Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 21:4

But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Galilee;   John;   Peter;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Home;   Insight;   Lack of Insight;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Stories for Children;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Ships;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Palestine;   Resurrection;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Hospitality;   Miracle;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Fishing, the Art of;   Peter;   Resurrection of Christ;   Holman Bible Dictionary - John, the Gospel of;   Martha;   Presence of God;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - John, Gospel of;   Peter;   Resurrection;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Beach;   Body (2);   Disciple (2);   Discourse;   Draught of Fishes;   James ;   John (the Apostle);   Luke, Gospel According to;   Manifestation;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Dinner;   Miracles;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Smith Bible Dictionary - John, Gospel of;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Thomas;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Andrew;   Beach;   Fishing;   James;   Shore;   Thomas;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Christianity in Its Relation to Judaism;   New Testament;   Simon Cephas;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for October 19;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Knew not that it was Jesus - Probably because it was either not light enough, or he was at too great a distance, or he had assumed another form, as in Mark 16:12; otherwise his person was so remarkable that all his disciples readily knew him when he was at hand: see John 21:12.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 21:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-21.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Knew not that it was Jesus - Probably it was yet twilight, and in the distance they could not distinctly recognize him.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 21:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-21.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

John 21:4

But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore

The risen Saviour on the shore

Note

I.
THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE RISEN SAVIOUR TO HIS PEOPLE. And we see at once that

1. That is the same as before. Jesus miraculously supplying their food, calling them to eat with Him--that is what He had been doing ever since they had known Him. Death had not altered what was essentially Himself. Our friends on the other side of death are the same as before! What a revelation to those who now think they are uncared for! Let them read what He was to His servants before He died, and remember that “tie is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.”

2. It is continued with greater power. Jesus was “on the shore;” not in the boat, as in the former miracle. For Him the tossings of life were over, “I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee.”

Wonderful power was His before; by miraculous energy, and wisdom, He cared for and protected them, but whatever He had then, He had more when “all power was given unto Him in heaven and on earth.” It was indeed much to have Him with them in the dripping, heaving boat, but it is more, whilst we are in the boat, to have Jesus for us on the shore.

3. In fulfilling this relationship the risen Saviour may be recognized by His people. It is possible to go through life ever seeing Jesus on the shore or knowing that He is invisibly there. But the opposite is possible. “The disciples knew not that it was Jesus.” Even when the meshes strained with the fishes enclosed at His bidding, only one of them was quick to detect the stranger. The state is to be watched against; it is great impoverishment. No doubt He adopts disguises still, coming to help us through human speech and effort, but to a heart trained to sympathy with Christ, the living Saviour is seen within the disguise. We cannot estimate the joy and strength which would fill our life, if in our cares and toils we had the assurance that He is near.

II. THE INFLUENCE OF THE RISEN SAVIOUR ON THE WORK OF HIS PEOPLE. We mostly think of other aspects of our Lord’s resurrection life. Its bearing, for instance, on the Atonement as proof of the Father’s acceptance of it, and of the consequent acquittal of those whom He represents; or its bearing on His mediatorial work, admitting Him to that state in which “He ever liveth to make intercession for us,” securing the permanency of the salvation He bestows. But there is another aspect. Life is much like that Sea of Galilee, sometimes dark and turbulent, sometimes bright with the quiet reflection of heaven; now rewarding us with success, and now mocking us with disappointment; the seven disciples were but symbols of each of us, we are all toilers on the sea, but in our case, as in theirs, Jesus is watching, guiding, helping the toilers. It remains to recognize this to be blessed.

1. His interest in our work is its sanctification. What does Christ upon the throne mean but that what transpires in our lives is His appointment? It may be arduous, common, unrecognized, but it comes within the rule that the Master gives to every man his work. So Christ, then, takes the deepest interest in the home cares of the mother, the lessons of the child, the toll of the bread-winner, the duties of the servant, the burdens of the sufferer. Whether our net be full or empty is nothing to the world, but it is much to Him.

2. His guidance of our work is essential to success. What is Christ King for but to guide us, so that there is nothing we ought to do but we may say, “Lord, show us how to do it!” But we do not unreservedly follow His guidance, nor believe that He understands our business better than we do, and that only He knows the road to success. What knows He about the right side of the ship? He is no fisherman, is He aware that we were born by this lake, and have fished its waters for twenty years, what can He teach us? But they cast, and “now they were not able to draw,” &c. Only that work will prosper which is guided by the risen Saviour from the shore.

3. His blessing on our work makes it a constant means of grace. That blessing is most manifest where anxiety comes in. If those disciples had filled their boat that night, they would not have known the Divine power of the Stranger on the beach, and might have passed Him by. We have tried to succeed, we say, but can only look for failure; then sudden success has come, and we could only exclaim, “It is the Lord!” We have much to do and bear, we say that we shall sink beneath it; but a secret power has upheld us (“for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken”), we have borne and done it all; then we could only say in wonder, “This must be one of Christ’s miracles; it is the Lord!” It is a great blessing when thus the tasks of life are an opportunity of discovering the nearness, the faithfulness, the tenderness of Christ.

III. THE COMMUNION OF THE RISEN SAVIOUR IN THE WEARINESS OF HIS PEOPLE. For He was not there merely to watch and help, but also to give them rest. “Come and dine.” Our weariness may be removed by the supply which He provides. Busy people, after a day when things have gone wrong and their spirit is vexed, feel like those disciples. But on the beach yonder--the beach of the quiet seclusion of their closet--Jesus is standing then,and He has a hidden fire and fish laid thereon and bread. (C. New.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "John 21:4". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/john-21.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

But when day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach: yet the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

It was very early, still not full daylight; and the disciples were still a hundred yards offshore, and this was reason enough why they had not at that point recognized the Lord.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 21:4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-21.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But when the morning was now come,.... The day began to dawn, and light to appear, very early in the morning; for Christ visits his right early, and is a present help to them in their time of trouble.

Jesus stood on the shore: on firm ground, whilst his disciples were beating about in the waves, and toiling to no purpose. So Christ, risen from the dead, is glorified, is in heaven; but not unmindful of his people amidst all their afflictions in this world:

but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus; though he was so near them that they could hear what he said; but it not being broad daylight they could not distinctly discern him, or their eyes might be held that they could not know him. So Christ is sometimes near his people, and they know it not.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 21:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-21.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Jesus stood — (Compare John 20:19, John 20:26).

but the disciples knew not it was Jesus — Perhaps there had been some considerable interval since the last manifestation, and having agreed to betake themselves to their secular employment, they would be unprepared to expect Him.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 21:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-21.html. 1871-8.

People's New Testament

When the morning was now come. The Revision is correct: "When the day was now breaking."

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on John 21:4". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/john-21.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

When day was now breaking (πρωιας ηδη γινομενηςprōias ēdē ginomenēs). Genitive absolute and note present middle participle (dawn coming on and still dark). In Matthew 27:1 the aorist participle (γενομενηςgenomenēs) means that dawn had come. For “beach” (αιγιαλονaigialon) see Matthew 13:2.

Was (εστινestin). Present indicative retained in indirect assertion.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 21:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-21.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Was come ( γενομένης )

The best texts read the present participle, γινομένης , is coming. Rev., when day was now breaking. The A.V. does not agree so well with the fact that Jesus was not at once recognized by the disciples, owing in part, perhaps, to the imperfect light.

On the shore ( εἰς τὸν αἰγιαλόν )

Rev., beach. See on Matthew 13:2. The preposition εἰς , to, makes the phrase equivalent to “Jesus came to the beach and stood there.”

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 21:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-21.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

They knew not that it was Jesus — Probably their eyes were holden.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 21:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-21.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing1. They say unto him, We also come with thee2. They went forth, and entered into the boat; and that night they took nothing.

  1. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. As usual, Peter was the leader.

  2. They say unto him, We also come with thee. These apostles, thinking that their apostleship had terminated, had returned to their old like as fishermen.*

    *NOTE.--We cannot agree in this. Jesus had said too many things indicating his future need of the apostles for them to think that he was through with them (Matthew 16:19; Matthew 24:9-13; Luke 22:32; John 15:16,20,27 John 16:1-3). He had told the apostles to go to Galilee, and that he would appear to them there; they had done this and were waiting for his appearance. Peter, because of his denials, may have wavered in his loyalty, but the others surely did not. By going a-fishing they did not mean to abandon their apostleship; they were merely putting in the time, while they waited for developments; but by thus returning to their old occupation they were subjecting themselves to strong temptation (Luke 9:62).--Philip Y. Pendleton

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 21:4". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-21.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

A MANIFESTATION OF THE RISEN LORD

‘Jesus stood on the beach: howbeit the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.’

John 21:4 (R.V.)

Perhaps of all scenes associated with the manifestations of the Risen Lord the scene upon the lake shore is the most comforting and helpful. Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, James and John the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples unnamed, go forth with nightfall to fish upon the lake. The morning breaks, and still there has been no success. They are weary and disappointed, and it is just the moment when they are least looking for, least ‘ready’ for the Presence of Christ. Then He comes to them in the grey, breaking dawn; but they do not know Him till His tender regard for their need has first drawn from Him words and actions full of power and graciousness and self-revelation. He enters into their life at just that moment that He may thus assure them of His Presence in it at all moments, ‘even unto the end of the age.’ Let us mark each step in that Royal entry of the Risen Lord into the lives and work of His servants.

I. He was watching them all the while.—Think of it, not as a beautiful picture of what once happened on the Galilæan lake, but as equally true for to-day and for our modern life.

II. He was standing on the eternal shore.—Not now in the ship, asleep, for utter human weariness. Not now even ‘walking on the sea and drawing nigh unto the ship.’ Past all shock of storm, all power of change, all peril of death; my point of rest, my goal of hope, the Eternally-glorified One, ‘from henceforth expecting,’ able from that lofty vantage-ground to direct the work of His servants; to watch their varying fortunes; to send, if need be, to their help.

III. From thence He proves the hearts of His servants.—He will see whether they will own their need. ‘Children, have ye any meat?’

IV. He comes to us in our failure.—It was direction we needed so much. He alone could see the true drift of our work, and so He alone could direct it. In order to take a proper estimate of life in its forces, its possibilities, its aims, you must see it from eternity. You must stand and look down upon it as a completed whole. You must view it in the light of God. He alone can do that. ‘Cast the net on the right side of the ship.’ ‘They cast, therefore, and now they were not able to draw for the multitude of the fishes.’ Realising the entry of Godhead and Eternity and Highest Wisdom into our work, that work itself receives a new joyousness, a new direction, a new power. The blessing is sure because something higher even yet—the Presence—is sure.

V. He calls His disciples to His feet.—‘Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.’ They go up into the ship and draw the net to land, ‘full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.’ The work is sure, the results are tested and proven, brought thus to land at His feet, even though all the deep is not emptied.

Rev. T. A. Gurney.

Illustration

‘I recall a scene some years ago in my former parish. It is the deathbed of a young, splendid fisherman. The last years of his life had been embittered by special causes, and these had intensified the spiritual reserve of a reserved nature. No word would he hear about God whilst in health. Now he had just taken his last farewell of the sea he loved so well, turning from one last hungry gaze over the bright still waters with passionate sobs, as one wishes farewell to life’s dearest love before going forth to fight with death. We spoke together of those tired fishermen, the grey dawn of disappointment the question flung across the waters, the figure of One they loved self-revealed upon the shore. How they had parried with the question rather than admit the depth of need! How the dimly-revealed Lord had loved them all the while! His heart drank it all in; I can never forget it. It was Christ standing there once more on another shore tenderly drawing another weary fisherman to Himself.’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on John 21:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/john-21.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

Ver. 4. But when the morning] Mourning lasteth but till morning, Psalms 30:5. Flebile principium melior fortuna sequetur, Poor beginnings come before better fortune, said Queen Elizabeth, when she was to be sent to the Tower.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 21:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-21.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, 1. Christ was near, very near to his disciples, but they perceived it not: Jesus stood on the shore, but they knew not that it was Jesus.

Learn, Christ is not always discerned by us when he is present with us; it is a double mercy to enjoy his company, and to know indeed that it is he.

Observe, 2. Although they had laboured all the night in vain, yet at Christ's command they go to work again, and with great success: They were not able to draw the net for the multitude of fishes.

When Christ is about to do great things for his people, yet will he have them exert all possible endeavours of their own; and the want of former success must not discourage from future endeavours.

Observe, 3. What a proof Christ here gives of his divinity and godhead: how were all the fish in the sea at his pleasure, and obedient to his command! he knew where they swam, and brings them from one part of the lake to the other, where the disciples had toiled all night, and caught nothing. Christ our Mediator is true God, and as such he had a sovereign power and providence over all the creatures; the cattle on a thousand hills, and all the fish swimming in the sea, are obedient to his power, and observant of his commands.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on John 21:4". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/john-21.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

4. ἔστη εἰς] See reff. A sudden appearance is indicated by the words.

The ἐστιν after ᾔδεισαν is quite in John’s manner: see reff.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 21:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-21.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 21:4. πρωΐας, the morning) when they had been toiling for a considerable length of time.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 21:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-21.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Probably their distance from him was the cause that they did not know him, though they had seen him once and again since his resurrection from the dead: others think, that by the providence of God their eyes were holden that they should not know him, as Luke 24:16.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 21:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-21.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Это могло быть еще одним случаем, когда Господь не дал ученикам узнать Его (20:14, 15; ср. Лк. 24:16).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 21:4". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-21.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4.Knew not that it was Jesus—The distance and the dimness of the morning light might account for their not knowing him. But still the narrative intimates that our Lord maintained a supernatural reserve, so that his apostles could scarce discern his identity. So, while his ministry and Church are here on this sea of life, he ever stands on yonder high shore of immortality, earnestly watching them, though but dimly recognized by them.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 21:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-21.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Likewise the breaking of this new day is perhaps symbolic of the new era that was opening up for them as Jesus" disciples, though they did not realize that yet. Jesus" instruction would change the course of their lives forever.

The disciples could not identify Jesus as He stood on the shore within shouting distance from where they fished ( John 21:8). This may have been due to the twilight, the distance, Jesus" altered appearance, or some other reason (cf. Luke 24:16).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 21:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-21.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 21:4. But when morning was now coming, Jesus stood on the shore; the disciples however knew not that it was Jesus. Night passed away, and the day began to break. Then Jesus stood on the shore, but they did not recognise Him,—it may be that the light was insufficient, it may be that it was not yet His wish that He should be known.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 21:4". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-21.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 21:4. , “but early morning having now arrived,” i.e., when all hope of catching fish was past, [or ] , “Jesus stood upon the beach”; for , cf.John 20:19; John 20:26. It seems to indicate the suddenness of the appearance, , “the disciples, however, were not aware that it was Jesus”.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 21:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-21.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

now = already.

on. Greek. eis. App-104.

knew. Greek. oida. App-132.

not. Greek. ou. App-105.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 21:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-21.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Perhaps there had been some considerable interval since the last manifestation, and having agreed to betake themselves to their secular employment, they would be unprepared to expect Him.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 21:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-21.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

4. As the sun was rising. This is after they had fished all night without success.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 21:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/john-21.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) Jesus stood on the shore.—Comp. John 20:19; John 20:26. The words express the sudden appearance without any indication of His coming. He was then standing in the midst, or on the shore, but no one knew whence or how.

The disciples knew not that it was Jesus.—Comp. John 20:14.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 21:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-21.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.
but
20:14; Mark 16:12; Luke 24:15,16,31
Reciprocal: Genesis 42:8 - but they knew

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 21:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-21.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Ver. 4. "But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore; but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus."

Morning is the type of dawning salvation: comp. on ch. John 20:1; Psalms 30:6; Psalms 59:17; Psalms 90:14; Psalms 143:8. For πρωΐας, comp. ch. John 18:28, John 20:1, in both cases πρωΐ. We have in Matthew 27:1 the full πρωΐας δὲ γενομένης literally. That passage and Matthew 20:1 are the only two besides this in the New Testament where πρωΐ occurs; and both times in a connection where the guilt and the rejection of the Jews are spoken of, when the new day of Christ's glorification breaks among the Gentiles: comp. ἡ ἀποβολὴ αὐτῶν καταλλαγὴ κόσμου, Romans 11:15; and τῷ αὐτῶν παραπτώματι ἡ σωτηρία τοῖς ἔθνεσι, Romans 11:11.—"On the shore:" the combination of ἔστη and εἰς is as in ch. John 20:19; John 20:26. Here Jesus stands on the margin. At the first fishing, Luke 5:4, He went up into the ship; in ch. John 6:19, He came to the disciples on the sea. That He here remained standing on the bank, points to the fact that now, withdrawn from the sea of the world. He belonged to another stage of being. To Him applied what will one day be true of all His people, "There was no more sea," Revelation 21:1 (compare my commentary on this passage). That He was on the bank, and His disciples on the sea, was an illustration of His word, ch. John 17:11, "I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world." In the parable of the net, in Mark 13, the margin signifies in ver. 48, according to ver. 49, the future state, the "end of the world."

"The disciples knew not that it was Jesus:" so precisely of Mary Magdalene, ch. John 20:14, "And she knew not that it was Jesus." Here again our Lord appeared "in another form," because it was not His will to be recognised at once. In this manner the impression upon the disciples would be deepened; at the same time they would be led into a perception of the truth, that Jesus was always with them, although their eyes might not always be able to discern Him.

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Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 21:4". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-21.html.