Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off. (John 12:4-8)
Seven of Jesus’ eleven disciples had decided to go fishing following Peter’s declaration to do the same (John 21:1-3). While debatable, it is possible the Peter had determined to return to the life and vocation he had known due to his three-fold denial of Jesus (John 18:24-27).
It is true that Jesus meets us where we are in our various stages of life. Whether during times of trouble or triumph, difficulties or despair, He meets us during our most heart-felt and needy times. He also reveals Himself through His Word when we return to the comfortable. The comfortable can refer to that which we know and are most familiar. The comfortable can be a place or feeling of contentment or well-being. The comfortable may occur when we have suffered a devastating loss.
The disciples in today’s text had been fishing all night (John 21:3). Dawn was beginning to break (John 21:4). Unaware of who was speaking to them, Jesus appeared and said, “Children, do you have any fish (John 21:5)?” The word “children” (Παιδία; paidia) may refer to a person of any age for whom there is a special relationship of endearment and association—my child, my dear friend, my dear man, my dear one.
The disciples responded that they had none (John 21:5). As He had early in His ministry following their unsuccessful night of fishing (Luke 5:1-11), Jesus commanded them to cast their nets into the sea once again (John 21:6). When the disciples did so, they caught so many that they were unable to draw their nets into the boat because of the multitude of fish.
It was at this moment that John said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Impetuous Peter, even though he was about 100 yards from shore, put on his outer garment and jumped into the sea in order to swim to shore. The other disciples came to shore in the boat dragging the net full of fish.
As we shall see when next we meet, the text reveals that Jesus was not unwilling to serve others. As one commentator explains, “Jesus provides another example of how believers are to care for one another (John 13:14-15; Philippians 2:5-7).
How and when have you sensed the Lord revealing Himself to you at various stages of your life? What portion(s) of Scripture resonated with you at those times? What circumstances precluded this moment with the Lord?
As we will continue to see in John 21, Jesus often reveals Himself to us when He is preparing us for another chapter of ministry opportunity. Is the Lord preparing you for such an opportunity? Listen as He speaks to you through His Word.
May God’s truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!