Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 21:6

And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch." So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Fish;   Galilee;   Jesus, the Christ;   John;   Miracles;   Net;   Peter;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Fish;   Fishnets;   Home;   Miracles;   Net;   Obedience;   Obedience-Disobedience;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Stories for Children;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Fishes;   Miracles of Christ, the;   Ships;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Fish, Fisher;   Miracle;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Fish;   Palestine;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Hospitality;   Miracle;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Fishing, the Art of;   Peter;   Resurrection of Christ;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Gospels;   Miracles;   Net;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Dragnet;   John, the Gospel of;   Martha;   Presence of God;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - John, Gospel of;   Miracles;   Peter;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Animals;   Attributes of Christ;   Discourse;   Draught of Fishes;   Fish, Fisher, Fishing;   Foresight;   James ;   John (the Apostle);   Luke, Gospel According to;   Multitude;   Nets;   Portion ;   Property (2);   Temple (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Miracles;   3 To Draw, Drag;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Smith Bible Dictionary - John, Gospel of;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Fish;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Thomas;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Able;   Andrew;   Fishing;   James;   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

And ye shall find - The Ethiopic, three copies of the Itala, and St. Cyril, add, They said therefore unto him, we have labored all the night and caught nothing, nevertheless at thy command we will let down the net. This is borrowed from Luke 5:5.

For the multitude of fishes - This was intended as an emblem of the immense number of souls which should be converted to God by their ministry; according to the promise of Christ, Matthew 4:19.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 21:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-21.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

On the right side - Why the right side is mentioned is not known. Grotius supposes that it was the side nearest the shore, where there was less probability of taking fish. It does not appear that they yet recognized the Lord Jesus, but from some cause they had sufficient confidence in him to make another trial. Perhaps they judged that he was one skilled in that employment, and knew where there was the greatest probability of success.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 21:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-21.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

John 21:6

Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find

Old instrumentalities, but new method, an emblem of Christ’s redemptive method

Christ commanded the disciples to cast the old net in a new way.
Thus He ever does in redeeming souls.

I. HE EMPLOYS OLD INSTRUMENTALITIES. There are many of them, but they are all old.

1. The same old natural facts. He employs the phenomena of nature to quicken, educate and elevate souls. We have nothing more of nature than the men of remotest generations.

2. The same old gospel principles. Biblical truths are His redemptive forces, but the youngest of them is eighteen hundred years old.

3. The same old mental faculties. In regenerating men Christ does not create a new intellect, memory, imagination. He brings out the new moral creature with the old mental idiosyncrasies.

II. HE EMPLOYS OLD INSTRUMENTALITIES IN A NEW WAY. He directs men

1. To a new method of studying natural facts. Thoughtfully, inductively, devoutly--regarding them all as mirrors of the Divine.

2. To a new method of dealing with gospel truths. Not desultorily, speculatively, controversially, but inductively, systematically and practically.

3. To a new method of employing mental faculties. Turning the mental powers away from time to eternity, from the creature to the Creator. (D. Thomas, D. D.)

Ministerial encouragements

It was quite natural that this miracle should carry their thoughts back to that draught when their nets brake--the type of those poor tentative trial missions which alone these men had been capable of when they knew Christ only after the flesh. This erie was a type of the works greater than His own which Christ promised. Note

I. THE ASSURANCE THAT THERE IS A DIRECTING VOICE AND A GUIDING HAND. The disciples did not yet know the voice, and we do not always discern it; for Christ speaks in many tones--by circumstance, character, influence. What a relief and comfort this is!

II. It is no play on the words to say that there is A RIGHT AND A WRONG SIDE OF THE SHIP FOR THE CASTING OF THE NET. When Christ says the right side we must not choose the left. There is an awkward, clumsy, inappropriate way of offering truth and love to men as well as a way that is suitable, winning--to use the figure here, adroit, dexterous, and therefore Christ’s way.

III. WHAT IS CAST MUST BE THE NET, THE GOSPEL NET.

1. A prophet speaks of those who sacrifice to their own net. We may have a net of our own, and take great pains with it in making and mending, and think highly of it as an instrument for catching, and even fancy that it has caught, because there is a thronging and pressing to hear, and because men praise the thing heard--and lo! there is what God calls nothing in the net.

2. The great elements of gospel revelation must find place in all teaching--sin, the Divine Saviour, the Holy indwelling Spirit, sanctification, &c.

these things, not rawly or roughly flung out, but tenderly and sweetly impressed, must never be thrown behind in comparison with topics of the day.

IV. YE SHALL FIND. He does not say, “All at once,” nor “all you would,” nor “so as to see it now;” but He puts no limit to our hope and prayer. Not one earnest sermon falls to the ground. Some conscience is quickened, some sorrow comforted, or some life guided. (Dean Vaughan.)

Fishing for souls

Many men there are who make fishing rods who never use them. To make fishing rods is one thing, and to catch fish is another. Many men can make good lines who never think of going out to fish. There are plenty of mechanics that stand by the stithy and make all sorts of hooks who never catch fish. Many of the men who make reels and baskets do not catch fish. The man who, having these things at his command, knows where the trout lie, and how to throw his line, and how to draw back when the fish rises to the hook, he after all is the fisherman. Now there are hundreds of men who, when they go into the pulpit, make rods and lines (very long lines), and hooks, and reels, and baskets. They take this or that doctrine and pound it out into a hook, bending it and kinking it just so, and stick it up on a paper, and label it, and that is the end of it. And this is called preaching! To know how to make rods and lines, &c., is called sound, regular, and approved preaching; but Christ says that is preaching which catches men. And, so far from teaching you that you have no right to introduce into the pulpit anything but the substance of doctrines, I affirm that the man who does not do it will never catch men. God’s sovereignty may, out of the literal foolishness of his preaching, catch some men; but the commission of Christ to every man that undertakes to preach is, “Follow Me, and I will make you a fisher of men.” The business of a preacher is to catch men--proud, wicked, worldly men: and to catch them out of temptations, out of snares, out of wealth, out of poverty: for men are in more pools, ten thousand times than fishes are And that man who knows all kinds, and what sort of bait each loves, and how to coax him, and how to catch him, knows how to preach; but the man who does not know these things though he knows everything else--lacks a knowledge of the very thing he was sent to do. (H. W. Beecher.)

The two draughts of fishes

(Text, and Luke 5:4):--The whole life of Christ was a sermon. The miracles attest His mission; but a higher reason for them is to be found in the instruction which they convey. Some ministers have often preached from the same text, but never the same discourse. The like may be said of Christ. The two miracles seem to the casual observer to be alike; but though the text is the same in both, the discourse is full of variations. Note--I. THE POINTS OF UNIFORMITY. They are both intended to set forth the way in which Christ’s kingdom shall increase; viz., that

1. The means must be used. In the first case, the fish did not leap into Simon’s boat, nor in the second, did they lay themselves down upon the coals. No, the fishermen must go out in their boat, cast the net, and then either drag it ashore, or fill the boats with its contents. It is a miracle, but human agency is not ignored. In saving souls God works by means. So long as the economy of grace shall stand, God will by the foolishness of preaching save them that believe. God works by means of men whom He specially calls to His work, and not as a rule without them. The outcry against the “one man ministry” comes not of God, but of proud self-conceit. The new ways of catching fish without nets, and saving souls without ministers, will never answer. I know not a church that has despised instrumentality but it has come to an end within a few years either by schism or decay.

2. Means of themselves are utterly unavailing. In both cases there was failure--why? They were no raw hands; they had toiled, and toiled all night. There was no deficiency of fish, for as soon as the Master comes there they are by shoals. What, then, is the reason? Because there is no power in the means apart from the presence of Christ. Without Christ we can do nothing. “Not by might,” &c. Put no dependence upon societies, committees, ministries, &c. Let us work as if all depended upon us; but let us depend upon God, knowing that it rests with Him alone.

3. It is Christ’s presence that confers success. It was His will that drew the fish to the net as He sat in Peter’s boat. It was His presence on the dry land that drew the fish to the right side of the ship. Christ’s presence in the midst of the Church is the Church’s power.

4. The success developed human weakness. In the first instance the net breaks and the ship began to sink, and Peter says, “Depart,” &c. The very abundance of God’s mercy made him feel his own nothingness. In the last case, they were scarcely able to draw the net because of the multitude of fishes. If the Lord gives us success in winning souls we shall soon find out what nothings we are. Little increases such as have been common in our churches for years, are quite consistent with great self-congratulation, and so is utter barrenness; mark the pompous carriage of many a fruitless preacher. The man humbles himself in the dust when hundreds are ingathered, for this cannot be the minister; this is the finger of God.

II. THE DISSIMILARITY. The first picture represents the Church of God as we see it; the second as it really is. Luke tells us what the crowd see; John, what Christ showed to His disciples alone.

1. There is a difference in the orders given. In the first, it is, “Launch out into the deep,” &c. In the second, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship.” The first is Christ’s order to every minister; the second is the secret work of His spirit in the Word. The first shows us that the ministry is to fish everywhere. The preacher is not to single out any particular character. Those who preach only to the elect should remember this. What if we be in town, or city, or village? what if we be among the rich or poor, learned or illiterate? we have nothing to do with that--our duty is to “launch out into the deep, and let down the net.” Christ will find the fish. The secret truth is, that when we are doing this, the Lord knows how to guide us, so that we cast the net on the right side of the ship. That is the invisible work of the Spirit, whereby He so adapts our ministry that He makes it particular and special.

2. In the first instance there is a distinct plurality. The fishermen have nets and boats, and each man comes out distinctly. In the next, they are all in one boat, and unitedly drag one net. This is the visible and the invisible.

3. In the first case a great multitude of fish were caught. In the second “a hundred and fifty and three.” It were impossible to reckon how many have been taken in the outward net of the visible Church. But it is possible for it to be known of God how many shall be brought at last, and how many now are in the invisible Church. They shall be in heaven a number that no man can number, for God’s elect are not few; but “the Lord knoweth them that are His.”

4. The fish that were taken the first time appear to have been of all sorts. The net was broken, and therefore doubtless some of them got out again; there were some So little that they were not worth eating, and doubtless were thrown away: “They shall gather the good into vessels and throw the bad away.” In the second ease the net was full of great fishes; they were all great fishes, all good and worth the keeping. The first gives us the outward and visible effect of the ministry. We gather into Christ’s Church a great number, and there will always be some that are not good, and not really called of God. Sometimes we have Church-meetings in which we have to throw the bad away. Let no man be surprised if the tares grow up with the wheat--if there be wolves in sheep’s clothing--it always will be so. There was a Judas among the twelve. Not so in the invisible Church. In that there is none to throw away. No; the Lord who brought them into the net brought the right sort in.

5. In the first case, in the visible Church the net breaks. No doubt it is a bad thing for nets to break; but you need not wonder at it. It is the necessary consequence of our being what we are. Instead of having some one denomination, we have twenty or thirty? I do not grieve over it. For until you get a set of perfect men, you never will have anything but these divisions. But the net does not break in reality, for the invisible Church is one. Take care of the fish and leave the net alone, but still maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of perfectness.

6. In the first case, you see human weakness; there is the boat ready to sink, the net broken, the men all out of heart, begging the Master to go away. In the other ease, they are made strong, dragging the fish to shore. So in the visible Church you will often have to mourn over human weakness: but in the invisible Church God will make His servants just strong enough to drag their fish to shore.

7. In the first case, in the visible Church they launched out into the deep. In the second case, they were not far from the shore. So today our preaching seems to us to be going out into the great stormy deep after fish. We appear to have a long way to reach before we shall bring these precious souls to land. But in the sight of God we are not far from shore; and when a soul is saved, it is not far from heaven. To us there are years of temptation, and trial, and conflict; but to God, it is finished.

8. In the first case, the disciples had to forsake all and follow Christ. In the second, they sat down to feast with Him at the banquet which He had spread. So in the visible Church we have to bear trial and self-denial for Christ, but the eye of faith perceives that we shall soon sit down and feast in the kingdom of God.

III. THE LESSON WHICH THE TWO NARRATIVES IN COMMON SEEM TO TEACH. In the first case, Christ was in the ship. Christ is in His Church, though she launch out into the deep. In the second case, Christ was on the shore. Christ is in heaven. But whether He be in the Church, or in heaven, all our night’s toiling shall, by His presence, have a rich reward. This is the lesson. Mother, will you learn it? You have been toiling long for your children. It has been night with you as yet. Your night’s toiling shall have an end; you shall at last cast the net on the right side of the ship. Sunday-school teacher, minister, church, the night is far spent, and the Master shall soon appear; and His advent shall bring success. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "John 21:6". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/john-21.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right aide of the boat, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

One can never cease to be amazed at the type of mind which cannot find anything out of the ordinary in this episode. Hunter said, "There is no need to find anything miraculous or symbolic here. The Lake of Galilee swarmed then, as it still does, with fish. Jesus had evidently noticed a large shoal!"[7] If, as Hunter says, Jesus "noticed a large shoal of fishes" a hundred yards offshore in the semi-darkness of early morning, and against what light there was (they were on the western shore), it would not have removed the miraculous element from this incident; but it would have made Jesus' vision, at such a time and distance, of fishes under the surface of the water, to have been one of the most notable miracles the Lord ever performed.

The entire narrative here cannot be explained at all except in a frame of reference including the supernatural power of Jesus. Can it be doubted that Jesus already knew exactly where to find the apostles, that he knew of their fruitless night's work, or that he had built a fire and prepared food at exactly the place where Peter would swim shore, or that he already knew that they had nothing to eat?

Rationalization of Jesus' miracles is essentially dishonest. One may have a certain carnal respect for an avowed infidel; but so-called Christian scholars who attempt to rationalize the miracles are not entitled to either credence or respect. Dishonest handling of the sacred text is incapable of producing an honest argument.

ENDNOTE:

[7] Ibid., p. 194.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 21:6". "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

And he said unto them,.... Willing to make himself known by a miracle, since they knew him not by his person, nor voice:

cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find; that is, a large multitude of fish, as they did. The ship was an emblem of the church in its present afflicted state; the right side of it points to the elect, and where they are to be found in this world; the casting of the net signifies the preaching of the Gospel; the promise of finding fish, the assurance Christ gives of the success of his word, which he owns and blesses for the conversion of elect sinners:

they cast therefore; the net, willing to try what success they might have at the instance of this person, whom they knew not. The Ethiopic version reads the passage thus, "and they said unto him, we have laboured all night, and have found nothing, but at thy word we will let down"; which seems to be taken out of Luke 5:5. However, they obeyed his orders and directions, as the faithful ministers of the Gospel do, and should, and, succeeded.

And now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. The Syriac adds, "which it held"; being in number, as in John 21:11 an hundred and fifty, and three great fishes; which was an emblem and presage of that large number of souls both among the Jews and Gentiles, which they should be instrumental in bringing to Christ, through the preaching of the Gospel.

Copyright Statement
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 21:6". "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

he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship — no doubt, by this very specific direction, intending to reveal to them His knowledge of the deep and power over it.

Copyright Statement
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 21:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-21.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

The right side (εις τα δεχια μερηeis ta dexia merē). Jesus knew where the fish were. For “net” (δικτυονdiktuon) see Matthew 4:20, here alone in John.

Were now not able to draw it (ουκετι αυτο ελκυσαι ισχυονouketi auto helkusai ischuon). Imperfect active picturing the disciples tugging at the net.

Copyright Statement
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 21:6". "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

The net ( δίκτυον )

See on Matthew 4:18; see on Matthew 13:47.

Were not able ( οὐκ ἴσχυσαν )

See on Luke 14:30; see on Luke 16:3; see on James 5:16.

To draw ( ἑλκῦσαι )

Into the boat. Compare σύροντες , John 21:8, dragging the net behind the boat.

Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 21:6". "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

And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

They were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes — This was not only a demonstration of the power of our Lord, but a kind supply for them and their families, and such as might be of service to them, when they waited afterward in Jerusalem. It was likewise an emblem of the great success which should attend them as fishers of men.

Copyright Statement
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 21:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-21.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and ye shall find1. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes2.

  1. Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and ye shall find. The movements of large bodies of fish in the waters of Galilee are frequently visible to one standing on the shore.

  2. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Supposing that the stranger thus saw fish upon the right side of the boat, the disciples readily obeyed his command, without suspecting who it was that gave it.

Copyright Statement
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 21:6". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-21.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Закиньте сеть по правую сторону. Христос не приказывает им как Учитель и Господь, но лишь советует, как обычный человек. Ученики же, нуждаясь в совете, охотно слушаются незнакомца. Если бы они услышали подобный совет, когда забрасывали сеть в первый раз, то не стали бы столь быстро повиноваться. Я говорю об этом для того, чтобы никто не удивлялся их покладистости. Ведь их укротил долгий и изнурительный труд. Хотя то, что они с восходом солнца продолжили дело, которым безуспешно занимались всю ночь, свидетельствует также и о великом терпении. Действительно, чтобы обрести благословение Божие, надо постоянно ожидать его. Нет ничего хуже, чем тут же бросать дело, кажущееся бесплодным. О том же, что ученики упорно трудились, свидетельствует нагота Петра. Они не боялись снова и снова закидывать сеть, не упуская никакой возможности. И то, что они повиновались Христовым словам, нельзя приписывать их вере. Ведь они послушались Христа как неизвестного им человека. И сегодня, если призвание наше кажется нам тягостным, а труд – бесплодным, но Господь при этом увещевает нас к постоянству, нам, безусловно, надлежит крепиться. И успех несомненно придет, но только в свое время.

Не могли вытащить. Первый пример своей силы Христос выказал в изобилии улова, а второй – в том, что тайным образом сохранил неповрежденной сеть, которая иначе должна была непременно порваться. Добавляются и прочие подробности: ученики обнаружили на берегу уже горящий костер, лежащую рыбу и хлеб. Что касается числа пойманных рыб, то в нем не следует искать какую-то великую тайну. Августин тонко сопоставляет закон и Евангелие из повторения одинаковых чисел. Но всякий, кто хорошо все обдумает, сочтет это детской забавой.

 

 

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 21:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-21.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE SHIP

‘Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.’

John 21:6

‘Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.’ There is a right and a left in all our endeavours; and some people have an unfortunate way of doing everything in a left-handed sort of fashion; and so, too often, with the best intentions, they defeat their own object, and destroy their usefulness in the Lord’s cause.’

Let three requisites be mentioned for prosecuting the sacred duty of service for God—humility, tact, and love. A few words must suffice on each of these gifts.

I. Humility.—We have all, no doubt, at one time or another, encountered the busy, bustling, doctrinaire reformer, who impresses all with whom he comes in contact with his own sense of his immeasurable superiority to those he is striving to reclaim, who lets you know how far he is stooping in order to reach the outcast, and how very self-sacrificing and heroic it is of him to undertake and persevere in so disagreeable a task. It is not thus that we should go to those between whom and ourselves whatever disparity there may be is due to God’s strong grace. We must approach them feeling how unworthy we are of the hallowed privilege of being in any degree helpful to their imperilled souls; conscious of the debt we owe to Him Who has drawn us to Himself.

II. Tact. How often in God’s work have we to deplore in the human agent a lack of prudential wisdom. ‘The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.’ Forethought, consideration of others’ prejudices and difficulties, the happy gift of putting people at their ease, of not spoiling a wholesome message by its setting or its cutting, of not causing another whom we wish to benefit to feel gauche and awkward, these are very real helps in Christian work with individuals.

III. Love. Here is the all-powerful requisite. A loving spirit is what we chiefly need in dealing with souls. This transfigures the routine of Church work; and whatever methods are not fully compatible with this spirit must be rejected. Souls are not to be coerced into acceptance of the truth, dragooned into discipleship. The bruised reed has to be strengthened, not broken; the smoking flax not extinguished, but fanned to a flame. Love will know how to do this. She needs no hard and fast lines to indicate the right path. All this will come naturally to her.

Bishop Alfred Pearson.

Illustration

‘Amongst Mohammedans, it is required of every man who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca, that he should consider himself pledged to do something directly to spread his faith. The visit to the Kaaba binds him to missionary effort. We may well ask, Ought the pilgrimage to Calvary to be less potent?’

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on John 21:6". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/john-21.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

Ver. 6. Cast the net on the right side, &c.] This counsel he gives as a stranger, who haply might see a confluence of fish there, being on the shore, which they in the ship saw not. They obey him therefore, as content to lose one labour more, if it must be so; they knew not what another draught might produce. It is good to be doing in God’s way: sooner or later success will ensue. Bind not the Lord to a day; wake not my beloved till he please; he will pay us for all our pains and patience. Consider but our, 1. distance, 2. dependence, and we will wait.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 21:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-21.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

John 21:6. Cast the net on the right side of the ship, The disciples, not knowing Jesus, but imagining that he might be a person acquainted with the places proper for fishing, did as he directed, and caught a multitude of fishes. This was not merely a demonstration of the power of our Lord, but a kind of providential supply for his disciples and their families, which might be of service to them when they waited afterwards in Jerusalem, according to his order. See Luke 24:49. And it was likewise a sort of emblematical representation of the great success which should attend their endeavours to catch men in the net of the gospel. See Luke 5:9-10 and the Inferences on that chapter.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 21:6". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/john-21.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

6.] See Luke 5:6.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 21:6". 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 21:6. δεξιὰ, the right side) A most precise and unerring command. The power of the Lord collected together the fishes thither.— ἑλκύσαι) [to draw] The verb σύρειν, John 21:8 [to drag], implies the employment of greater force.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 21:6". 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

Though they had before laboured in vain, yet their Master’s command encourages them to go to work again; then they take a multitude of fishes; a presage, say some, of that great success which the apostles should have in their fishing for men.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 21:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-21.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

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.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 21:6". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-21.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6.The right side—His divine power could have given the same success to the left side; but he makes and announces his choice that they might see that the result was produced by his will and power. The apostles here knew not, thus far, this stranger; but he directs them with a persuasive power by which they are induced to make the trial he directs.

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 21:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-21.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And he said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat and you will find something.” They cast therefore and now they were not able to draw the net for the abundance of fish.’

When it was suggested that they cast their nets on the right (starboard) side of the boat they did as requested. Possibly they thought the man might have seen something from the shore that they had missed for he spoke with a kind of authority. Or perhaps it was just that they felt that they may as well have a go as there was nothing to lose. But to their astonishment they not only caught some fish, but pulled the nets up overflowing with fish. This immediately struck a chord as they remember the similar incident some time before when Jesus had done a similar thing (Luke 5:1-11). The incident paralleled that at Peter’s first calling and could therefore be seen by him as an indication that Jesus was still ready to act on his behalf and therefore as a renewal of his call to discipleship following his denial (see later).

The overall lesson from the acted out parable is clear. With Jesus absent the disciples are fruitless. Once, however, they have responded to His word fruitfulness abounds. The previous incident in Luke had resulted in their call to follow Christ and had resulted in the forecast that these men would become ‘fishers of men’. Here is the indication that the time has come and the guarantee that with Jesus’ help they will be abundantly successful.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 21:6". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-21.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Their nets had been hanging over the left-hand side of their fishing boat. The unknown authority on the shore now promised that if they would cast their net on the right-hand side they would catch some fish. Such a suggestion must have seemed ludicrous to these seasoned fishermen. The idea that such an insignificant change would accomplish anything was laughable. Yet amazingly the disciples followed Jesus" orders.

Why did they do so? Perhaps they remembered another night of unsuccessful fishing when Jesus had told Peter, James, and John to lower their nets. They had encountered such a large school of fish that their nets began to break ( Luke 5:1-11). That had been the time when Jesus first called those disciples to follow Him. They had responded by leaving their fishing trade to follow Jesus full-time as His disciples. Nevertheless it seems clear that even after they obeyed the unknown armchair fisherman on the shore this dark morning they still did not realize that He was Jesus.

The reason for the disciples" obedience is not as important as the fact of it. Had they not obeyed Jesus" command they would have failed to catch any fish. However because they obeyed, they experienced overwhelming success, success far exceeding their natural ability. They even had trouble managing the results of their success because it was so great.

These men would reflect on this experience and realize that Jesus had been teaching them how important it was to obey His word. Obedience to Jesus was the key to supernatural success. Indeed obedience to His word, even though they did not know it was His word, yielded an unbelievable reward.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 21:6". "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 21:6. And he said onto them, Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and no longer had they strength to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Comp. Luke 5:6.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 21:6". "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 21:6. . “Cast your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find.” They supposed the stranger had been making observations from the shore, had seen a shoal or some sign of fish, and unwilling to come in empty, . “They cast therefore, and were no longer (as they had been before) able to draw it [ , not , see Veitch’s Irreg. Verbs, seems here to be used as we use ‘draw’ in connection with a net, meaning to draw over the side of the boat so as to secure the fish. Contrast in John 21:8] for the multitude of fishes”; often means “on account of” in Dionysius Hal., Plutarch, and even in Thucydides and Sophocles as shown by Kypke.

 

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 21:6". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-21.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Cast. Greek. ballo, as in John 20:25, John 20:27.

net. A bag or purse net. Greek. diktuon, as in Matthew 4:20. Mark 1:18. Luke 5:2. For other words for "net", see Matthew 4:18; Matthew 13:47.

now they were not = no longer (Greek. ouketi) were they.

draw. Greek. helkuo. See on John 12:32.

for = from. Greek. apo, App-104. This was the eighth sign. See App-176.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 21:6". "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

And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side - no doubt, by this very specific direction, intending to reveal to them His knowledge of the deep and power over it.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 21:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-21.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(6) Cast the net on the right side of the ship.—Comp. Note on Luke 5:6. Here the special direction is to cast the net on the right side. We must suppose that the net was cast on the left side, and that they think the speaker who stands on the shore sees some indication of fishes on the other side, for He is still as a stranger to them, and yet they at once obey Him.

They were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.—That is, they were not able to draw it up into the boat. In John 21:8 they are described as dragging it to the shore.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 21:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-21.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
Cast
Matthew 7:27; Luke 5:4-7
They cast
2:5; Psalms 8:8; Hebrews 2:6-9
the multitude
Acts 2:41; 4:4
Reciprocal: Habakkuk 1:15 - they catch;  Malachi 3:10 - that there;  Luke 5:6 - they enclosed

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 21:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-21.html.

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

Ver. 6. "And He said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore; and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes."

The ship signifies the Church, the net her missions. The left side is, in the Divine fishery, the side of the Jews, the right side that of the Gentiles. The right is the better hand, and therefore the right side is the good side. The meaning of the name Benjamin, the son of the right hand, is, "His father loveth him," Genesis 44:22, and, "the beloved of Jehovah," Deuteronomy 33:12 : compare my commentary on Psalms 80. In Genesis 48 the youth on whom the right hand was laid is more blessed than he on whom the left. "The right hand," says Gesenius (Thes. ימין), "boni ominis erat." Because the right hand is the better. Matthew 5:20, the Lord places His sheep on the right hand and the goats on the left. The multitude of the fishes here represents the "great multitude which no man could number, out of every nation, and tribe, and people, and tongue," Revelation 7:9. That the disciples without hesitation acted on the suggestion of the Unknown, shows that His being had for them an imposing majesty.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 21:6". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-21.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

6.Cast the net on the right side of the ship. Christ does not command with authority and power as Master and Lord, but gives advice like one of the people; and the disciples, being at a loss what to do, readily obey him, though they did not know who he was. If, before the first casting of the net, any thing of this sort had been said to them, they would not have so quickly obeyed. I mention this, that no one may wonder that they were so submissive, for they had already been worn out by long and useless toil. Yet it was no small proof of patience and perseverance, that, though they had labored unsuccessfully during the whole night, they continue their toil after the return of daylight. And, indeed, if we wish to allow an opportunity for the blessing of God to descend on us, we ought constantly to expect it; for nothing can be more unreasonable than to withdraw the hand immediately from labor, if it do not give promise of success.

That Simon Peter Was Naked, is a proof that the disciples had labored in earnest; and yet they do not hesitate to cast the net again to make another trial, that they may not neglect any opportunity. Their obedience to the command of Christ cannot be ascribed to faith; for they hear him speak as a person who was unknown to them. Now, if we dislike our calling, because the labor which we undertake appears to be unproductive, yet, when the Lord exhorts us to steadiness and perseverance, we ought to take courage; in the end we shall obtain a happy result, but it will be at the proper time.

And now they were not able to draw it (228) Christ here exhibited two proofs of his Divine power. The first consisted in their taking so large a draught of fishes; and the second was, when, by his concealed power, he preserved the net whole, which otherwise must unavoidably have been broken in pieces. Other circumstances are mentioned, namely, that the disciples find burning coals on the shore, that fishes are laid on them, and that bread is also prepared. As to the number of the fishes, we ought not to look for any deep mystery in it. Augustine enters into ingenious reasonings about the statement of the number, and says that it denotes the Law and the Gospel; but if we examine the matter carefully, we shall find that this is childish trifling.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 21:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-21.html. 1840-57.