(Part 1 of 2)
“ After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately[a] got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.’-John 21:1-3
“After these things” is a curious phrase, because it demands that you remember what happened just prior to this in order to appreciate what you are about to read next. Let’s face it, some pretty amazing things had happened prior to this. Jesus was arrested, beaten, crucified, buried, rose again, and then appeared to his disciples on two different occasions. The first time He appeared to them was to confirm His resurrection. The second was specifically for Thomas. Now He is about to show Himself again. The question is why?
We know from Matthew 28:10 that Jesus instructed Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples to go to Galilee and there they would see Him. It appears, however, as they waited they grew a little impatient and Peter decides to go fishing. He is accompanied by six other disciples; several of which were fishermen by trade, yet they did not catch a single fish all night.
When morning came, Jesus stood on the shore and called to them John 21:4-6:
“But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”
They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.”
The Apostle John recognized that it was the Lord and when Peter heard this, he bailed out of the boat and swam to shore (John 21:7-11). When he arrived on shore, Jesus had a fire going and breakfast ready, but why was He here?
Because this is where it all began:
“And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.”-Matthew 4:18-20
It was here that Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow Him. As they finished eating their breakfast, Jesus turned to Simon Peter and asked him a very deliberate question:
“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”-John 21:15
The passage is a little vague about whom or what Jesus is referring. Was He referring to the fish and the fisherman’s lifestyle that Peter once worked. Fishing was his comfort zone. Jesus had called Peter to follow Him and taught him how to be a fisher of men; now, however, Peter found himself once again back in a boat, back to his old trade.
Or was Jesus speaking about the other disciples? Let’s face it Peter made some pretty bold statements concerning his devotion compared to the others:
“Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”-Matthew 26:33
Whichever the case may be, it became clear, very quickly, that Jesus’ visit to them (this third time) was because Jesus and Peter had some unfinished business.
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church