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Bible Commentaries

Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

John 21

Verse 1

Sea of Tiberias ; the same as the sea of Galilee and the lake of Gennesaret. Matthew 4:18 ; Matthew 26:32 ; Matthew 28:10 ; Mark 14:28 ; Mark 16:7 .

Verse 2

Of his disciples ; Matthew 4:21 ; Matthew 10:2-4 .

Verse 3

Our wants are to be supplied through our own voluntary and active instrumentality. Due attention to worldly concerns is required, and is acceptable to Jesus Christ. When rightly employed in secular business, men are serving him as really as when employed in religious duties, and will equally meet his approbation.

Verse 5

Meat ; the word in the original means something eaten with bread, as flesh or fish.

Verse 6

For success in our worldly business we are dependent upon God; and whenever we receive earthly blessings it is from him, who openeth his hand and supplieth the wants of every living thing. Psalms 145:15-16 .

Verse 7

That disciple ; John.

Was naked ; without his outer garment, as was common with fishermen.

Verse 8

Two hundred cubits ; about twenty rods.

Verse 9

A fire of coals-fish ; which had been miraculously provided by the Lord.

Verse 12

Dine ; the original word was applied to a meal taken in the early part of the day.

Verse 14

The third time ; the third time that he appeared to the apostles when together. When ministers of Christ follow his directions, they will have abundant evidence of the truth of all his declarations; so that in addressing others on the great concerns of salvation, they may speak of what they know, and testify to what they have seen of the manifestations of his power and grace.

Verse 15

More than these? more than the other disciples, as Peter had intimated that he did. Matthew 26:33 ; John 13:37 .

Lambs ; the tender and feeble followers of Christ the great and good Shepherd. Chap John 10:11-16 .

Verse 16

Sheep ; more advanced Christians.

Verse 17

Peter was grieved ; the thrice repeated question reminded him of his thrice repeated denial of his Lord.

Feed ; communicate spiritual instruction and take care of their souls. Acts 20:28 . The most important of all qualifications for a minister of the gospel, and for the right discharge of all duties, is love to Jesus Christ; and those who possess and rightly manifest this, may expect to be rendered eminently useful to themselves and their fellow-men.

Verse 18

Girdedst thyself ; he was at liberty to go and come at pleasure.

Stretch forth thy hands ; in crucifixion.

Gird thee ; bind thee for execution. The binding, though coming before crucifixion, is named after it.

Verse 19

Signifying ; pointing out beforehand.

Follow me ; in an emphatic sense, Follow me not only as my disciple, but in my crucifixion also. No ardency of devotion to the cause of Christ, and no degree of usefulness will secure his servants from great trials, or even from violent death; but no trials will come upon them except under the direction of God, and such as will best prepare them to glorify and enjoy him.

Verse 20

Whom Jesus loved ; chap John 13:23-26 .

Verse 21

Lord , and what shall this man do? in what way shall he die?

Verse 22

That he tarry ; that he stay on the earth and not die.

Till I come ; words designedly left indefinite. Our Lord’s providential coming in the destruction of Jerusalem seems to have been referred to.

What is that to thee? it is none of thy business, nothing about which you should concern yourself. Every man should mind his own proper business; while he should be careful not to neglect his appropriate concerns, he should be equally careful not to intermeddle with the concerns of others.

Verse 23

Should not die ; a tradition from the days of the apostles, which was not true.

If I will that he tarry till I come ; it was the business of Christ to direct with regard to the length of John’s life, and the manner of his death, and not the business of Peter. It would do him no good to be informed, and Christ would not encourage him in making useless inquiries.

Verse 24

This is the disciple ; John, the writer of this gospel.

Verse 25

The world itself could not contain ; this is a strong expression, designed to convey the idea that if all which Christ said and did were written, the books would be very many, much too numerous for the highest usefulness to men. Men may speak and write too much, even about religion. Their usefulness depends not so much on the amount of what is spoken or written, as on its fitness and propriety. "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." Proverbs 25:11 .

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Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 21". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fam/john-21.html. American Tract Society. 1851.