The Gospel of John: a commentary & meditation 
 "After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tibe'ri-as"

Scripture: John 21:1-14

1 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tibe'ri-as; and he revealed himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathan'a-el of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zeb'edee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3 Simon 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. 4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any fish?" They answered him, "No." 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, for the quantity of fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he  was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea. 8 But 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. 9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught." 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so  many, the net was not torn. 12 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. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Meditation: Why didnít the apostles immediately recognize the Lord when he greeted them at the Sea of Tiberias?  John gives us a clue.  He states that Peter decided to return to his home district of Galilee, very likely so he could resume his fishing career.  Peter was discouraged and didnít know what to do after the tragedy of Jesusí death!  He went back to his previous career out of despair and uncertainty.  The other apostles followed him back to Galilee. When was the last time Peter was commanded to let down his net after a futile night of fishing?  It was at the beginning of Jesusí ministry in Galilee when the Lord dramatically approached Peter in his fishing boat after a futile night of fishing and commanded him to lower his nets (see Luke 5:4-11). After the miraculous catch, Jesus told Peter that he would be Ďcatching peopleĒ for the kingdom of God.  Now Jesus repeats the same miracle. John, the beloved disciple, is the first to recognize the Lord.  Peter impulsively leaps from the boat and runs to the Lord. Do you run to the Lord when you meet setbacks, disappointments, or trials?  The Lord is ever ready to renew us in faith and to give us fresh hope in his promises.

Skeptics who disbelieve the resurrection say the disciples only saw a vision of Jesus.  The gospels, however, give us a vivid picture of the reality of the resurrection. Jesus went out of his way to offer his disciples various proofs of his resurrection -- that he is real and true flesh, not just a spirit or ghost. In his third appearance to the apostles, after Jesus performed the miraculous catch of fish, he prepared a breakfast and ate with them. Peterís prompt recognition of the Master and exclamation,  It is the Lord! stands in sharp contrast to his previous denial of his Master during the night of arrest. The Lord Jesus reveals himself to each of  us as we open our hearts to receive his word. Do you recognize the Lord's presence in your life and do you receive his word with faith?

"Lord Jesus, you are the Resurrection and the Life. Increase my faith in the power of your resurrection that I may never doubt your word  nor stray from your presence."


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(c) 2001 Don Schwager