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October 25, 2015


TEXT: John 21: 1-14
 Isaiah 40: 18-31

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SUBJ: Our Lord’s meeting with the disciples after a night of fruitless fishing and the lessons to be derived from both their actions and His gracious reception and provision.

AIM: That we might stay upon Him at all times even when it seems that all hope is lost and there is no obvious direction to follow.

INTR: The previous meetings with the disciples had occurred in Jerusalem. Now, in accordance with the message sent to them by the women, they had returned to Galilee.
1. That there is frustration and concern with them is obvious, but then so is the divine design through which the Lord would keep them in the way of uncertainty until the time of full revelation of His power.
2. We are viewing from hindsight and can only imagine what was going on in these men’s minds. It was obvious that they had abandoned hope of a political Kingdom and they were not going about preaching in the manner they had witnessed and practiced before.
3. In walking by sight we often lose sight of the true objective and forget the promised word. With them they had been told that they would be fishers of men!

THESIS: It is true graciousness on the part of the Lord that we are reminded that He is an absolute sovereign who can orchestrate the workings of creation and can turn the hearts of men to Himself and such is the message here.

I. A night of frustration (vv. 1-3)
1. Providentially, the scene was being set for another appearance to a group of disciples, including Thomas.
1) We have no explanation for the group selected here, and two of them are not even named
2) But, nothing is apart from purpose and design.
2. The key phrase here is uttered by Simon Peter – “I go a fishing.”
1) There is debate here as to whether he was declaring intention to resume his occupation.
2) Some have supposed that it may have been a matter of necessity for interim income.
3) A thought is that Peter may have been wondering if he would even be allowed to preach after his denial of the Lord.
4) It is evident that none of them had a clear sense of what to do in the physical absence of the Lord and it may have been that a memory was being created for future reference when their commission would be clear and empowered.
3. In any event it was a night of fruitless labor and frustration.

II. The appearance of our Lord (vv. 4-8)
1. This was another of many appearances designed to confirm His resurrection; (To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: Acts 1:3.
2. We are not told the reason but the disciples did not know it was Him
1) The distance, the early morning fog, fatigue or any of a number of things may have hindered
2) But, we also know that the Lord revealed Himself at His discretion
3) It took a few words for recognition to set in, but John knew the voice of the Master
3. The question: “Have ye any meat?” meaning have you been able to provide for yourselves?
1) May have directed their attention back to their declared intent to fish
2) And may have enforced a sense of failure and dependence as well.
4. The direction: “Cast the net on the right side…” was followed without question
1) There was authority and knowledge detected in that voice!
2) There may have been a remembrance of another time (See Luke 5)
3) There was instant obedience and success!
5. It was John that recognized Him and spoke directly to Peter
6. The anxiety of Peter is unmistakable and he started for the shore
1) The question of Peter’s nakedness is of no consequence
2) The thought is that he was not totally nude but was working in underwear or a loincloth.
7. In any event, a load of fish was to be gathered.

III. Come and dine! (vv. 9-14)
1. Provision was awaiting and all was provided It is unclear as to whether He added some of the fish they had caught.
2. An elect number of fish:
1) Perhaps this was simply divine attention to detail – of those directed into the net, none were lost. The net was not broken – “my grace is sufficient”
i. The assurance is given that His purpose will be realized
ii. The assurance is given to all who are brought that none shall be lost.
2) Some have suggested numerical symbolism?
3. But, “come and dine” on a fish and a bread cake. (Another case of multiplication)?
4. John emphasizes at this point the matter of spiritual awareness in that nobody asked – they knew it was the Lord
1) A sense of identity rather than a forensic determination
2) A matter of submission as they are given to receive what He has provided
5. In light of the miracle they learned that He could enable great things through them!