Text: “After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias… (John 21:1).
According to the Gospel of John, this is the third time Jesus appeared before the disciples. The first time was the evening of the Resurrection. “Then the same day at evening, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’” (John 20:19).
Jesus appeared in the room with the disciples although the doors were shut. This tells us that doors, walls, or any other types of barriers are no challenge to the risen Jesus.
Jesus showed the disciples the wounds in His hands and His side. This was to convince them they were not seeing a ghost or apparition.
The second time Jesus appeared to the disciples was after eight days or a week later. Scripture tells us, “And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’” (John 20:26).
Thomas was not present with the disciple the previous week when Jesus appeared. This was a new experience to him. Jesus appeared in the flesh to convince the disciples that He was the same person who was crucified upon the Cross. His resurrected body was unique in that it was not subject to or it did not abide by the same laws of nature as it did prior to the Resurrection.
You and I can’t enter a room unless there is a door or some type of opening or entrance. Since Jesus’ resurrected body was different, earthly barriers were not issues of concern for Him. This is why He could appear in a room without going through physical openings such as doors or windows.
The first two appearances of Jesus to the disciples took place in or near Jerusalem. The third time Jesus showed Himself to the disciples was at the disciple’s place of work. The disciples earned their living by fishing and this day they were fishing on the Sea of Tiberias which is also called the Sea of Galilee,
We must remember the disciples had been through very trying times. Before the Crucifixion Jesus told His disciples what would take place. They missed the point, didn’t understand, or just refused to believe what Jesus was telling them. They had high hopes that Jesus was going remain with them and take care of all their needs.
You and I are like the disciples. When life is going well we are happy and content. There is a smile on our face and joy in our heart. We feel a sense of assurance and safety. We would like to have this feeling all the time, but, we realize life has its’ ups and downs.
There are going to be days when we feel really good, but there are also days when there are aches and pains in our bodies. Sometimes we can’t sleep because we hurt. Other times it is difficult for us to even get out of bed. We may even think no ones cares about how we feel because no one comes to visit us.
Jesus knows our every hurt, our every ache and pain, and our every thought. He is always with us in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
The disciples were happy on the day Jesus made His grand entry into Jerusalem. As the week went by, they were faced with trials and tribulations they never expected. They were there when Judas betrayed Jesus and the Roman soldiers arrested Him in the Garden of Gethsemane.
They saw Him bound and led away to appear before the Annas and Caiaphas. Peter, himself, denied Jesus three times. It tore their heart apart when the Roman soldiers mocked Him and pushed the crown of thorns into His scalp. Their ears were hurting when the crowd was shouting, “Crucify Him, crucify Him” (John 19:6).
The disciples felt the flogging within their own bodies as well as the burden of carrying the heavy cross-beam to the place of crucifixion. The pain of the nails being driven into His hands and feet siphoned all hope out of the disciple’s mind. These trials and tribulations left them with empty hearts.
We, too, face trials and tribulations that give us an empty feeling within our heart. When we have a loved one sick or hurting, our heart feels the pain. Today, many people are facing difficult times due to the economy. Many have lost jobs and the result is lack of income to support their family. They are being tested and tried.
Schools are facing shortage of operating funds and some schools are being closed. Some teachers are losing their jobs while others do not have sufficient materials for the classroom.
With the economy in the predicament that it is, mountains are popping up all over the place and changes or detours are mandatory. Businesses have to find ways to keep afloat. People are losing their houses they have worked so hard to buy. Health issues are surfacing because of the stress and worry placed upon the shoulders of God’ children.
Many people are unable to go to the doctor or pay for the cost of prescriptions so they are trying to stretch their medications. Some churches are closing because people out of work cannot afford to support them.
When people feel as thought they cannot do their part in supporting the church, they stop attending. These are indeed trying times, but we know that God is still on the throne and He will see us through.
Jesus never told us that life was going to be easy and all of our days would be good days. Every day is a gift from God and is to be used to glorify Him. The Psalmist recorded these words: “This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
God never brings bad days to us, we bring them upon ourselves. The days the sun does not shine from the sky or there is an over cast, the Son should radiate from our heart. If someone says something mean or derogatory to us, we should return a smile of love. We are in control of our feelings. Keeping our eyes on Jesus permits us to have a positive mindset regardless of what the day brings.
The disciples were with Jesus for three years and during that time, their days were bright. They watched and rejoiced as Jesus focused His attention on people who were hurting. Their days were bright as people were healed from diseases such as: leprosy, bleeding, paralysis, blindness and so on.
There were dark days when the disciples saw the mistreatment, abuse, and crucifixion of their Messiah. They did not understand that at the end of every dark tunnel there is light. There was darkness on Good Friday, but there was Light on Resurrection Day. That Light still shines and it shines from within our heart.
As we know, sudden storms arise in our life. We may be leading a calm quiet life when all of a sudden things change. Something unexpected comes our way. It may be an accident, a sudden illness, an unexpected death, or some other incident. What do we do? Whom do we call? How shall we handle the situation?
Remember what the disciples did when Jesus was with them in the boat upon the Sea of Galilee and a sudden storm came up. Scripture says, “Now when He got into a boat, His disciple followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves. But He was asleep. Then the disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’” (Matthew 8:23-25).
The disciples were in a storm. The water was coming into the boat. They were sacred. They did not expect this to happen. What did they do? They went to Jesus for help.
We can also go to Jesus for help when a storm comes upon us. The disciples did not lack faith they just did not exercise it. We have just as much faith, but we also have to exercise our faith. Jesus stood up and rebuked the winds and the result was calmness upon the sea.
Jesus is not with us in the flesh as He was with the disciples, but He is with us in the Person of the Holy Spirit. When we exercise our faith and turn to Him, He gives us the power to rebuke and calm any storm we are facing.
The disciples made it through the week before the Resurrection and had the privilege of meeting Jesus two times after the Resurrection. He showed Himself to them and proved to them He was Jesus by showing the nails holes in his hands and the hole in His side.
The disciples went back to doing their worldly of fishing upon the Sea of Tiberias or the Sea of Galilee. One day Peter said to Thomas, Nathanael, James, John, and two other disciples that he was going fishing.
The six disciples said to Peter, “We are going with you also” (John 21:3). They all got into the boat and spent the entire night fishing upon the Sea of Tiberias. Unfortunately they did not catch anything.
In there eyes, the night had been a failure concerning fishing. If you think for a moment, just maybe this was the way it was supposed to be. Maybe this was part of God’s plan.
Perhaps the disciples needed a little more convincing concerning the risen Savior. Maybe the disciples needed a bit more encouragement before Jesus sent them out into the mission field.
There is a lesson for each of us in this Scripture telling about the night the disciples caught no fish. There have been times in our life when we tried hard to do something.
Maybe it was getting our education, finding a job, buying a house, acquiring a car, or a host of other things. For some reason, we were not successful. We really did not understand why because in our mind, we had met all of the qualifications or requirements.
What did the disciples do in the morning? They looked toward the shore and focused their eyes upon a figure who asked them this question: “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” (John 21:5). This was an innocent question asked by someone the disciples did not recognize. They responded saying they did not catch anything.
The words from the figure said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some” (John 21:6). The disciples then cast their net on the right side of the boat and the result was a net full of fish. There were so many fish it was difficult for them to draw the net to the boat.
“Cast your net on the right side” or in other words try again from a different angle. Many times we try something and it doesn’t work. Do we give up? No! We try it again. The saying is, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.”
When Thomas Edison was working on inventing the light bulb, it took him 2000 tries before he succeeded. One young reporter asked Edison this question: “How does it feel to fail so many times” to which Edison replied, “I never failed once. I invented the light bulb which was a 2000 step procedure.”
In the year 1962, four young nervous musicians went to the Decca record company to record their first record. The executives who listened to the musicians turned them down with the note, “We don’t like their music because no one wants to hear a group of 4 guitars.” The group felt bad, but they did not give up. Their name was “The Beatles” and they went on to fame.
They cast their net on the other side. They tried another company. They didn’t give up. They became successful.
In 1954, a young singer played one time at the Grand Ole Opry and after his performance he was fired. He was told to go back to truck driving because he would never make it in the music business. This singer did not give up. He cast his net in another direction and became the most popular singer in America. His name was Elvis Presley.
We need to always listen to the wee small voice within us that says, “Cast you net on the other side.” We need to listen as God speaks to our hearts through the Person of the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus spoke, John, (the beloved disciple) recognized Jesus and informed Peter that it was Jesus who spoke and whom they saw. John knew Jesus and wanted others to know. Those of us who know Christ should help others become acquainted with Him.
As soon as Peter knew it was Jesus nothing could him from going to the Master. “Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea” (John 21:7).
Peter had denied Jesus three times and aimed to make his wrong right. Peter showed his love to Jesus by jumping into the sea. This showed his strong desire to be with the Lord.
When a storm over takes us in this earthly life, we as followers of Jesus, will be willing to swim through the rough stormy sea to be in His presence.
The other disciples stayed in the boat and brought the boat and the fish to shore. This does not mean they were not as excited about seeing Jesus as was Peter, but they are examples of servants of the church of this day.
Some people in the church are gifted as was John. Others are very faithful in service, but do not want to be brought to the forefront with fanfare. Some are the hands of the church and work for the good of everyone. We are all parts of the body of Christ.
When all the disciples reached the shore, Jesus surprised them with breakfast. He had provisions ready for them. They were hungry, they were wet, and they were cold. They had been out all night. Jesus had fish and bread for them to eat. He provided a fire to warm them and dry their clothing.
Jesus will do the same for us today. He does it through His children. When a family is in distress or in need, the church family will reach out and provide whatever it takes to meet their needs. We were in an automobile accident in 1976 with Carol ending up in the hospital and our youngest son, who was born at that time, spending a month at the downtown children’s hospital.
Jesus reached out and came to us by sending His children from the church we were attending. They provided food for five of us while Carol was in the hospital. They provided transportation while my foot was injured. Our minister looked in on our son and kept us informed as to his status. Jesus showed Himself through His children.
After all had eaten, Jesus removed the cloud of denial that loomed above Peter’s head. Peter had denied Jesus three times. Jesus wanted to remove the guilt feeling Peter was carrying so He asked Peter three times “Do you love Me?”
Since His resurrection, Jesus had never mentioned anything to Peter about the denial. Peter was a little uneasy when the Lord questioned him after they had dined together.
I believe that when people question us, we, too, become uneasy. We may even become defensive. Peter knew he had done wrong and he wept about it. Scripture says, “So Peter went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62).
Jesus was not concerned about Peter weeping, but He was more concerned about his love. Was Peter’s love strong enough to shepherd the sheep. Jesus tested Peter by asking him the same question three times.
He told Peter to feed His sheep. It is one thing to say you love Jesus, but another thing to serve Him by serving His children. Peter had already repented, and now Jesus was asking him for a commitment.
Jesus showed Himself “The same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled….and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’” (John 20:19). This was the first showing after the Resurrection, Thomas being absent.
Jesus showed Himself “After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them….Jesus said, ‘Peace to you’” (John 20:26). This was the second showing after the Resurrection.
Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1). This was the third showing
Jesus showed himself in the evening in the closed room.
He showed Himself in the morning on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias.
He showed Himself dimly because of the midst on the water.
He showed Himself to them through His caring for them as children.
He showed Himself through His power by telling them to cast the net to the right side where they caught 153 fish.
Jesus shows Himself to us every day by speaking to us through the Person of the Holy Spirit.
He shows Himself to us by the love that shines through His children.
He shows Himself to us by providing us with our daily necessities.
He shows Himself to us in His Word.
If Jesus were to ask you, “Do you love really truly love me?” what would you say?
If you love Him you are willing to serve His flock?