John 21

John 21:4-9

21:4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize [did not recognize Jesus, perhaps because boat was far from shore or because of lack of light in the early morning] that it was Jesus.

21:5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered.

21:6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some. [cf. Lk. 5:1-11]” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish [a total of 153 fish as per v. 11].

21:7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved [John] said to Peter, “It is the Lord! [only Jesus could do something like this]” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off [Peter was working in a loin cloth]) and jumped into the water [impulsive action characteristic of Peter; indicated Peter’s deep feelings for Jesus].

21:8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about [approximately] a hundred yards.

21:9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

John 21:15-25

21:15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said [Jesus asked a question that would remind Peter of his boastful claim on the night before the crucifixion] to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love [Gr. verb agapas; recall that Peter had boasted of a love toward Jesus superior to that of the other disciples (cf. Matt. 26:33; Mk. 14:29; Jn. 13:37)] me more than these [perhaps “these things/fish” (referring to his vocation) or “these men” (referring to the disciples)]?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love [Gr. verb phileo] you [note: Peter does not say “more than these” as he once had (cf. Matt. 26:33)].” Jesus said, “Feed [shepherd led sheep to pastures where they could find nourishment] my lambs [young disciples; perhaps the weakest and tenderest of the flock].”

Note: Regarding the use of “agape” and “phileo” — “…it is doubtful that we should make too much of an issue over this, because the two words are often used interchangeably in the Gospel of John. … It would appear that John used these two words as synonyms, whatever fine distinction there might have been between them. … It might be unwise for us to press the Greek too far in this case.” (Wiersbe • Be Transformed • p. 146)

21:16 Again Jesus said, “Simon [Jesus does not refer to him as Peter, perhaps to remind him that he had not yet realized his rock-like potential] son of John, do you truly love [Gr. agape] me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love [Gr. verb phileo] you.” Jesus said, “Take care [shepherd] of my sheep [the fisherman was to be a shepherd].”

21:17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love [Gr. verb phileo] me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love [have a tender regard for] me?” He said, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep [little sheep or lambs].”

Note: “It was appropriate that he that had denied Him three times should confess Him three times, so that Peter might neither doubt the forgiveness of his grievous sin, nor his being restored to the office of the apostleship.” (The 1599 Geneva Study Bible)

21:18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands [perhaps a figure of speech for crucifixion or means to have hands bound with cords for execution], and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go [martyrdom].”

Note: “In the third volume of Eusebius’s ‘Ecclesiastical History,’ the first-century historian notes that Peter was martyred around A.D. 61. First, he saw his wife crucified before his very eyes, and then, with a willing heart, he submitted himself to the cross. But feeling unworthy to die in the same manner as his Lord, he asked that he be crucified upside down.” (Swindoll • Beholding Christ … The Lamb of God • p. 108)

21:19 Jesus said this [21:18] to indicate [signify] the kind of death [tradition says that Peter crucified head downward; a violent death; Peter who had previously boasted that he was ready to die with Jesus (Lk. 22:33) would eventually die for Jesus] by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me [cf. Matt. 4:19 re: Peter’s original commission; follow continuously: both now and unto death]!”

21:20 Peter turned [a sudden turning around] and saw [we must fix our eyes on Jesus rather than others (cf. Heb. 12:1-2] that the disciple [John] whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray [to deliver over] you?”)

21:21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him [Peter interested in whether John’s earthly lot would be easier or harder than his own]?”

21:22 Jesus answered [told Peter that God’s plans for John were none of his concern], “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you [a sharp rebuke]? You must follow me [regardless of what God had planned for others, Peter’s responsibility was to follow Jesus; “God doesn’t deal with us on a comparative basis, but on an individual one.” (Swindoll)].”

21:23 Because of this, the rumor [mistaken idea] spread among the brothers [the Christians] that this disciple [John] would not die [prior to Jesus’ return]. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

21:24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

21:25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

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