John 21:1-14 It Is the Lord!

John 21:1-14        It is the Lord! (Lesson Notes - The Living Well)

“After these things” refers to what had happened in Jerusalem. After the week-long Feast of Unleavened Bread and after the resurrection appearances of Christ to both the women and the disciples, the eleven headed back north to Galilee. It is here that Jesus would meet them again to show Himself.

Early in the first century, Herod Antipas founded a city near the Sea of Galilee named Tiberias in honor of the Roman emperor who supported him, Tiberius. That name also became associated with the lake, especially by the time that the apostle John wrote his Gospel narrative.

We are invited into a story that begins with seven of the disciples going out fishing one night. Not even all of them are names, but we may be able to take a guess as to who they were as we consider the fact that many of them were professional fishermen while some were not. It is not odd that they went fishing. This is what they knew, they may not have had much else to do as they waited for Christ, maybe they needed some extra money, and people can always eat! Night was considered the best time for fishing, probably for several reasons, but mainly because they could sell the fish fresh in the market the following morning. Sadly, they fished all night but caught nothing.

Jesus appears on the shore and calls out to them, although they do not immediately recognize Him. The designation “children” is thought to be equivalent to calling them “friends” or “guys.” Of course, we have just been told that they have not caught anything so when Jesus asks if they have any food they necessarily reply, “No.”

The Lord tells the men to drop their nets on the other side of the boat. Why did they listen to what they considered a stranger? Maybe they still had a little bit of hope left, or maybe they figured, why not? Whatever the case, they listen to Jesus and throw their nets on the right side of the boat, and they catch so many that they cannot haul it in. Later we are told that it was 153 large fish.

After the large catch, John immediately recognizes that it is the Lord. As usual, John is quick to see spiritual significance, and Peter is quick to act. Peter hears John, throws his outer garment back on, and dives in the water to swim to Christ. They were about 200 hundred cubits from the shore, about 100 yards.

Jesus has placed a singular fish over the fire. It may have been a large fish, but He still invites the disciples to place on the fire some of the fish they had just caught and were towing in. As He had many times before, Jesus functions as the host. He breaks the bread (surely after giving thanks) and passes it to them. He also passes the cooked fish to them. The disciples know that it is the Lord, but there is still something different. They are still wrapping their minds around the Lord’s death, resurrection, and glorified body.