1Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way:
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.
14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
These verses seem very familiar. Jesus is providing a meal of fish and bread, but the details are very different than the feeding of thousands. There is not a massive crowd involved in this scene. The servants then, are the receivers now. Now it’s a small group of tired and hungry men in a boat returning from a long night of fishing with only an empty net and a man on the shore cooking a breakfast of fish and bread.
Maybe it was the unfamiliar circumstances or just the distance between them “but the disciples did not realize it was Jesus.” These men had been “caught” and taught by Jesus but now there’s this “recognition” issue. It’s easy to understand the physical presence of Jesus on that beach was unexpected but were they already losing their sense of intimacy with Him too? I wonder about that. “This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.”
Most of these fishermen/disciples would have seen the Risen Jesus with their own eyes at least once before this moment. But it took the filling of that empty net to trigger the memory of “the disciple whom Jesus loved” to recognize “It is the Lord!” The most overlooked mystery of faith may well be that “None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord” because of what they remembered.
That seems like an object lesson for why we set aside these 40 days of Lent. We need to know and remember “WHO” Jesus is, not just that He IS, in order to have an intimate relationship with Him. Intimacy with Jesus is the byproduct of remembering what He’s already done so even in the most the unexpected circumstances of life we’re able to recognize His presence.