“When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it and bread.” – John 21: 9
Recently, I have watched a lot of movies trying out my new DVD player and taking advantage of Netflix. However, no writer or director could have scripted any better the final chapter of the Gospels. After reading all about the Crucifixion and the passion of Christ, we come to the final scene. The disciples are fishing in the dark of night and cannot catch a thing. Then the darkness is broken by the flicker of a charcoal fire on the sand. Jesus is standing on the shore waiting to greet his friends, he has fixed them breakfast, and on the horizon there are the first pale traces of the sun getting ready to rise. All of a sudden, the nets are full of fish, Peter dives in the water to swim ashore, and old friends are reunited. They feast, and then Jesus charges his disciples with their mission. The scene closes as they walk away from the shore together, leaving the narrator alone. All we need is a little John Williams finale, and the credits to role.
Seriously, John and the early compilers of the Gospels choose to end the “Good News” with a beginning, not an end. They are like a good producer, who finishes the movie with the prelude to the sequel. We have been given wonderful guidance in the stories of the Gospel, and now we are to take this guidance and bring it into our everyday lives. Our problems that seemed insurmountable, now appear in an entirely different light. We have been given a new perspective of life. We suddenly see from a different vantage point, how precious, rare and poignant life can be, and are ashamed for having let ourselves be consumed by petty grudges and fleeting temptations.
John ends his Gospel with the beginning of a new day. He invites us to eat breakfast, and then walk with God, as we go forth and “Tend his flock.”