In those disappointments which to us are very grievous, our Master often has designs that are very gracious. They are happy and successful in their work who know how to take hints from Him, for nothing can be lost but much gained by following His orders.
Before Christ can commit His sheep to our care, He would have us examine the love of our hearts toward Him. If we would try whether we are true disciples of His, let us ask ourselves the question, “Do we really love Jesus?”
1 After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.
2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.
4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.
5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.
6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.
8 And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.
9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.
11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.
12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.
13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.
14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
15 ¶ So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
24 This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
John 21:1-2 – J. Vernon McGee
John 21:3 – J. Vernon McGee
John 21:4-11 – J. Vernon McGee
John 21:12-17 – J. Vernon McGee
John 21:18-25 – J. Vernon McGee
John 21:1-9 – The Miraculous Draught of Fishes
It would almost seem as if the Apostles thought that the radiant vision of Christ was withdrawn forever; or did they think that they would glorify Him best, and be most likely to encounter Him, if they returned to the paths of ordinary toil? This miracle closely corresponds to that recorded in Luke 5, and proves that the methods of the risen Lord are not unlike those of His earthly ministry. Still He stands on the shore in the morning haze, to comfort the hearts of discouraged workers, telling them where to cast their net and revealing the certainty of His help. The eyes that love as John loved are the quickest to descry his presence. He thinks not only of our spoils, but of us, and provides for our sustenance and comfort—not bread only, but fish and a fire. Is not this a picture of the believer’s death?—the plunge into the cold stream of dividing water; the welcome on the other shore; the discovery that Christ had expected and prepared; and the feast with the Lord Himself, as He girds Himself to minister. —Through the Bible Day by Day
John 21:7—Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord.
This miracle was also a parable. When we go fishing apart from Jesus, we may indeed toil all the night and take nothing. But when through the darkness Jesus comes, and speaks to us across the wave, and tells us where to let down the nets; when we are in blessed partnership with Himself; when, though we see Him not, we obey his slightest promptings—then the nets are filled to their uttermost.
Those who are loved, love.—It was the consciousness that Jesus loved him which made John the Apostle of Love. Love casts such a wondrous spell over its objects, that they begin to shine in its rays and reflect them. Nothing will make a coal glow with Beat but to plunge it into the heart of the fire. Do you want to love the Lord Jesus?—dwell on his love to you.
Those who love Christ see Him.—Not Peter, the man of eager action, but John, the man of devoted love, saw the Master amid the haze that lay on the lake shore. Love will penetrate every disguise; will detect Him by the slightest sign; will strip from our eyes the film that sense and sin draw over them. If you loved Him more, you would see his hand in that disappointment, that crushing sorrow.
Those who seek Christ cannot keep it to themselves.—They must tell it out to their next companion, with beating heart and thrilling speech. John said unto Peter, It is the Lord. How often has the affirmation of a pensive, quiet heart been the torch to ignite all the soul of another, who was more fitted to execute than plan. Is not this what we may all experience as we draw near to eternity? Shall we not see Jesus standing on the shore, with preparations beyond all thought, to welcome us as we arrive from the night cruise? —Our Daily Homily
John 21:10-19 – “Lovest Thou Me?”
Christ thrice questioned Peter’s love, thus giving him the opportunity of canceling his threefold denial. There are two Greek words for “love.” In His questions our Lord chose the higher, while Peter in his replies humbly chose the lower till in His third question our Lord came down to his level. Christ forecasted the hatred and opposition of the world, and suggested to Peter and the rest that the only way to combat and overcome was in the fervent love that they had for Him. Only this could give them the necessary tenderness and delicacy in leading and feeding the flock. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Every soul has its calvary and that crucial hour in each life will witness the peaceful, forgiving, trustful spirit that was seen in Jesus, or it will witness the hateful, furious appalling dissolution that came to the unrepentant companion of his cross. “Follow me,” he cries from the scene of his crucifixion. “Follow me through the carpenter shop of Nazareth and the sick room of Nain and the street riots of Capernaum and the tears of Gethsemane.” We should expect no share in the fruits of Christ’s death, unless we participate in the work of his life. The cross is a meaningless symbol until we approach it over the pathway of humility, trust, self-denial and obedience.
“Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born,
But not within thyself, thy soul shall be forlorn.
The cross on Golgotha thou lookest to in vain,
If not within thyself it be set up again.”
John 21:20-25 – The Testimony of a Beloved Follower
Having cautioned Peter, our Lord seems to have moved away, bidding Peter follow—a mandate intended to convey a deeper meaning. John followed some steps in the rear. Hearing footsteps, Peter turned and was seized with curiosity to see how far the future experiences of John and himself would agree. At once, without gratifying his curiosity, our Lord explained that the life-plan of His servants is determined by His will–If I will. It is equally certain that His arrangements for us are carefully adjusted to our nature, our special characteristics, and the service which we are best able to render. Peter was to be the Apostle of the tried and suffering. John was to behold and declare the apocalyptic vision of the Living Church. The one, contrary to his native disposition, wrote the Epistle of patient waiting; the other pictured the triumphant advent of the Son of God. —Through the Bible Day by Day