The Gospel of John: John 21.1-25
Read and meditate on John 21.1-25.
Jesus’ appearance to His disciples by the sea set the stage for the next act in redemption’s unfolding story.
1Now after these
things, Jesus showed Himself beside the sea
to His disciples. Here is how it went:
2When Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin),
and two disciples more had gathered, 3then
said Peter, “I am going fishing.” And
they all said, “We are going also.” So
immediately, they went out in the boat,
but that night they caught nothing. 4When the day
came, Jesus stood there on shore, but they
did not know it was He. 5He called out to
them, “Children, have you landed any food?”
They answered, “No.” 6He said to them, “Now cast
your net out on the right, and then at last
you will catch fish.” And so they did, and then
they caught so great a multitude, that when
they tried to draw the net in, they could not.
7Thus, when he saw the many fish they caught,
the one whom Jesus loved to Peter said,
“It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard
it was the Lord, he put his garment on
(he had removed it), and abruptly plunged
into the sea. 8Meanwhile, the rest came in
the little boat (they were not from the land
so far away), and dragged with them the haul
of fish which they had caught. 9And when they all
arrived on shore, a fire was burning, laid
on it were fish, and bread. 10Then Jesus said,
“Bring here some of the fish which you have caught.”
11So Simon Peter dragged the net, all taut
and full of fish (153,
to be exact) to land – it might have seemed
the net should have been broken, but it was
not. 12Jesus said to them, “Come eat, because
your breakfast is prepared.” None asked Him, “Who
are You?” – because, as everybody knew,
it was the Lord. 13Then Jesus gave them bread
and fish. 14Since He had risen from the dead,
this was the third time Jesus came to be
with His disciples.
15So then, after He
and they had finished with the fish and bread,
to Simon Peter Jesus spoke, and said,
“Now Simon, son of Jonah, do you love
me more than these?” He answered, “Lord, I love
You, and You know I do.” “Then feed My lambs,”
He said. 16Then Jesus said again to him,
“Now Simon, son of Jonah, do you love
Me?” “Lord,” he answered, “Yes, You know I love
You.” “Tend My sheep,” said Jesus to him. 17Then
a third time Jesus asked him, “Simon, son
of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter then
was grieved at this, because He said to him
the third time, “Do you love Me?” So then he
replied, “You know all things, Lord, and of me
You know, I love You.” Jesus said to him,
“Then feed my sheep. 18I tell you, Peter, when
you were much younger, you would dress and go
wherever you desired. When you are old,
however, you will stretch your hands out, and
another will take hold and make you stand
where you would not.” 19And this, to signify
the way that he in death would glorify
the Lord, He spoke, and then said, “Follow Me.”
20Then Peter turned around, and chanced to see
him following whom Jesus loved, the man
who leaned upon His breast at supper, and
inquired, “Who, Lord, betrays You?” 21Peter, when
he saw him, asked, “And what about this man,
Lord?” 22Jesus said to him, “If I intend
him to remain until I come again,
well, what is that to you? I say again,
you follow Me.” 23And so this saying went
among the brethren: this disciple would
not die. Yet Jesus did not say he would
not die; He said, “If I intend him to
remain until I come again, to you
this matters not.”
24And I, who testify
these things, am that disciple. You and I
know that the testimony I record
here is the truth. 25And Jesus, furthermore,
did many other things which are not here
recorded, which if they were written, clear
and full, well, I suppose the world itself
would not be for them a sufficient shelf.
- John 21.1-25
1. Why were these post-resurrection appearances important? What did the disciples learn from them? Complete this prayer: Lord Jesus, though I have not seen You like Your disciples did, still I…
2. This particular appearance was important for four of the seven disciples: Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, and John. Explain. Thank You, Lord, that in the way You dealt with and cared for Your disciples, I can see…
3. Two metaphors crucial to the Church’s existence in the world are employed by Jesus in this chapter: fishing and shepherding. What does the Lord intend for us in each of these? You have sent us to fish for men, Lord, and called us to care for Your sheep. Today, I will…
4. The revelation to Peter of his manner of death reminds us that the road ahead can be difficult at times. How can Christians prepare to overcome and keep advancing amid the promised tribulations of this world (Jn. 16.33)? Lord, please do not allow tribulation to discourage me, but when it comes, help me…
5. Finally, John reminds us that he has given us only a very selective portrait of Jesus in his gospel. It’s a good and important one, but not as much as we need. How would you counsel a new believer to continue growing in his vision of Christ, understanding of His work, and sense of His presence? Bring together into one prayer the prayers you composed for questions 1-4.
“And here we conclude … this commentary on the harp of the Spirit, on the heavenly theologian and Apostle who is the friend of the glory of the Lord, the holy John the younger.” Theodore of Mopsuestia (350-428 AD)
What are the most important lessons for you from this study of the gospel of John?
You who fear the LORD, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!
For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from Him;
But when He cried to Him, He heard.
My praise shall be of You in the great assembly;
I will pay My vows before those who fear Him.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
Those who seek Him will praise the LORD.
Let your heart live forever!
All the ends of the world
Shall remember and turn to the LORD,
And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You.
For the kingdom is the LORD’s,
And He rules over the nations.
All the prosperous of the earth
Shall eat and worship;
All those who go down to the dust
Shall bow before Him,
Even he who cannot keep himself alive.
A posterity shall serve Him.
It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation,
They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born,
That He has done this.
Psalm 22.29-31 (Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
All the prosp’rous of the earth shall before His mercy fall;
Bending low before His worth, hear them humbly on Him call.
Even those low in the grave He will by His mercy save.
Let the generations all witness to His saving grace;
Let them to all nations call, “Bow before His holy face!”
Let the children of the earth hear of Jesus’ saving worth!
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.