This week’s lesson is going to be the final lesson in the winter quarter of lessons titled ‘Triumph’.  Throughout this quarter we have looked at Jesus’ birth, His triumphant entry into Jerusalem the week that He would be arrested and then crucified.  So, by the point in time that we are looking at in our lesson this week, Jesus has risen from the grave with all authority given to Him (Matt. 28:18).  This week’s lesson is being taught from John 21:1-14.

Life After Jesus for the Disciples

Our lesson opens up with some of the disciples gathered together at the Sea of Tiberias.  I want to make a quick note that the Sea of Tiberias is the same as the Sea of Galilee.  Galilee was the Hebrew name of the sea whereas Tiberias was the Greek/Roman name of the sea.

Disciples go fishing

We are told that the disciples that were gathered together were Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, John and James, along with two other disciples who go unnamed (vss.1-2).  The two unnamed disciples may have not been of the 11 disciples but were close followers of Christ.  Now, I do want to point out that this is a very fascinating group that is gathered here at the sea of Galilee.

First we have Peter who was a loud and proud man and would often get in his own way.  Thomas was the skeptic (doubter) that was always questioning and doubting (John 14:5; 20:24-25).  Nathanael was one who had a bit of a smart mouth – he questioned if anything good could come out of Nazareth (John 1:46).  Then there is both James and John, the two sons of Zebedee who I would say were ever faithful.  Their mom asked if they could both sit at the hands of Jesus in heaven (Matt. 20:20-21).

I would point to all of you that this group is very representative of parts of us, right?  We, the genuine followers of Christ, I believe, are forever faithful to Him.  Yet, in our walk of faith, we have moments where we can get in our own way.  There are also moments where we can think we know everything which, again, gets in our way.  Then, there are those moments where we begin to question and doubt the way that the Lord is moving.

I point all of this out because I don’t believe it was a mere coincidence that this group was gathered together not long after Jesus’ resurrection.  By this point in time, we see that the disciples are no longer troubled in their hearts – they aren’t dismayed or grieving.  I would suggest that they may have been lounging around, feeling like they had nothing to do.  So, Peter says to them, “I am going fishing” and the others jump up and say that they are going to go with him as well (v.3).

When some of these men began following Jesus, He found them fishing.  They were fishermen and Jesus said to them that He would make the fishers of men to be delivered from wickedness (Matt. 4:19).  Now, I can imagine that these men just wanted to rest and do something that they may have not done for quite some time.  So, it is likely they were excited but by the time they raised their nets the next morning, they found their nets empty (v.4).

Assistance from Jesus

As they were likely frustrated and maybe disappointed at catching no fish, a man that they did not recognize asked from the shore, “Children, have you any food (v.5)?”  They responded, no.  Now, we know from John’s writing that this man was Jesus, though at that time none of them was able to recognize Jesus.  

Why did they not recognize Jesus?  Some may suggest it was because He was in His glorified body, however, I would point that the disciples had already seen Jesus in His glorified body on a few occasions by this point.  The most likely explanation was that the disciples were a good distance out at sea.

We are actually told later in our lesson that the disciples were 200 cubits – 100 yards – away from the shore (v.8).  Unless you have binoculars, it’s rather hard to make out who somebody is at 100 yards!  At the same time, a voice shouting over the sea at 100 yards would likely sound like just another voice.  Let’s also add that the time of day was most likely early in the morning – potentially just after dawn but not late enough to be considered midday.

So, Jesus said to them from the shore to throw their net on the right side of the boat and they will find some fish.  The disciples listened, again, to a man that they could not recognize, and they threw their nets to the right side.  After doing so, they could not even pull in the net with how much fish they actually caught (v.6)!  

To me, what is so fascinating about this is the fact that this group that was made up of a know it alls and skeptics, actually listened and did not question the man.  These men were all expert fishermen so it was not like they did not know what they were doing.  So, I would say that those three years of following Jesus seemed to pay off in that they were humble enough to simply listen and to give it a try.

We are then told that after pulling in the multitude of fish, John excitedly said to Peter, “It is the Lord (v.7)!”  It works that way still to this day when it comes to the believer realizing that the Lord is at work on our behalf.  We may not realize that it is the Lord working on our behalf at first, but then there’s this moment in our soul where we recognize God at work on our behalf.  At that moment, our soul is filled with all kinds of excitement.

There is also another lesson that can be learned from this as well.  What is that lesson?  Well, the believer has to learn how to get out of their own way and be humble.  Now, this is easier said than done but the honest truth is that we often end up blocking our blessing because we won’t humble ourselves and trust the one who is showing us the way.  Even though they did not recognize Jesus, the disciples were humble and listened and received their reward.  Imagine what you will receive if you will simply humble yourself and trust in the Lord.  

Fishers of men

Peter was filled with so much excitement at it being Jesus on the shore that he jumped from the boat and swam ashore while the others came in on the boat (v.8).  When they had all come ashore, they saw that Jesus had started a fire and there were already fish laying on the coals with bread.  Jesus then told them to bring some of the fish that they had caught to add to what He already had (vss.9-10).

Peter drags the large net of fish onto land and we are told that there were 153 fish in the net (v.11)!  There were many fish in the net but the net did not break.  Now, you may not see it just yet but there is something being represented here at the breakfast by the sea of Galilee.  

Again, Jesus told the disciples that He would make them fishers of men.  What is represented here is that the believers will bring in a large net of fish that will be believers.  You and I are both fishers of all people, just as Jesus commissioned us to do.  Jesus had already pulled in fish while He was in the world and even when He went to hell to gather and bring back all of those righteous souls that were in Abraham’s bosom.

The souls that we and the apostles gathered in will be added to those that Jesus gathered.  In fact, you and I are one of those very souls that will be added to those that Jesus gathered.  In the Parable of the Dragnet, Jesus stated, “the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away (Matt. 13:47-48).”

Breakfast by the sea

In order for us to carry out the Great Commission, we most definitely should allow the Lord to guide us and to use us just as the net is used.  We are to be His fishermen.  Then, in the end, we will see the beautiful picture that plays out by the seaside play out in the heavenly kingdom.   

A beautiful picture is shown to us as Jesus had prepared a breakfast for the disciples, they joined Him to eat, and He served them a wonderful meal (vss.12-14).  This too, is also shown to us in scripture when Jesus spoke of the great wedding feast which is recorded in Matthew’s gospel and Luke’s gospel.

In Matthew’s gospel (Matt. 22:1-14), the feast is called a wedding feast that takes place between the king’s son (which is Jesus) and a bride (which is the church).  In Luke’s gospel (Luke 14:15-24), a great supper is spoken of that is thrown by a certain man (a master).  Both events are one in the same and many are invited to the feast but few will attend because they will refuse.

However, those who accept the invitation will take part and join the Lord at this wonderful feast.  Now, the disciples ate breakfast by the sea, but the supper that is spoken of by Jesus is a supper that is one that will take place in the Father’s house.  That feast is going to be absolutely wonderful and you should certainly want to take part in this feast.  To take part in this feast, we must accept the invitation – that is the calling of genuine faith.


Thank You For Visiting New Found Faith

Sign up to our newsletter today so that you can stay up to date with New Found Faith