Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples
21 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Jesus and Peter
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
Jesus and the Beloved Apostle
Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”
This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
John 21 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Peter had denied his friend and Lord. He had acted in his flesh and in fear. He had disappointed Jesus. Yet, Jesus met Peter exactly where he was that morning on the beach in all the turmoil. Scripture reveals elsewhere that Jesus met privately with Peter during those 40 days of which the conversation has remained private. But still here Peter found himself back on the Sea of Galilee, back to his old career and truly I think wrestling with his own thoughts. Yes, Jesus had that conversation with him but still… could Jesus or more to the point would Jesus retract the calling on his life?
The answer is found in this moment on the shores of Galilee. A definitive no. Jesus still was there and still had plans for Peter even though he had denied and failed him. What is evident is Jesus forgave Peter. He restored him despite all that had happened and a calling was laid before him.
We each fail Jesus. We have been self-centered in our own ways and thoughts. Our behaviors have often taken us places where we are far from His presence. The psalms tell us the Lord is pleased with a broken and contrite spirit, where we are broken before him in true sorrow for our choices and lives. Miraculously, He doesn’t want us to stay there.
This is the grace of Jesus we cannot fathom or comprehend. For no matter how we’ve failed Jesus, he still offers forgiveness. But it doesn’t stop there. He restores and calls us forward still to the plans He had all along. You see, He knew our failures would come. He knew we would do what we did. And He stands on the shoreline of our lives as we are possibly adrift at sea of our own failure and beckons us to sit and eat. He speaks His plans as we come out on the other side and experience His unbelievable grace.
John 21 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Even after His resurrection, Jesus was still teaching His disciples.
Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.John 21:5-6 ESV
They had been out all night and caught nothing. This isn’t like you or me going out fishing. These men were experts of their craft. There is no doubt it was depressing and frustrating. Have you had days like this where everything seems to go wrong? Even the task you have done a million times fails.
Then Jesus shows up. Bam! They haul in more fish than they can carry. What was He teaching them?
Jesus’ teachings always had deep spiritual significance. If He were to ask us if we’ve caught anything (spiritually-speaking) with our own skills and in our own strength, I hope you would answer the same as the disciples. No. Humanity has been at this thing called life for years and still cannot figure out how to produce anything of lasting value in our own strength.
This is the last recorded miracle of Jesus. He commands them to fish on the other side. They didn’t need a new boat or a new net. They didn’t need more time or more energy. They needed divine direction. They, just like us, needed Jesus.
The more compelling aspect of this story is that Jesus came and found them. He made the first move. It was up to the disciples to trust Him and cast their nets to the other side. The same is true for us.