JOHN 21:10-17 JESUS SAID TO SIMON PETER, SIMON, SON OF JONAH, DO YOU LOVE ME MORE THAN THESE PART 1

17May

John 21:10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught." 11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are You?" --knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. 14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. 15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs." 16 He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep." 17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.

 

In this very familiar section of Scripture we see Jesus telling the disciples after they have fished all night to cast the net again and they catch so many fish they almost sink the boat.  They need to recognize without Him they can do nothing, as do we.  Then He feeds the disciples with fish He has created for their breakfast in the same fashion He multiplied the fish and the loaves at the feeding of the 5000 men and their families.  He then proceeds to restore Peter by asking him three times do you love me.  That is the question of all time, do we love Jesus more than others, more than things, more than anything.  As the old song says I would rather have Jesus than silver or gold, than riches untold, I rather have Jesus than anything this world affords.

Jesus invites us to labor with them,  Little boy brought his fish and bread, they caught it and hauled it in.

The “fire of coals” would certainly remind him of the fire at which he denied the Lord (John 18:18). It is good for us to remember the past; we may have something to confess.

10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught."

Even though there was already one fish (Gr. opsarion, singular) on the fire Jesus instructed the disciples to bring some of the fish (plural) that they had caught. He would not provide for their physical needs by multiplying the food miraculously as He had done in the past. Now He would use the product of their labor to satisfy their need. Nevertheless it was clear that their fish had been the result of His miraculous provision. Perhaps this was all symbolic of how Jesus would carry out His mission through His disciples in the future compared with how He had done it during His pre- cross ministry.

But notice that Jesus then invites the disciples to bring the fish they have caught. This beautifully suggests the way God works with man. As I read through the Scriptures I am continually astonished at the privilege given us by God of being co-laborers with him. Human labor was involved in almost all of the miracles of Jesus. For instance, our Lord multiplied the bread and fish which the boy had to feed the multitude, but he first sent the disciples searching through the crowd to see what they could supply. The wonder of this is that God, who could easily do it all himself, nevertheless gave them the great privilege of being co-workers with him.

What he invites you to do may be a very simple thing. You may have opportunity to share your faith with your neighbors. While that may seem an insignificant thing now, when history has come to an end and we are all gathered on the shore with Jesus this may well become the greatest thing you have ever done. We will see ourselves as tremendously privileged to have worked with God in what he was doing in this world.

 11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken.

A spiritual lesson here is that great blessing comes to one’s efforts when he follows the Lord’s will.

Peter either organizes the landing of the fish or he's the one who hauls it in. Now, if you've ever been in the water playing with your children when they're small, you can have two or three of your small children kind of hanging on you and you can still get around the water, right? Because the buoyancy displacement makes them not as heavy as if you were on land. On land you might be able to move a step or two but you sure can't haul them around the water, right?
So you envision Peter. They can't get over the gunnel of the ship because it's so heavy, but he can sort of man handle it in the water up to the side and then the disciples would organize the getting of all the fish out before they could slip back into the Sea of Galilee.
Why 153 fish? Well it's almost comical, commentators write pages of what the number 153 means. They have spiritualized allegorizations into all kinds of things in the Bible and it's almost comical to read, but unfortunately they happen to believe the stuff they write.
I am one hundred percent convinced that it means there were 153 fish. And if you know anything about fishing, what does any good fisherman do? You count your fish. Notice the text says large fish? No one ever says, "I caught 153 little fish.  John tells us it was 153 large fish. Much has been made of the number 153, but it may be enough to note that the author knew the exact number of fish caught, and that it was a great quantity. Such details give credibility to one’s testimony, and John certainly provides us with details.

There have been many symbolic explanations of the meaning of the 153 fish. One of the more credible of these is as follows. Jesus formerly told His disciples that they would become fishers of men, an obvious metaphor (Mark 1:17). If the fish here represent the converts that Jesus would miraculously provide for His disciples to "catch," perhaps their large number represents many converts and the fact that Jesus is the one who is responsible to bring the converts in to us.

Mt 13:47 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind,

48 "which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. 49 "So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just,

Mt 25:32 50 "and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

The fact that the net did not break may symbolize the capability of the gospel to "catch" many people without failing.

We are blessed by Laboring with the Lord

They have much patience and persistence, and they will not quit. They know how to cooperate with one another, and they are skilled in using the equipment and the boat. What examples for us to follow as we seek to “catch fish” for Jesus Christ!

We are indeed “fishers of men,” and there are “fish” all around us. If we obey His directions, we will catch the fish.

But the main emphasis in this account is: success cannot occur without the recognition that the power of God is needed. This is not new truth. In Psalm 127 the psalmist said, "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it. Except the Lord guard the city, the watchman watches in vain," (Psalms 127:1 KJV). But it is very common in the church today to see people rely on strictly human methods, with no recognition of the fact that God must supply.

Eph 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us
 12 Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are You?" --knowing that it was the Lord. Ac 10:41

Jesus, as the host, invited the disciples to dine with Him. Perhaps He was reminding them of their last meal together in the upper room just before His arrest. In the ancient Near East a host who extended hospitality to others and provided food for them was implying that He would defend them from then on.

Consequently Jesus' invitation may have been a promise of commitment to them like the oriental covenant meal. Such a meal involved acceptance, forgiveness, and mutual commitment. By accepting His invitation the disciples were implying that they were committing themselves to Jesus afresh.

"Three 'invitations' stand out in John's Gospel: 'Come and see' (John 1:39); 'Come and drink' (John 7:37); and 'Come and dine' (John 21:12). How loving of Jesus to feed Peter before He dealt with his spiritual needs. He gave Peter opportunity to dry off, get warm, satisfy his hunger, and enjoy personal fellowship. This is a good example for us to follow as we care for God's people. Certainly the spiritual is more important than the physical, but caring for the physical can prepare the way for spiritual ministry. Our Lord does not so emphasize 'the soul' that He neglects the body."

Jesus then invites the disciples to join Him for breakfast. We are not actually told that they ate some of their fish for breakfast, and I am inclined to believe that Jesus supplied their entire meal. This was true of the bread, it would seem, and I think it was true as well for the fish. If Jesus had not already prepared a sufficient quantity for all these men (something a little hard to believe), then He could simply have fed them the same way He fed the 5,000, on the other side of the sea. These men had worked hard to provide for themselves, and they had nothing to show for it. Then they come to Jesus, who has more than enough to meet their needs. And in the process, He provides this great catch, enough to supply for their future needs.  I suspect that Jesus had them bring some of their fish so they could actually see how great the catch was. Once again, it would seem as though Jesus did not look exactly as He did before His death and resurrection. Even after the disciples had gotten close enough to get a good look at Jesus, they were still wondering to themselves, “Is this really Him?” They wanted to ask, but no one dared. They knew it was Jesus, but He probably did not look exactly as He had before, and so they just found it hard to believe.

"Come. Have breakfast. You've been fishing all night. You're worn out. Come. Have breakfast."
There's a charcoal fire and the smell of fish grilling on it. There are hunks of bread by the stones there maybe.

It is a great picture. I think we lose, again, a sense of the idea that the disciples, these appearances by Jesus were not every day or commonplace. There was still awe and wonder at when He appeared and what He had come to tell them.
Try to envision yourself coming off this boat, you know with your particular first century garb. You are wet, tired, cold and hungry and you haven't had the advantage of a thermos full of coffee. You've been out there on the water all night. It's cold and you’re weary and you have nothing really to show for it. Then you come in and here's Jesus.
And of course Peter is thinking to himself, "I've been here before. This has happened to me before."
Because back at his conversion this is how Jesus called him. He had a night where he had fished and hadn't caught anything and Jesus sends him back out in the morning and he catches a boatload of fish and he comes before Jesus and he says, "I am a sinful man."   And Jesus says, "Follow Me."
 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.

 14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. Joh 20:19,26

John said that this was the third post-resurrection appearance "to the disciples" (i.e., the apostles, cf. 20:19-23, 26-29). Chronologically this was at least Jesus' seventh post-resurrection appearance (cf. 20:11-18; Matt.

28:8-10; 1 Cor. 15:5; Luke 24:13-32; John 20:19-23, 26-29). Nevertheless it was the third appearance to the disciples, and the third appearance to the disciples that John recorded.

John viewed this appearance as further proof of Jesus' resurrection. Perhaps he viewed it as completing a full complement of testimonies since he drew attention to its being the third appearance to the disciples. The number three in Scripture sometimes connotes fullness or completeness (e.g., the three Persons of the Trinity). However by calling this appearance a "manifestation" (Gr. ephanerothe, cf. v. 1) John indicated that he also viewed it as a revelation of Jesus' true character. So far Jesus had reminded these disciples of lessons that He had taught them previously that were important for them to remember in view of their mission. He had also set the stage for an even more important lesson that would follow.

I believe there are lessons to be learned from this miracle in the light of its similarity to the great fish harvest of Luke 5. Because of the fishing miracle in Luke 5, Peter and the other disciples came to see Jesus (and themselves) in a whole new light. There, Peter realizes he is not worthy to be in the same boat with Jesus. In John 21, Peter and the others are once again awed by our Lord and His works. In both texts, these professional fishermen were not able to catch anything on their own, even though they were laboring in the area of their expertise.

Jesus taught them that He is the source of their success, He is the One Who, when obeyed, makes men fruitful fishermen.

In Luke 5, the disciples were called to leave their fishing boats and to become “fishers of men” (5:10). I believe that John 21:1-14 is a reaffirmation of that original call. The disciples are all waiting around, wondering what to do with their lives.

I believe that by means of this miracle Jesus reiterates and reinforces their original call, which came in Luke 5.

There are some interesting differences in these accounts as well—and lessons to be learned from them.

The most obvious (and probably the most important) difference is that in Luke 5, Jesus was in the boat. In John 21, Jesus is on the shore. You may think I am pressing the limits of this story, but there is a lesson here: “Jesus is able to guide, to provide for, and to watch over His disciples just as well (better?) from a distance, as He is able to care for them “up close and personal.” From 100 yards away, Jesus knew they had caught no fish. From 100 yards away, Jesus could guide them to an abundance of fish. Even before they saw Him, Jesus was prepared to provide for their needs. He had breakfast “on the table,” so to speak, when they arrived on shore. Were the disciples uneasy about Jesus going away, about Jesus leaving them to return to His Father? Such fears are unfounded. He is just as able to care for them when He is in heaven as He was to care for them while He was on earth. I think this was a significant part of the lesson He wanted them to learn.

That is why this story is included here -- to teach us that in the work of evangelizing, whether through mass evangelism or individual witnessing, God himself is working with us and will supply far more than we ever dreamed.

Both of these accounts refer to Peter as "Simon Peter." Recall that when the Spirit of God uses the name "Simon" Peter, the natural Peter, the one with whom we feel a kinship, the Peter in us all, is in view.

And three times, Jesus is going to ask Peter the same question, or at least, we think it’s the same question, but as we’ll see as we move through this there’s actually a subtle shift in this question that we can’t see in our English Bibles, right?

It’s a rich picture of how intimately Jesus knows His friend, Peter, and by implication, how He knows us.

So, not only the guilt of, “Oh, I failed, and I didn’t respond well,” but, “Let me restore you to a place of usability that’s far beyond your wildest imagination.”

We need to keep this in mind as well, especially those of us who are very aware of our own sins, and how we have failed…

No matter how great a person is, he may fall (cf. 1 Cor. 10:12).[i]

  • Would you begin to understand that nothing you will ever done will make Him love you more, -and nothing you have ever done will make Him love you less. And when you start there, I believe the prayer thing is going to take care of itself.” But we’re all in this performance quota, “I have to do this before God will look on me favorably.”

He could not have demonstrated His love more profoundly than He already has. Why would He then change that conditionally based upon our works? So the motivation is, “I love you, and I want to respond well to you.”

Not, “I need to pray more, I need to be more faithful, I shouldn’t have done that.” What a terrible way to live the Christian life. Ultimately, that performance mindset that you’re talking about is legalism. It’s an attempt to self-justify and we have to come back and say do we believe that Christ has paid it all, and that we’re accepted not because of what we do, - but because of what He has done? And Peter had to realize that as well. As we pick up this account in John’s Gospel, Jesus has just finished cooking breakfast for His friends, and He’s about to have a conversation with Peter.

to follow Christ as maybe we have promised to do. Jesus is in the business of restoration. I am inclined to understand verses 1-14 in terms of evangelism—being fishers of men. But it is not enough to simply bring a lost sinner to faith in Jesus Christ; that person should also be discipled, and thus brought to maturity in Christ. This seems to be implicit in the Great Commission:

Lu 24:33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!"

Mr. 16:7 "But go, tell His disciples--and Peter--that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you."

Jesus is not seeking to correct (or even rebuke) Peter here for his three-fold denial. Jesus personally revealed Himself to Peter, probably before He appeared to the disciples as a group (1 Corinthians 15:5; Luke 24:34; Mark 16:7). I believe it is there that our Lord dealt with Peter’s three-fold denial, and forgave him. In our text, Peter is eager to be with our Lord. I believe this is because Peter’s sins have already been confronted and forgiven, and thus he has already been restored to fellowship with the Master

I am not even inclined to see this text as Peter’s restoration to leadership. There are some scholars who hold that Peter was restored to fellowship in his private interview with Jesus, and that this incident is his public restoration to leadership. I see the emphasis of this passage falling on humble service, not on leadership, per se.?????????

this passage is more about love than about leadership. Love for Jesus is demonstrated by faithfully caring for His sheep. So, too, when we care for the sheep whom our Lord loves, and for whom He gave His life, we show our love for the Shepherd.

caution should be exercised in making too much of the two different words for “love” which are employed in this text. The two verbs are agapao and phileo. The first two times Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him, the word for love is agapao. The third time Jesus asks, He employs the term phileo. Every time Peter responds to Jesus’ question, indicating his love, he employs the word phileo. The distinctions that some make between these two terms may hold true in some cases, and for some authors. They do not seem to hold true for John, who often uses different terms for the same concept. When commentators do seek to emphasize the distinctions between the two Greek words John uses, they do not agree as to what the meaning and emphasis of these terms are. We should keep in mind that when Jesus spoke to Peter and asked him these three questions, He spoke not in Greek (the language in which the Gospel of John is written), but in Aramaic, the language spoken by the Jews of that day. The change in words may have some significance, but I hardly think it is the key to understanding the passage.

Jesus began by addressing Peter as Simon the son of Jonas. In the Gospels, Jesus addressed Peter this way on only the most important occasions. These were his call to follow Jesus (1:42), his confession of Jesus as the Son of God (Matt. 16:17), and as he slept in Gethsemane (Mark 14:37).????????????

 When Jesus addressed Peter this way here, Peter probably realized that what Jesus was about to say to him was extremely important.

"His [Peter's] actions had shown that Peter had not wanted a crucified Lord. But Jesus was crucified. How did Peter's devotion stand in the light of this? Was he ready to love Jesus as he was, and not as Peter wished him to be?"

His will is content with following. His work is compelled by love. His way is committed to God. And his work, or his will is content with following, but his words are about Jesus.

Number one, his work is compelled by love. A real committed Christian operates on the basis of his love for the Lord. Two, his way is controlled by God. He has learned how to give his life totally to God and trust Him for it. His will is content with following. He's happy to do what Jesus leads him to do. Fourth, his words are concerning Jesus. His work is compelled by love. His way is controlled by God. His will is content with following. And his words are concerned with Jesus.

  Mark 8:36 "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

 John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Have you trusted Him as your Savior? He can Save you if You ask Him based on His death, burial, and resurrection for your sins. Believe in Him for forgiveness of your sins today.

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“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  -John 8:32

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