Jesus’ breakfast on the beach is a liturgy. At this meal, Jesus renews fellowship with Peter, and re-incorporates him into the company of apostles.
Though Peter was estranged from Jesus because of his sin, Jesus forgives him and signifies His forgiveness by sharing a meal.
That’s what happens at the Lord’s table. We talk about worship as covenant-renewal, and that covenant renewal is focused at this table. “This cup is the new covenant in my blood,” Jesus said, and as we drink the cup we are restored in covenant fellowship with Jesus and with His people.
But the liturgy of that post-resurrection appearance at the sea doesn’t end with a meal. Jesus is not finished with Peter when He has forgiven him and shared the food of forgiveness.
After breakfast, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him, and tells him three times to feed the sheep of the new Israel. Before it’s over, Jesus tells Peter how he will die, how he will share the cross with his Lord.
Our time with Jesus does not end with the meal either. At this table, we renew fellowship with Him. But this table is not only for gathering; it’s also for sending. This table is not only for communion, but also for commissioning.
Better, the covenant-renewal that occurs at this table is simultaneously a commission, because having fellowship with Jesus means having fellowship in His mission and His martyrdom.
God sent that Eternal Word to become flesh, to die and rise again for the life of the world. At this table, we’re renewed in fellowship with that Word, that Risen Word, and like Him we are sent from here to witness unto death.
We commune at this table on the eighth day, the day after the Sabbath. We commune with the Risen Christ. But our participation with Christ is so intimate that we share in all He’s done, and by partaking of His sacrifice we become living sacrifices.
Communion with the Risen Jesus is always also communion in His cross.