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John 21:1-14 The first part of this epilogue reveals Jesus' willingness to keep working with the disciples and refocuses the disciples back on their original calling and not be overly discouraged by their past failures.
Do you every feel like a failure? How do you handle your feelings? Relate one positive and negative situation.
John 21:21-25 acts as an additional word or thought outside the main body of John. There is no difficulty in thinking that John 21 is part of the Gospel of John. Instead, it provides a key link into the early development of the church and its leaders.
The epilogue in John 21 provides encouragement and clarification for the disciples. Though they now can affirm Christ’s resurrection, their recent poor performance during Christ’s crucifixion and lack of faith afterwards, stood as roadblocks hindering them from understanding or embracing God’s will for their lives.
This chapter at once reminds His key disciples to continue the work He has called them too and affirms before others their appointment by Christ. Merrill Tenney says, “The last chapter of the Gospel opens the door to the future and shows how belief should be translated into terms of daily activity.”
The only scene in this chapter is by the Sea of Tiberias and has eight people including Jesus. Peter, the unnamed disciple and Jesus form the main characters. There are two main sections with a common theme of ‘return and follow Me,’ a theme we can all practically apply to our lives.
“And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you will find a catch.” They cast therefore, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.” (John 21:6).
The familiar picture of the seven disciples out all night without catching a single fish is contrasted with the multitude of fish instantly caught when they followed Jesus’ instructions.
"The boat is 26.9 feet long, 7.5 feet wide and 3.9 feet tall. Adaptable to both sail and oars, the boat was used primarily for fishing but could also serve for transporting goods and passengers. "It would hold about 15 people," Cohen said.
The disciples, no doubt, had been baffled, angry and perhaps even bitter after all the recent events in Jerusalem. Jesus on the shore called out to fishermen as to whether they had caught anything. Having heard they had not caught a thing, Jesus, yet unknown to them, made a suggestion to throw the net on the other side of the boat.
Probably figuring they had nothing to lose, they did just as that stranger suggested. Shocked by such a huge large catch, the unnamed disciple, no doubt to be John the author of this book, put the pieces of the puzzle together and recognized the person on the shore to be Jesus.
Peter instantaneously dived overboard and swam while the others returned to shore and all responded to Jesus’ request to eat together.
This scene connected the post-resurrected Jesus with the one they associated with for the last three years. He ate fish. He knew them in and out. Jesus not only arose but was meeting with them as before. But more than proof of a physical resurrection, we see Jesus’ commitment to fellowship with this group of faithless disciples and His desire to continue to work with them.
This is the third appearance of Christ since the resurrection (21:14). Why do you think Peter suggested to go fishing (21:3)?
Do you think that the disciples felt like failures and were unfit to serve Jesus? Why or why not? How could this scene change that perspective?
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Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988