Christ appears to his disciples. (Verse 1-14.)
His discourse with Peter. (Verse 15-19.)
Christ’s declaration concerning John. (Verse 20-24.)
The conclusion. (Verse 25.)
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.
Once again Peter returns to his fishing and just as the last time Peter toils all night and catches nothing. Remember, Peter is supposed to be a fisher of men now.
What is he doing? Contemplating returning to the simpler life? No! He was simply working while he was awaiting further instructions.
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.
Was it Jesus that withheld the fish until this time? Absolutely! Without Christ we can do nothing! Was he trying to help reassure those that may have been considering returning to their secular careers? Possibly.
Mainly what Jesus was doing was teaching his disciples that with his help, even though he was not in the boat with them physically, they will be able to do what he has commission them to do. God subsidizes whatever he authorizes.
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.
[1st Cor 9:7, 1st Pet 5:2]
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.
While they all sat around the fire eating fish Jesus asked Peter if he loved him more than these. People have debated what the “these” were, but I think it is clear by the context that Jesus was talking about the fish and Peter’s family fishing business.
Why did Jesus ask Peter three times if he loved him? I believe as do many, because Peter denied him three times. Jesus wanted Peter to say three times “I love you more than the security that a life as a fisherman would provide.
It is also interesting to note that the two different Greek words are used interchangeably for the word love in these verses which have a different meaning.
Twice Jesus asks Peter if he (Agape) loved Jesus more than these, and Peter would always respond with Lord you know that I “Phileo” love you. The third time Jesus asks Peter if he loves him (phileo) and he responds the same way, you know I (phileo) love you.
Twice, Jesus asks Peter, do you have Agape love for me? (A deep abiding love) and Peter says, you know I only have Phileo love for you (a brotherly love).
A response no doubt brought on by his sorrow for denying he ever knew Jesus, surely a deep abiding love would not deny his Saviour.
The final time when Jesus changed words to the one Peter was using, that must have hit him were it hurt, Peter do you (Phileo) love me?
Peter response was the same, you know Lord, I Phileo love you. I have a brotherly kind of love. Peter was done with his boasting I believe from then on.
Peter gets corrected by Paul for being wrong about his actions with Gentiles later on, but we never see Peter speaking as he once did before thinking about what he said. The resurrection will do that to you. It did for him. He was a changed man.
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.
Here we read the words of Jesus, which tell us that Peter would die by crucifixion as well. Peter did die a martyr’s death, but his death had no atoning power associated with it as did Christ’s.
Too much has been accredited to the life of Peter that has no biblical foundation or support behind it. The bible must be our sole authority for faith and practice.
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?
[abroad – outdoors; away from home; scattered about]
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.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke are considered the synoptic gospels because they cover mostly the same things, they are for the most part synonymous with one another.
The gospel of John stands alone as the unique gospel written much later than the other three and John himself understood much better the significance of the cross and the resurrection of Christ writing it so much later than the other gospels.
John barely covers in twenty-one chapters a small fraction of what he saw for those three and a half years, but I am so glad he wrote what he did otherwise we would not have as rich an understanding especially of the last few days of Christ’s earthly ministry.
To get a fuller understanding of what Christ’s time spent here on earth truly meant for you and I today, you must not only read, but study the peistles of Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles.
He alone writes about this dispensation of grace that we are in today and when you read his epistles take to heart what he said to Timothy:
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.
Verse 1-14 – Christ makes himself known to his people, usually in his ordinances; but sometimes by his Spirit he visits them when employed in their business. It is good for the disciples of Christ to be together in common conversation, and common business. The hour for their entering upon action was not come. They would help to maintain themselves, and not be burdensome to any. Christ’s time of making himself known to his people, is when they are most at a loss. He knows the temporal wants of his people, and has promised them not only grace sufficient, but food convenient. Divine Providence extends itself to things most minute, and those are happy who acknowledge God in all their ways. Those who are humble, diligent, and patient, though their labours may be crossed, shall be crowned; they sometimes live to see their affairs take a happy turn, after many struggles. And there is nothing lost by observing Christ’s orders; it is casting the net on the right side of the ship. Jesus manifests himself to his people by doing that for them which none else can do, and things which they looked not for. He would take care that those who left all for him, should not want any good thing. And latter favours are to bring to mind former favours, that eaten bread may not be forgotten. He whom Jesus loved was the first that said, It is the Lord. John had cleaved most closely to his Master in his sufferings, and knew him soonest. Peter was the most zealous, and reached Christ the first. How variously God dispenses his gifts, and what difference there may be between some believers and others in the way of their honouring Christ, yet they all may be accepted of him! Others continue in the ship, drag the net, and bring the fish to shore, and such persons ought not to be blamed as worldly; for they, in their places, are as truly serving Christ as the others. The Lord Jesus had provision ready for them. We need not be curious in inquiring whence this came; but we may be comforted at Christ’s care for his disciples. Although there were so many, and such great fishes, yet they lost none, nor damaged their net. The net of the gospel has enclosed multitudes, yet it is as strong as ever to bring souls to God.
Verse 15-19 – Our Lord addressed Peter by his original name, as if he had forfeited that of Peter through his denying him. He now answered, Thou knowest that I love thee; but without professing to love Jesus more than others. We must not be surprised to have our sincerity called into question, when we ourselves have done that which makes it doubtful. Every remembrance of past sins, even pardoned sins, renews the sorrow of a true penitent. Conscious of integrity, Peter solemnly appealed to Christ, as knowing all things, even the secrets of his heart. It is well when our falls and mistakes make us more humble and watchful. The sincerity of our love to God must be brought to the test; and it behoves us to inquire with earnest, preserving prayer to the heart-searching God, to examine and prove us, whether we are able to stand this test. No one can be qualified to feed the sheep and lambs of Christ, who does not love the good Shepherd more than any earthly advantage or object. It is the great concern of every good man, whatever death he dies, to glorify God in it; for what is our chief end but this, to die to the Lord, at the word of the Lord?
Verse 20-24 – Sufferings, pains, and death, will appear formidable even to the experienced Christian; but in the hope to glorify God, to leave a sinful world, and to be present with his Lord, he becomes ready to obey the Redeemer’s call, and to follow Him through death to glory. It is the will of Christ that his disciples should mind their own duty, and not be curious about future events, either as to themselves or others. Many things we are apt to be anxious about, which are nothing to us. Other people’s affairs are nothing to us, to intermeddle in; we must quietly work, and mind our own business. Many curious questions are put about the counsels of God, and the state of the unseen world, as to which we may say, What is this to us? And if we attend to the duty of following Christ, we shall find neither heart nor time to meddle with that which does not belong to us. How little are any unwritten traditions to be relied upon! Let the Scripture be its own interpreter, and explain itself; as it is, in a great measure, its own evidence, and proves itself, for it is light. See the easy setting right such mistakes by the word of Christ. Scripture language is the safest channel for Scripture truth; the words which the Holy Ghost teaches, 1st Corinthians 2:13. Those who cannot agree in the same terms of art, and the application of them, may yet agree in the same Scripture terms, and to love one another.
Verse 25 – Only a small part of the actions of Jesus had been written. But let us bless God for all that is in the Scriptures, and be thankful that there is so much in so small a space. Enough is recorded to direct our faith, and regulate our practice; more would have been unnecessary. Much of what is written is overlooked, much forgotten, and much made the matter of doubtful disputes. We may, however, look forward to the joy we shall receive in heaven, from a more complete knowledge of all Jesus did and said, as well as of the conduct of his providence and grace in his dealings with each of us. May this be our happiness. These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name, ch. 20:31.