Waters of Life

Biblical Studies in Multiple Languages

Search in "English":
Home -- English -- John - 127 (Miraculous catch of fishes; Peter confirmed in the service of the flock)
This page in: -- Albanian -- Arabic -- Armenian -- Bengali -- Burmese -- Cebuano -- Chinese -- Dioula? -- ENGLISH -- Farsi? -- French -- Georgian -- Greek -- Hausa -- Hindi -- Igbo -- Indonesian -- Javanese -- Kiswahili -- Kyrgyz -- Malayalam -- Peul -- Portuguese -- Russian -- Serbian -- Somali -- Spanish -- Tamil -- Telugu -- Thai -- Turkish -- Twi -- Urdu -- Uyghur? -- Uzbek -- Vietnamese -- Yiddish -- Yoruba

Previous Lesson -- Next Lesson

JOHN - The Light Shines in the Darkness
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to John
PART 4 - Light Overcomes Darkness
B - The Resurrection and Appearance of Christ (John 20:1 - 21:25)
5. Jesus appears by the lake (John 21:1-25)

a) The miraculous catch of fishes (John 21:1-14)

JOHN 21:7-8
7 That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around him (for he was naked), and threw himself into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from the land, but about two hundred cubits away), dragging the net full of fish.

The evangelist recognized that this huge catch was no coincidence. He was in the boat, and realized that the man on the shore was no other than Jesus, himself. John did not utter the name of Jesus, but reverently said, "It is the Lord!"

This alarmed Peter as he remembered that Christ was teaching a second time a vital lesson through fishing. He went for his clothes and put them on, not wishing to approach his Lord naked. He sprang into the water and swam towards the Lord. Thus he left the boat, his friends and the fresh fish alone. He forgot everything, because his heart singled out Jesus.

John stayed in the boat, even though his love was as sincere as Peter’s. So this young man with his colleagues rowed strenuously towards the shore about 100 meters away. Eventually, they reached the shore to look after the large catch of fish.

JOHN 21:9-11
9 So when they got out on the land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” 11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fish, one hundred fifty-three; and even though there were so many, the net wasn’t torn.

When the disciples reached the shore, they saw a charcoal fire with the fish on top. So wherefrom was the fire, the fish and the bread? He called them from a distance of a hundred meters, for they had nothing to eat. On arrival, they found the fish grilled, and he urged them to have a meal. He is Lord and the host at the same time. He kindly gave them a share in preparing the food. He allows us to participate in his work and the produce. Had the disciples not obeyed his advice, they would have caught nothing. But here he is inviting them to take food. Surprisingly, the Lord who needs no earthly food, stoops down to share with them that food for them to feel his affection.

The number 153 fishes refers, according to ancient tradition, to the number of kinds of fishes known at that time. It is as if Jesus is saying, "Do not fish for just one kind of humans, but come with a selection of all nations." All are bidden to enter God’s life. Just as the net did not break under pressure, so also the Church will not break up or lose the unity of the Holy Spirit, even if some of her members should remain selfish and loveless. The true Church will become his own and vital.

JOHN 21:12-14
12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” None of the disciples dared inquire of him, “Who are you?” knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Then Jesus came and took the bread, gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus was revealed to his disciples, after he had risen from the dead.

Jesus gathered his disciples round the fire of his love. No one dared speak up, for all knew that this stranger was the Lord himself. They were eager to embrace him, but fear and awe deterred them. Jesus broke the silence and blessed them as he began distributing the food. Thereby he forgave them and renewed them. All disciples live in the pardon of their Lord constantly; without his faithfulness to that covenant, they would perish. They are slow to trust or hope. He did not rebuke them, but strengthened them with his miraculous nourishment. Even so, Jesus and God require you to share the good news despite your sin and slowness of heart. This is the pattern Jesus follows in working miracles after the Resurrection.

b) Peter confirmed in the service of the flock (John 21:15-19)

JOHN 21:15
15 So when they had eaten their breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection for you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

By his word of Peace, Jesus forgave his disciples their sins along with Peter’s denial at his first appearance. But Peter’s denial needed special treatment. His kindness appears in the Lord’s words, he who tests the hearts. He did not say a word about the denial to give him scope for self-examination and self-realization. He called Peter by his original name, Simon son of Jonah, for returning to his old ways.

Likewise, Jesus asks you today, "Do you love me? Have you kept my words and trusted my promises? Have you perceived my essence and drawn near? Have you joined my ranks and given up your possessions, time and strength for my sake? Are your thoughts always on me and you have become one with me? Do you honor me with your life?"

Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me more than these?" Peter did not answer, "No, Lord, I am no better than the rest; I have denied you." Peter was still self-confident and answered yes, but limited his love by using the Greek expression for affection, not divine love springing from the Holy Spirit and confident faith.

Peter was not rebuked for his weak love, but was enjoined by the Lord to confirm his love by caring for his followers. Jesus commissioned this faltering disciple again to look after his young ones in the faith. The Lamb of God has purchased lambs of his own. Are you ready to serve such folk, to bear with them, lead them patiently, and await their maturing? Or do you expect more from them than they are able to endure? Or have you left them to move away from the flock and be torn apart? Jesus asked Peter first of all to tend those who are young in faith.

JOHN 21:16
16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection for you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”

Jesus did not let off Peter lightly as if to say, "Did you not answer me hastily when you said, ‘I love you’? Is not your love human and defective? Is not your love emotional or is it based on sincere goodwill?

The question moved Peter’s heart, who humbly replied, "Lord, you know all, you know my limitations and abilities. My love is not hidden from you. I truly love you and am ready to yield my life for you. I have failed and will fail again. But your love has kindled an endless love in me."

Jesus did not deny Peter’s claim, but said, "As you love me, love also the mature members of my Church. Their pastoral care is not easy. Many of them are obstinate, backsliding, each going his own way. Do you wish to bear my sheep on your shoulders and be weary? You are responsible for them."

JOHN 21:17
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you have affection for me?” Peter was grieved because he asked him the third time, “Do you have affection for me?” He said to him, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I have affection for you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

Peter denied his Lord three times, so Jesus knocked on his heart’s door three times and thus tested the genuineness of his love. He stressed the need for divine love coming from the Holy Spirit, as Peter was to discover in himself: He did not receive it until the Holy Spirit descended on him at Pentecost. He kept inquiring, "Are you indeed bound to me more than to any human relationship, to the extent that you will offer your life for the world’s salvation?" The third time, Peter answered in sorrow and shame, and added that the Lord knew his heart.

Peter confessed that Jesus was right in predicting his threefold denial beforehand, and that Christ knew everything. So Peter called him the true God, who knows what is in man’s innermost being. That is the pastoral vocation, committed to Peter – caring for the sheep.

Are you a pastor watching over God’s flock? Do you see the wolves and evil spirits approaching? Remember, we are all sinners, not deserving to be honored with the shepherding of God’s people, except by virtue of the cross. Doubtless, shepherds need more forgiveness daily than the sheep; often they neglect their main responsibility.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Great Shepherd. You called me to be a shepherd, this I do not deserve. I am following you and falter. You have committed the sheep of your loving kindness to me. I commit them to you, beseeching you to tend them, granting them eternal life, keeping them in your hands; so that none might snatch them. Sanctify them and grant us patience, humility, trust, faith and hope to be established in your love. You will not forsake me, but love me to the uttermost.


  1. What has impressed you in the conversation between Jesus and Peter?


Page last modified on February 05, 2022, at 10:30 AM | powered by PmWiki (pmwiki-2.3.3)