April 28 – John 21:1-14
The book of John has a masterful structure to it. It falls into four big sections: the Prologue (1:1-18), the Book of Signs (1:18-12:90), the Book of Glory (13:1-20:31), and the Epilogue (John 21:1-25). Thus far in 2019 we’ve looked at parts from the first three sections; this week we turn to the Epilogue and Jesus’ third resurrection appearance to the disciples.
Starting out Jesus finds the disciples fishing. Some have speculated that, at this point, the disciples had given up their disciple life and had returned to their previous occupation as fisherman. We don’t know that for certain; there are any number of reasons why they could have been out fishing, if only to make a little money. But, in Jesus’ interaction with Peter in v.15-19, we do see some hints of Jesus returning him back to his original mission. As much as we don’t know precisely what was transpiring here between Jesus and the disciples, we can gather that his presence was necessary to help the disciples continue his work.
At first you have Jesus, calling from the shore, perhaps even poking fun at the disciples for not catching anything. The disciples don’t recognize him (cf. Luke 24:16; John 20:15, 20:20, most times when Jesus appeared to his disciples after the resurrection they didn’t recognize him at first) and take his fishing advice . Then Jesus worked a miracle in allowing them to catch an enormous amount of fish, perhaps to remind them who exactly is in charge of providing for them. The disciples finally catch on and Peter flings himself in the water to go to the risen Lord.
And then Jesus eats breakfast with them. It’s a wonderful, strange thing here that Jesus, back from the dead and on his way to the Father’s side, would stop to eat a meal with his disciples. While there Jesus re-commissions Peter (v.15-19) and speaks to John the Apostle’s role (v.20-23), so he’s about some specific business. But to a certain extent Jesus was also there to just eat with his brothers, to give them a moment in his presence that would stand to encourage them in their mission to proclaim the Good News to all the world.
Questions for Discussion
• Can someone read John 21:1-14 for us?
• What stood out to you from the passage?
• Why do you think Jesus revealed himself to his disciples this way?
• Why do you think Jesus sat down to have a meal with them?
• What do you think Jesus was trying to communicate to the disciples here?
• Jesus was about to ascend to heaven. How do you think Jesus wanted to leave things in his disciples hands?
• How could that apply to us?