BY PR DR JEREMY CHEW
When I was growing up, it was common to hear people greet one another by asking “Jiak Ba Buay?” (Have you eaten?) Back then times were tough, I was told, and that’s why people asked whether you had eaten even though you obviously still had the Char Kuay Tiao that you ta pao from the hawker centre in your hand. While the obsession with food has not declined over time, the use of the phrase “Jiak Ba Buay?” is slowly disappearing from the scene.
It was a few days after the first Easter. Life was slowing down into a humdrum routine. “I’m going fishing,” Peter said. “We’ll come too,” the other disciples followed. John’s Gospel tells us that they fished the whole night but caught nothing. Humdrum.
Jesus waited for the disciples to come back. He shouted to them from the shore, “Throw your net on the starboard side!” The disciples listened to Him and they had a huge catch. There were so many fish that they had difficulty hauling in the net. “It’s the Lord!” John shouted out to Peter. Jesus is here! The humdrum slowly dissipated.
When the disciples came back to land, Jesus had already prepared breakfast. No, Jesus did not ask the disciples “Jiak Ba Buay?” “Come and have breakfast” was what He said. In Singlish we would say “Jiak, jiak!” (Eat, eat.) We are not told what went through the minds of the disciples except that they all knew full well that it was the Lord whom they had met. The hands that served them bread and fish that morning were the same hands that served them bread and wine some days ago. These were the same pair of hands that had healed the sick and held back the storm. These were the hands that were nailed to the cross. In these hands, the humdrum of fishing turned into a miracle breakfast.
But Jesus was not done yet. He spoke to Peter. Three times He asked Peter if the disciple loved Him. Three times, Jesus gave instructions to Peter to care for or feed His people.
Do not miss the point, the point about feeding. Jesus fed His disciples. In turn, the disciples were to feed His people. Easter has passed, but let us not return to the humdrum of life. Let us continue to feed on His Word. If you have not already been doing so, join one of the fellowship groups or one of the Bible Study ministries and continue to be fed by God’s Word. And if you are already in one of these groups, let us encourage those who are not. Let’s spur one another on by asking one another the next time we meet “Jiak Ba Buay?”