Jesus' Miracle Catch of Fish (John 21:1-25)
Miracle Catch of Fish
Verse 1-2: "After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way."
The Sea of Tiberias, also known as the Sea of Galilee, is where Jesus did several miracles, and is where He Walked on Water, calmed the stormy sea, and fed the five thousand.
In this lesson, which is after the resurrection, Jesus reveals Himself once again to the disciples by performing yet another miracle.
Verse 2-3: "Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3Simon 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."
We aren't given all the names, but seven of Jesus' disciples were together.
When Peter announced that he was going fishing, they decided to go with him. It was common practice to fish at night and to sell the fish on the morning market.
They fished all night and didn't catch a thing! These were professional fishermen, at least some of them were, so it must have been very discouraging for them to fish all night and not caught anything.
Verse 4: "Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus."
It was not yet full daylight, and the disciples being about a hundred yards offshore did not recognize Jesus.
Verse 5: "Jesus said to them, "Children, do you have any fish?" They answered him, "No."
Jesus was obviously full of affection when He refereed to His disciples as "children," or perhaps he was speaking of their newly acquired relationship with the family of God after Jesus had them receive the Holy Spirit in the last lesson).
Either way, we can be sure that Jesus was not yet through with those men, and had no intention of allowing them to return to the fishing business.
Verse 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."
Most fishing nets in those days were made of rope woven from substances like flax or hemp; it was thought that nets had a narrow end pulled by the men in the boat and a wider end sunk by attached wider weights. IVP Bible Background
When they obeyed Jesus they caught so many fish the boat couldn't hold them all.
Verse 7: "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."
John, the author of this Gospel, was the first to recognized Jesus, but it was Peter who, learning that it was Jesus and knowing that it was a miracle, could not wait on the boat.
Men wore an inner and an outer garment, so Peter put on his outer garment, (some say coat) and jumped into the water.
Verse 8: "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."
Being a hundred yards off shore the water would have been too deep to wade, which would have required Peter to swim. The things we know of Peter indicated that he was a very robust individual who, though fully clothed, evidently thought nothing of swimming a hundred yards.
Verses 9-10: "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."
Here, as in chapter 6, Jesus provides again, and invites them to share their catch as well. Don't you think that meal was prepared in perfection with just the right spices or sauce to make it delicious?
Verse 11: "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."
By obeying Jesus and finding More fish than they could have possibly caught any other way means this was a Miracle Catch of Fish. The net's not breaking is yet another miracle.
Verses 12-13: "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."
Jesus invited them to what must have been a very dramatic and profound breakfast. Overwhelmed by His Holy presence, enriched with memories and the realization that He was indeed the Messiah, they discreetly observed a befitting silence in His holy presence.
Verse 14: "This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead."?
This was the third time after the Resurrection that Jesus had appeared and revealed to the disciples that He was the Messiah.
Feed My Lambs
After breakfast Jesus said to Peter "Simon, son of John," (translated from "Simon Bar-Jonah)," "do you love me more than these?" This was the same name Jesus used for Peter in what is know as "Peter's "great confession" in (Matt 16:16), when he said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God". This must have been very difficult and emotional for Peter.
Although Peter answers Jesus' question "do you love me" in the positive, three consecutive times, Jesus wanted answers that represented his true feelings and motives.
"Do you love me more than these:" The word for love here in Greek is: agape: a volitional, self-sacrificial love. Are you now willing to forsake all theses and go and preach my gospel to the nations of the earth? Jesus was referring to the statement Peter had made before His death, "Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended" (Matt 26:33) KJV.
"you know that I love you:" Peter is no longer making claims to a love superior to his brethren. Still he knew to appeal to Jesus, the 'Searcher of the heart and say that He knew that he loved Him.
Most scholars agree that two words were used in this Scripture for the word "love." Jesus asked Peter for an agape love, a (volitional, self-sacrificial love), but Peter answers with phileo, which means: affection, affinity, or brotherly love.
Verse 16: "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."
Again Jesus asks Peter if he loves him with an agape love and again Peter, not understanding, answers that he loves Him, but with a phileo love.
Verse 17: "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.'
This, the third time, Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him with the phileo love, and seemed to be asking "are you even my friend?"
At this stage Peter was himself a follower, a sheep. The kind of love Jesus was looking for would be demonstrated by obedience and commitment to Him and a service to His people.
Hence forward, Peter was one of the most firm and unwavering of all the apostles.
Agape was a godly love that Peter did not comprehend. Later, after the Holy Spirit had imparted to him the fuller understanding of agape love, he used the agape/agapao words nine times in his writings.
Verse 18-19: "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. 19(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."
This prediction/prophesy indicates that Peter will not have control even over dressing himself for a journey - in this case, being prepared for execution. For glorifying God in martyrdom.
Ancient writers say that Peter was put to death about thirty-four years after this. His precise age at that time is not known.
Tradition declares that he was crucified for his faith in Rome under Nero about A.D. 64. And that he was crucified upside down because he did not feel worthy of dying as Jesus did.
Clemens says that he was led to the crucifixion with his wife, and sustained her in her sufferings by exhorting her to remember the example of her Lord. He also adds that he died, not as the philosophers did, but with a firm hope of heaven, and patiently endured the pangs of the cross
The Beloved Apostle
The disciple whom Jesus loved has been identified earlier in this study as the apostle John.
Verse 21-22: "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!"
The point is that Jesus has the right to choose who will be martyred and who will survive. According to tradition, John was one of the few original apostles to escape martyrdom.
Verse 23: "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?"
Jesus' reply seemed to the disciples to be an implication that John would survive until the second coming of the Lord. John corrects this misinterpreted statement in verse 23.
Verse 24: "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."
This is considered my most scholars to positively identify John as being both the eye witness and the author of the Gospel of John.
Verse 25: "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."