Jesus Is Lord Of Our Lives!
Jesus is Lord of our lives; Jesus is Lord of our service; Jesus is Lord of our future. He allows no selfishness to stand in the way of those who would follow him in full obedience.
John has now recorded three post-resurrection appearances of Jesus: to Mary, to the disciples that first Sunday night, and a second time to the disciples with Thomas present. Now we see a different scene as Jesus visited his spiritual brothers as they followed their vocation. He demonstrated his friendship at a seaside breakfast with seven disciples present. Jesus disclosed himself to them through a miracle and John announced to Peter, “It is the Lord” (v. 7).
Breakfast by the Sea
After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: 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 are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.
John 21:1-3 (NKJV)
Seven of the disciples participated in this event:
- John, and
- Two unnamed disciples.
If we consider geography and occupation, on the basis of chapter 1 we might plug Andrew and Philip into those vacant slots. This was no important event. They were just “hanging out,” and for them, that meant fishing. But it was not a good night for the nets: in fact, they caught nothing.
Only John used the name Sea of Tiberias for the Sea of Galilee, and he even corrected himself on the title in John 6:1. As we have noted earlier, this body of water was also called the Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1).
There were together. Probably residing in the same place. While they were waiting for the promise of the Holy Spirit, they still found it proper to be usefully employed. Their Master had been taken away by death, and the promised Spirit had not descended on them.
In the interval—before the promised Spirit was poured upon them—they chose not to be idle, and therefore returned to their former employment. It is to be remarked, also, that they had no other means of support. While with Jesus, they were commonly supplied by the kindness of the people; but now, when the Saviour had died, they were cut off from this means of support, and returned to the honest labour of their early lives.
Moreover, they had been directed by the Saviour to repair to a mountain in Galilee, where he would meet them, Matthew 28:10. This was probably not far from the Sea of Galilee, so that, until he came to them, they would naturally be engaged in their old employment.
Ministers of the gospel should be willing to labour, if necessary, for their own support, and should not esteem such labour dishonourable. God has made employment indispensable to man, and if the field of labour is not open in one way, they should seek it in another. If at any time the people withhold the supply of their wants, they should be able and willing to seek support in some other honest occupation.
That night they caught nothing. This was so ordered in the providence of God that the miracle, which was wrought, might appear more remarkable.
As morning was breaking, Jesus [came and] stood on the beach; however, the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish [to eat along with your bread]?” They answered, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat (starboard) and you will find some. “So they cast [the net], and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great catch of fish.
John 21:4-6 (AMP)
Here we find a scene similar to what we saw in chapter 20 with Mary. These disciples, having seen the risen Lord twice, did not recognize him on shore. Let us not read anything mystical into the text. It could have been dark, or at least dusk. Perhaps there was some mist on the water. The text says they saw someone on the shore but could not tell who it was.
John would never forget the suggestion by this stranger to throw your net on the right side of the boat. How many times that night they had dropped the net on the right side of the boat, then the left, then the right, then the left again – all to no avail. With nothing to lose, they dropped the net and hauled in what some interpreters have suggested would have been over three hundred pounds of fish. Presumably that figure represents what first-century fishing nets might hold.
Was this another miracle?
Jesus did not say, “Why not try your luck one more time on the right side of the boat?”
He knew exactly what would be there, and he exercised divine omniscience for his friends.
Therefore the disciple, the one Jesus loved, said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tied his outer garment around him (for he was stripped) and plunged into the sea. But since they were not far from land (about 100 yards away), the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish. When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread.
John 21:7-9 (HCSB)
Notice that the disciples put the net down without knowing who had suggested the right side. As soon as they saw the results, they responded in character – John with a word to Peter and Peter jumping into the water. The Greek word for outer garment is used only here in the New Testament. We should not presume that Peter was naked before this moment, though some have surmised that.
Morris suggests, “The probability here is that the word means that parts of the body normally covered were exposed so that Peter was not naked but rather ‘stripped for work’ (RSV, cited in Barclay). This may mean that he wore a loin cloth, or perhaps a sleeveless tunic which would not impede his movements”.
The act of putting on this cloak seems precisely the reverse of what we might do before jumping into the water from a boat. But the cultural significance of the outer garment seems important here for the Jews. Greeting in general was a religious act, which required that a person be clothed. The greeting of the resurrected Son of God surely compelled Peter to follow the best protocol he could muster in an awkward situation.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three [of them]; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared to ask Him, “Who are You?” They knew [without any doubt] that it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples, after He had risen from the dead.
John 21:10-14 (AMP)
The eight friends enjoyed breakfast together that day. The menu required some of the freshly caught fish in addition to what Jesus had already prepared. John, a professional fisherman, seemed amazed that they could pull in 153 large fish without the net breaking (another distinction from Luke 5). What a wonderful morning that must have been. These disciples (Thomas among them) experienced a new level of rest and comfort with the Lord’s resurrection and presence.
The author designated this as the third time that Jesus was manifested. In accord with the Jewish law that two or three witnesses establish the truth, John presented three accounts of Jesus’ resurrection appearance. But later many different appearances took place (1 Cor. 15:5-8).
Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament
Holman New Testament Commentary
The Moody Bible Commentary