Not by Bread Alone: A 31-Day series · Recipes

Day twenty-four: Breakfast on the beach

“Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples dared ask him, ‘Who are you?’

They knew it was the Lord.” John 21:12

My dad makes the best oatmeal.

When I got married and was really cooking a lot for the first time, it was one of the first recipes I called home for. (That and my mom’s cinnamon cake.) Now, because it’s filling, inexpensive, and delicious, I make it almost every week for my family. It’s great year-round, but it makes an especially satisfying breakfast on those first freezing mornings of the winter. Knowing there was a warm bowl of cereal with cinnamon and brown sugar waiting for me at the kitchen table was the only thing that got me out of bed a lot of those cold mornings when I was growing up.

Maybe that’s why breakfast has such a special place in my heart. Or maybe it’s because when I was a new mom, and struggling with our routine as a family, a seasoned pastor’s wife told me that they never managed to have regular family dinners because of her husband’s schedule, so they made family breakfasts a priority instead. That stuck with me.

Nowadays, we split the difference – on any given week, we have an average of three or four breakfasts together at home and the same number of dinners.

But even so, I love breakfast. I could eat it three times a day, seven days a week, and I don’t think I would ever get tired of it. There are so many delicious choices: biscuits and gravy, French toast, bacon and eggs, pancakes, quiche, fish….

Wait. What?

That’s what the Bible says that Jesus fixed for his disciples. It must be a cultural thing, because I think that sounds kind of gross, but I would probably try it if Jesus was offering it to me.

Especially if I had been one of the disciples.

After the last meal they shared with him, all the disciples but John had abandoned Jesus. Peter snuck behind the entourage of soldiers to see what happened, but when a slave girl made him as one of Jesus’ followers, he denied any association with his Rabbi. Three times.

Now, they knew Jesus was alive again, but they weren’t quite sure what that meant for them, so they went back to the only thing they did know: fishing. Except, after following Jesus for so long, it would seem they didn’t know that anymore, either, because they did not catch anything. All night long.

And then Jesus showed up.

Before they knew who he was, he gave them some fishing advice, and they hit the jackpot. One hundred fifty-three large fish were in the net, and they knew that the Lord had met them, once again, on the sea of Galilee. They landed their boat less Peter, who had already taken off running toward Jesus, and came to have breakfast with Jesus on the beach.

I wonder if it was hard for any of the disciples to make eye contact with Jesus while they ate. I wonder if any of them were thinking back to the last meal they’d shared with him, and how he had said they would all desert him, and how he had been right. But I know for sure what they would have seen if they had dared to lift their faces and behold the risen Jesus.

Only love.

The breakfast Jesus offered them was not some bait-and-switch, some way to have an opportunity to tell them all just exactly what he thought about being left alone to be tortured and executed like a criminal. No, Jesus freely offered them the food and his time, just as he freely offered them his forgiveness and salvation.

Let’s go do the same.

And if oatmeal sounds good for breakfast tomorrow, here’s my dad’s recipe:

3 cups cold water
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or steel-cut)
1 spice tea bag
¼ to ½ cup brown sugar
½ to 1 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

Put spice tea bag in water and bring to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add oats, and let cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until oats are soft and all water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Serve with milk

Makes 4 servings


This post is part of a 31-day series. A list of all the other posts in this series can be found here.


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