John 21:1-14 – The Miraculous Catch
Jesus had told the disciples to go to Galilee and wait there for Him. So after the resurrection seven of the disciples went to Galilee and waited for Christ. Scripture doesn’t tell us where the others were. Peter decided to go fishing and the others followed. They worked all night, but didn’t catch any fish. Then early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore. He called out to them and asked why they had not caught any fish, but they didn’t recognize Him. They answered, “No”. Then He told them to throw their net on the right side of the boat and they would find fish. They did and there were so many fish they were unable to haul the net into the boat. (John 21:1-6)
The disciples gave up waiting and went back to what they knew - fishing. We grow impatient waiting on God sometime and go back to our old familiar ways. God has commanded us to be still and to patiently wait on Him. They could have waited by praying and trusting Him.
How often have you worked hard and had nothing to show for it?
Do you get frustrated when your prayers are not answered when you think they should be?
Do you trust God and patiently wait on His timing?
Where has Jesus directed you to spend time fishing for people?
They were experienced fishermen and were frustrated when they had not caught any fish. They answered Jesus’ question with a discouraging “no”. Jesus wasn’t looking for information. He knew they didn’t catch any fish. He wanted them to recognize they didn’t have the ability on their own. They needed Jesus’ help. Just as we need His help. Remember He said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5. The lesson here is if you do what Jesus commands, He will bless you.
Then John recognized it was Jesus and said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” – John 21:7. As soon as Peter heard this he jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat with a net full of fish. John tells us it was 153 fish. When they landed at the shore, Jesus was there with a fire of burning coals where bread and fish were already cooking. He invited them to come for breakfast and to bring what they had caught. They knew who He was and never questioned Him. Then Jesus gave thanks for the bread and fish. This was the 3rd time Jesus had appeared to His disciples after His resurrection. (John 21:7-14)
Peter was so excited to see Jesus that he dives into the sea. Then he drags the net of fish all by himself onto the shore. When Jesus tells you to do something, He will always provide you with strength and the means to do it. He will enable you. Your job is to obey in faith. He will do the rest. He supplied them with their lots of fish meeting their physical needs. He always provides us with our needs. The disciples were probably discouraged as they waited for Jesus. He encouraged them by His appearance and by the miraculous catch of fish.
Jesus used the work of fishing to the work they were called to do. He said that He would make them fishers of men. “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matt. 4:19.
John 21:15-17 – Peter's Commission
After they finished eating, Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loved Him. Each time Peter answered, “yes”. Jesus told him to “Feed my lambs”, “Take care of my sheep”, “Feed my sheep” – John 21:15-17.
Jesus had privately appeared to Peter after the resurrection and restored him. But now Jesus wanted to publicly restore Peter as He commissioned him as a leader. Jesus showed love and kindness when He questioned Peter. Three times Peter denied Jesus so Jesus asked him 3 times if he loved Him. This showed Peter and the other disciples that Peter’s sins were forgiven. He did this publicly so they wouldn’t question Peter’s leadership in the future. I am sure this humbled Peter as he looked back on his sin. It is always humbling when we look back at our past sins. Jesus knew he was grieving over his denials and He wanted him to know he was truly forgiven. Loving Jesus because He has forgiven all your sins is essential for serving Him.
This love is referring to God’s love for people and our love for Him. It is Agape love. It’s an unconditional love. It’s the kind of love that sacrifices itself for others.
“My lambs and My sheep” is referring to the church – to all believers. We are not to put down other Christians even though some are self-centered and difficult to be around. Sometimes we are not all lovable. Jesus loved them enough to die of them so we have to love them, too.
John 21:18-25 – The Reliable Witness
Jesus tells Peter that from now on his life will change. He predicted Peter would die because of his faith. He would die stretching out his hands (meaning crucifixion). Peter asked Jesus what will happen to John. Jesus told him that it was none of his business as to what happens to John. “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” – John 21:18-19.
Jesus knew what would happen to Peter, which proves that He knows all things. His sovereign plan determines the future. Following Jesus doesn’t guarantee and easy life or a peaceful death. We all have to die, but our aim should be to glorify God even in death.
Peter asked what would happen to John. Maybe it was out of curiosity or maybe concern. Maybe he was like us comparing ourselves to others. Peter was not to be concerned with John. We are not to concern or compare ourselves with others. We all serve Him differently. He determines how we serve Him and how we die. He uses each person differently based on our individual needs, personality and the work He has for us.
How are you comparing yourself to others?
Verse 22 started a rumor that John wouldn’t die before Christ’s return. That is not what Jesus said and John addresses this in verse 23, which is believed to have been added later to the book.
“This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.” – John 21:24. John is speaking of himself. He said there are so many other things which Jesus did that he didn’t write down, because the world would not have room for all the books that would be written. (John 21:25).
John assured us that he is an eyewitness to these accounts. He is testifying to the truthfulness to all he has written. He wants us to believe his testimony and put our faith in Jesus, the Son of God and our Lord and Savior.
Have you put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savor and Lord?
If so, are you trusting Him for your future?
How are you putting into practice the truth about Jesus?
Jesus disciplines us to restore us to fruitful service.
Jesus knows your heart. Will you ask Him to clean it so you can feed His sheep?
God uses each person differently based on our individual needs, personality and with work He has for us.
This is the last study on John. What a wonderful study it was! I love this book. It is my favorite. Join me next time for more Bible studies and devotions. I’m not sure what I will post on next, but I hope you will join me. In the fall we will do the book of Romans, which is another great book of the Bible. Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site. Hope to see you here next time.
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