-Jerusalem was not the only place that the resurrected-glorified Savior appeared. Jesus manifested Himself also to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias (or the Sea of Galilee). Simon Peter, Thomas (or Didymus, the one who initially doubted, John 20:24-25), Nathanael of Cana, James and John (the sons of Zebedee, Mark 3:17), and two other disciples of Jesus were going fishing at the suggestion of Peter. They went out into the boat all night, but they caught absolutely nothing. When sun was coming up to begin a new day, Jesus stood on the beach, yet His disciples could not perceive that it was Him standing there. So, Jesus spoke to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They all replied, “No.” He spoke further, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” They cast in obedience and were so many fish they unable to haul them all in. Recognizing a repeat of a previous miracle (Luke 5:1-11), that disciple whom Jesus loved (probably John) remarked to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Peter realized this, he jumped out of the boat, again like a previous occasion (Matthew 14:22-33). He put his outer garments on and threw himself into the sea in excitement. The other disciples were more dignified. They came quickly to dock in the little boat, “for they were not far from the land,” only about 100 yards away or so. Plus, they had to drag in all the fish they’d just caught. When they arrived back on the land, they saw that a charcoal fire had already been started with fish placed on it, along with some bread. I’m sure this was a welcome sight for tired, hard-working eyes. Jesus commanded them to bring some of the fish they’d caught, so Peter went up and drew the full net of large fish to land (153 fish in fact). It was undoubtedly heavy, yet the net was not torn in this exercise. Jesus beckoned them now, “Come and have breakfast.” At this point, none of the disciples ventured to question Him any longer desiring to know who He was. It was quite apparent that this was the Lord. Jesus took the bread and gave it to them along with the fish. This, John says, was the third manifestation of Jesus to the disciples after He was raised from the dead (John 21:1-14).
-The discussion after breakfast turned pretty serious. Jesus questioned Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love (agapaō) Me more than these?” Peter responded that he loved him with a brotherly love (phileō). So, Jesus told him, “Tend My lambs.” Again, the Lord asked, “Simon, son of John, do you love (agapaō) Me?” Peter again replied with the same identification towards the Savior, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love (phileō) You.” Jesus said, “Shepherd My sheep.” Now came a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love (agapaō) Me?” By now Peter was grieved in his spirit and stated a third time, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love (phileō) You.” This time, Jesus said, “Tend My sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” Jesus prophetically spoke here, and John was remembering these words under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The Lord was signifying by what kind of death Peter would eventually endure, and then He said one more time, “Follow Me!” As Peter turned around, he saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them. This was the one who leaned back on His bosom at the last supper before His death and asked who would betray the King (John 13:21-25). This seems to be the author, the Apostle John, from what comes next in the text. Peter asks, “Lord, and what about this man?” Jesus explained, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” This statement went out to the brethren that this disciple would not die, but it was a misnomer. Jesus did state he would not die, but only that it could be His will to do that if He desired. John now states that this is the disciple, who was by the time of the writing of this gospel very aged but still testifying to these remarkable things. Then comes some form of collaboration from others in the conclusion of the text, “and we know that his testimony is true.” They go on to relate, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written (John 21:15-25).”
-*Application*- Our job as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ is to follow Him and make disciples of people preaching His gospel (good news) into all the world (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15). The Lord is with us to keep writing new stories of His abundant love, truth, and grace. Keep believing, keep working, the Kingdom is alive and active! This is how we all can tend and shepherd His sheep.
Verse to Memorize: John 21:25