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The Gospel of John: Chapter 21

Hi friends. I’m so glad you’re here. We are finishing our study through the Gospel of John today with John chapter 21.

I’ve been burrowed in my bedroom for the past couple of hours studying this last chapter, and to be honest, I’m feeling pretty emotional about it all. God reveals so much of his character in this chapter and we get to really see how far his love goes for us in the ways that he relates to his disciples.

As always, the chapter and its headings below were taken from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. Jesus’ words are red and my commentary and insight is in blue. The video recording will be posted at the bottom of the page.

Day 21 – lets go!

John Chapter 21

Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish

Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Jesus comes to his disciples who have been working all night to get fish and he gives them an order to follow that will bring them blessing. Peter’s response here is something I want to dive into:

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he performed the same miracle for Peter. Peter and Andrew had brought their boat to shore after an unsuccessful night of fishing. Jesus told Peter to let the net into the water and the result of his obedience was a catch so big that it filled two boats. They had never seen anything like it.

Peter did not know Jesus at this point, but from the miracle that he had just witnessed, he knew that this man had to be the Messiah. And in response to the realization, he fell down before Jesus and said “Go away from me , Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8 NIV). Peter believed his sinfulness and impure heart could not co-exist with a perfect God, and so he tried to push Jesus away. I think most of us can relate to that response.

Fast-forward to this final chapter of John. Peter has been following Jesus closely for three years now. He has heard his teachings and experienced his love firsthand. Jesus did what he came to do for us all, and, overtime, reshaped the way Peter understood and related to God.

Now, Peter knows God’s love, mercy, grace and forgiveness, and understands that there’s nothing he can do to separate himself from the love of his Savior. So his response looks much different this time around:

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

Peter jumps out of the boat without hesitation. He couldn’t reach his Savior fast enough. He leaves the blessing behind – it’s not about that anyway – and goes to be with Jesus.

Now think about this: Is Peter less sinful now than he was three years ago?

Well it was just over a week ago that Peter denied Jesus three times, all while Jesus was being taken to be crucified. As far as we know, they haven’t spoken about the denial yet, and Peter may never have apologized. Even still, he understands now that the best response to his sinful heart is to run towards Jesus with it, not to push him away. He wants us as we are, and he can handle our very worst.

10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

After laying down his life for all, and completing what he was sent down to do, you’d expect the King of the world to present himself in a grand way, maybe on a stage or in a parade, and bask in the worship from his believers. But nope; Not Jesus.

Jesus finds his closest friends, and invites them to rest from their work and join him for breakfast. He serves them.

Only Jesus.

Jesus Reinstates Peter

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

A week ago, Peter boasting of his love for Jesus, claimed he would lay down his life for the Lord. But that same night, he denied his affiliation with Jesus three times in order to protect himself from shame and possible persecution.

Now here having breakfast, Jesus asks Peter three times “Do you love me?” and Peter emphatically answers yes. Jesus doesn’t say “no you don’t” or remind him of his recent mistake. Instead He intentionally gives Peter this moment of redemption.

Jesus instructs Peter to shepherd his people, gladly appointing someone broken and sinful to carry on His work. He goes on to tell let Peter know that his devotion to God will be even stronger in the years to come, and his boldness will lead him to his own persecution and death on a cross.

It’s been recorded that 34 years later, Peter is sentenced to crucifixion for his faith and he accepted it as glory. In fact, he requested that he be nailed to the cross upside down, because he found himself unworthy of dying in the same position as his Savior.

20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

Peter hears of his fate and starts to wonder about the others around him.

22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

Jesus wants us to keep our eyes on him. He has different plans for each one of us, and we need to trust that he knows what he’s doing with us. Comparison will only veer us off track and steal our joy.

24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

John finishes his book by letting us know that so much of Jesus’ stories have been left out. He believes that all he has included would be enough to convince our hearts of the truth of the Son of God.

He’s got me convinced.

We are finished with our study through the gospel of John!

My prayer is that God has revealed something of Himself to you that has reshaped the way you see and relate to Him. That you’ve been given a better understanding of who He really is.

We learn in the Bible, in 2nd Timothy, that everything in this book was inspired by God and written for you:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

I encourage you to come to the Father in prayer this Christmas season. Accept His forgiveness in Jesus’ name and receive His Spirit into your heart. He died for you and has been waiting for you to come to Him for help.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

John 3:16-18

Merry Christmas friends. You are so loved.


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Hey friend, It's just me. A 23 year old female, sharing faith, lifestyle, and light while learning how to follow Jesus and love people well in a broken world. You too? Tag along!