The Gospel of John, The Epilogue Part I, John 21 - Lesson 203
Read Verses John 21:1-14, After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed he himself. 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. 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. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. 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. 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. 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. As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. 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. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
John has provided the key to the book of John in chapter 20 verse 31 where he has given the purpose of that which he has written.
The purpose is that these things are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ.
Chapter 21 is an epilogue, or what comes after he has accomplished his purpose.
What comes after belief in Jesus Christ?
What comes after new life in Christ?
The purpose of chapter 21 is to show how that belief which the disciples now had should be applied.
Faith without works is dead and the faith that the disciples had was not dead, so works were now demanded as a product of their faith.
They were now witnesses to the risen Christ and they were now ready to take on the responsibilities of disciples.
This chapter shows how belief should be translated into works.
The location of the disciples has changed from chapter 20 to chapter 21, that of Jerusalem to the Sea of Galilee (place name meaning circle) here called the sea of Tiberius.
In Jesus' time the sea was named after the Roman emperor Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar who died in AD 37.
The Sea of Galilee is a freshwater lake in the hills of northern Palestine.
Its surface is nearly 700 feet below the level of the Mediterranean Sea.
In the Old Testament this sea is called Chinnereth.
This is the lake where some of the disciples earned their living.
Seven of the disciples are in this account.
Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, James and John, and two unnamed disciples. Why didn't John name two?
These past days had been terrible and trying days.
They had witnessed events that were mind boggling.
Just in the space of hours they had been reduced from disciples of an honored and popular teacher to that of hunted followers of a discredited imposter.
Then they had met the risen Christ and found peace with God.
Any man under these circumstances would need to find stability.
So they withdrew to familiar places and left Jerusalem.
They went back home to Galilee where their Lord had done so much.
Remember the day when Jesus walked on the water and Peter left the ship to meet him.
Jesus stilled the stormy Galilee when the disciples feared.
Remember the miracle of the great draft of fish which the Lord provided for the disciples.
This is the place where Peter retrieved the coin for tribute from the fish's mouth upon orders from the Master.
Jesus delivered some of his parables sitting upon a boat near the shore.
Lake Galilee received the 2000 swine that rushed to destruction when the demons entered into them after Jesus cast them out of the demoniac.