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Bible Commentaries
John 21

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

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Verses 1-25

165. At the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-25)

The disciples then returned to Galilee to wait for Jesus as they had been instructed (see Matthew 26:32; Matthew 28:10). Seven of them had spent an unsuccessful night fishing on Lake Galilee (the Sea of Tiberias) when Jesus appeared at the shore. He called out some directions to them, and although they did not recognize him they did as he said. As a result they caught a large number of fish (John 21:1-6).

No doubt some of the disciples recalled a similar incident years earlier, and this may have led John to recognize the person on the shore as Jesus (cf. Luke 5:1-11). The disciples were reminded again of the authority of Jesus and their dependence on him (John 21:7-9). They were reminded also of his care for them, as he prepared and served them breakfast (John 21:10-14).

Peter had once boasted that he loved Jesus more than the other disciples did, and that although they might fail him, he would not (see Mark 14:29). Yet three times he publicly disowned Jesus. Three times, therefore, he was asked publicly if he loved Jesus, as a reminder to him of the danger of over-confidence. Jesus’ public conversation with Peter also showed the others that he had forgiven him. More than that he gave Peter the responsibility to care for his people through the difficult days of the church’s beginning (cf. Luke 22:31-32). As a leader in that early group, receiving the full force of Jewish persecution, Peter would need more love for Jesus than the others (John 21:15-17).

If Peter was to follow Jesus, he would no longer be free to live the independent life of an energetic young fisherman. His life would be one of constant sacrifice and hard work in caring for Jesus’ people. In the end he would be captured and killed on account of his loyalty to Jesus (John 21:18-19; cf. 13:36).

As for John, Jesus refused to give any indication of how his life would end. Some misinterpreted this to mean that John would never die, so John added a note at the end of his book to correct the misunderstanding (John 21:20-23). He also pointed out that he had made no attempt to give a detailed account of the life of Jesus; but what he had given was the testimony of an eye witness, and it was to be believed (John 21:24-25).

Bibliographical Information
Fleming, Donald C. "Commentary on John 21". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/john-21.html. 2005.
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