The disciples of Jesus (Peter, James, John, Thomas, Nathaniel, and the rest) / they were not children. They were grown up. They were adults.
Then why does Jesus call them “Children”? It's kind of strange isn't it? It's strange, not only because the disciples aren't really children, / but it's also strange, because Jesus, who isn't a father, calls out to them on the boat as if He is their Father. “Children, did you catch any fish, yet?,” He says. He speaks to them in a familiar and commanding tone, just as any father would do with his own children. And He expects an answer. It is as if He sent them out there / and He wants them to report back to Him, how they are doing.
And here's another strange thing: / if someone who wasn't your father or your grandfather would call out to you, would you answer them like you would answer your father or grandfather? No. Right? You have a special relationship with your father and grandfather. / But the disciples DO answer back to Jesus in this way.
It is a mystery indeed. But it can be explained like this:
This story happened after Jesus had risen from the dead; after He had appeared to the disciples twice already. Now, before Jesus was crucified, He told His disciples about a special relationship that He had with God, the heavenly Father. He told them that God the Father sent Him to earth. And when the Father sent Jesus to earth, He also gave Jesus the words that He should say while He was here. He told them that when his disciples hear the voice of Jesus, they are really hearing the voice of the Father. That is why Jesus calls them “children,” / because Jesus is speaking for the heavenly Father. He was always speaking for the heavenly Father.
This is why the disciples answer Jesus like they are answering the Father, because they believe Jesus does speak the Father's word. And this is why they act so much like children when they realize that it is Jesus who is standing there on the shore, calling out to them.
Did you notice how childish they acted. Peter was so excited that he couldn't even wait for the boat to get to shore. He acted kind of like an excited little child waiting for his daddy to get home from work. When His daddy swings open the back, the child jumps up from whatever he is doing and screams, “Daddy” and runs over to him as fast as he can.
Peter jumped in the water, excited to see Jesus, because He believed Jesus is God. He wanted to embrace Him, to kiss Him, to tell Him all about his day.
And then, calmly, what does Jesus do? Well, just like any father does, He provides food for the children to eat. And He eats with them, too, showing them again that it really is Him, and that He really did rise from dead.
All is well. Jesus is with them. And because Jesus is with them, so is the Father.
And Jesus continued to be with them. The Apostles were the first pastors. When Jesus sent the first pastors out into the world, He told them this: “when the people hear you, they hear me.”
And Jesus is still sending pastors. Jesus' voice is still going out into all the world through pastors, all over the world, / even here / in this part of the world. Jesus even sends you pastors. And your pastors call out to you, “children, how is your work going? Are you catching fish, obeying your parents, doing your homework, and your chores?” But not only that. Your pastors also has been given the responsibility of providing food. And so he does. And he invites you to come and eat with him.
In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.