heart sink because he asked the third time, “Do you love me as a friend?” “Wisdomkeeper!” he said, “you know all things, you must know how deeply I care for you. I am your friend!” Creator Sets Free (Jesus) said to him again, “Feed my sheep.”
18Creator Sets Free (Jesus) then said to him, “I tell you from my heart, when you were a young man, you dressed yourself and walked wherever you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will dress you and take you to a place you do not want to go.”
19He was telling him the kind of death he would die, to bring honor to Creator.
Then he said to Stands on the Rock (Peter), “Come, walk the road with me.”
This was the same invitation he had given years earlier to Stands on the Rock (Peter) in Circle of Nations (Galilee) after the canoes had been filled with fish.

We listened and reflected on this passage at thinplace on Tuesday night. We listened to the passage in three translations and spent 15 minutes in silence reflecting on what God’s word was for each of us. During the sharing, my husband Rob noticed that there isn’t any shame in this encounter with Jesus. He has breakfast ready and he just wants to show love to his friends. Even to Peter! Jesus wants Peter to know that he really sees him for who he is. Jesus wants Peter to know that he sees him and loves him despite his betrayal. Another of the thinplace crew, Teri, noticed that Jesus uses Peter’s full name…Simon son of John rather than Peter…Like Peter…Jesus knows who we are and where we come from…He cares about the details! Both where we’ve come from and where we are now!

Interesting that Jesus doesn’t tell Peter to pray more or work harder. Jesus doesn’t say memorize more Torah, or sing more worship songs. He doesn’t say…I’m really mad at you Peter! I can’t believe what you did Peter! Nope! Jesus asks him questions and invites him to feed his sheep. And the command in verse 19 is FOLLOW! He tells Peter to follow him. Jesus’s command to Peter is “ Come, walk the road with me.” How would that change Churchland if we really walked the road with Jesus?
Companionship and purpose ! Remember Peter? Follow and do the things Jesus does!

I love that we are invited to Follow. We are invited to walk the road WITH Jesus! This means we are not living this life alone! Jesus is on the road with us! And we don’t need to be afraid when we screw up and make mistakes or when we go back to old things. Jesus makes a fire, and invites us to join him again at a picnic table to receive his friendship and his love.



Plan a picnic. You can do this with friends or family or on your own.
A picnic breakfast around or near some water would be perfect.
But you can just take a blanket outside to a grassy spot and it will be just fine.
Or if you have a fire pit or place for an outside fire, plan your picnic with Jesus there.
READ and/or LISTEN to the story in John 21.
What do you notice? What does the Holy Spirit speak to you about from this passage?
Sit with Jesus…just be present with him.
Listen to the sounds
Notice the scents
Pay attention to the beauty of creation, even simple things are sacred and beautiful.
Let Jesus speak to you of his great love for you.

I don’t think Jesus was in a hurry at this picnic. So don’t be in a hurry.
I don’t think he was like “I’ve finished with Peter, now let’s get on with the clean up guys!”

Maybe they sat around that fire and told stories about their time together.
Maybe they remembered all the other times Jesus showed up around fish and bread! Providing abundance! And took time to be thankful.
Perhaps they asked a lot questions…I know I would!

Think about how Jesus has provided for you in recent days. Take time to notice and be thankful.

How do you need Jesus to provide for you right now? Talk to him about this.

Sitting across the picnic table with Jesus, what questions do you have for him? Take time to ask Jesus and spend time listening to his answers.

Be Still
Receive his love for you just as you are, right where you are!

You are Invited…on a picnic…to join Jesus at this outdoor table! To be fed and to be restored! Happy Easter.

Jesus provides

Keep an empty plate or a bowl or basket out on your counter or coffee table this week to remind you of how Jesus provides for you IN ABUNDANCE!  Remember that he already had fish. He already had breakfast prepared so he knows what you need!

LISTEN TO MORE: NT WRIGHT ON this passage (about 7 min)

MAIN PHOTO: By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

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