Summary: Jesus makes a surprise visit after His Resurrection to several of His Disciples before breakfast after they had a night without catching any fish. The visit causes us to remember many things which Jesus did and said during his Ministry.
8 14 16 “Breakfast with the Savior”
Jesus used “fishing” as an example of His KINGDOM Power to save and provide from the beginning of His ministry. Do you know what the “Ichthus” is? It is the Greek Word for “fish” but became the “sign of the fish” used by early Christians as a secret Christian identifying symbol and now known also as the "Jesus fish." An acronym of the Greek letters stands for "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Saviour". (Iota (i) is the first letter of Iēsous (Ἰησοῦς), Greek for "Jesus". Chi (ch) is the first letter of Christos (Χριστός), Greek for "anointed". Theta (th) is the first letter of Theou (Θεου), Greek for "God's", the genitive case of Θεóς, Theos, Greek for "God". Upsilon (y) is the first letter of (h)uios (Υἱός), Greek for "Son". Sigma (s) is the first letter of sōtēr (Σωτήρ), Greek for "Savior".)
According to tradition, ancient Christians, during their persecution by the Roman Empire in the first few centuries after Christ, used the fish symbol to mark meeting places and tombs, or to distinguish friends from foes. According to one ancient story, when a Christian met a stranger in the road, the Christian sometimes drew one arc of the simple fish outline in the dirt. If the stranger drew the other arc, both believers knew they were in good faithfull company.
John 21: 1-13: “Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 "I'm going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?" "No," they answered. 6 He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught." 11 Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.”
I. Jesus’ REVELATION
A. Jesus’ appearance is ALWAYS TIMELY, isn’t it? (vs. 4) It’s always according to His perfect plan, and many times it doesn’t fit ours. It may have been that Peter’s denial had stayed with him and he thought, “I failed as a disciple. Let me go back to what I know, to what I do best. Let’s go fishing.” It may just be that human beings need to eat and they were at Galilee, so let’s get some food.
It may be that the disciples were in Galilee because that’s where Jesus told them several times He would appear to them. This appearing is the third time that Jesus appeared to His disciples in the body, and so by this testimony WE are convinced of His Bodily Resurrection.
Jesus also appears at a time of great need. They had fished all night, their profession, and they caught nothing but at Jesus’ command, when they dropped their nets to the opposite side of the boat they caught more fish than they could have imagined.
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He taught his disciples in Matthew 4:19: "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." He now is near His Ascension and again uses fishing, food and fellowship as another teaching moment. Not by accident, but very timely.
B. His appearance is COMPASSIONATE. (vs. 5) I don’t want you to miss the essence of the story, that Jesus appeared in his resurrected body and showed his divine power, but He also demonstrates his human-like concern. The term for “Friends” is actually “Children.” This address in the Greek includes the tone and care of a father. These guys were the adopted children that God the Father had entrusted to Jesus; they were the future of the Church. They were HIS, bought with the price of His blood. Jesus’ question, ‘Do you have any fish?” demonstrates the care that God has for us in our temporal everyday needs as well as in our spiritual life; He has promised that his grace will ALWAYS be sufficient to care for us in every way.