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Read John 21

Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish

1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “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.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

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.

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. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 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 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat 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.

Jesus Reinstates Peter

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

Go Deeper

What do you do when you fail to keep your promises to God? Where do you go when you deny what you know to be true and let fear dictate your decisions? We know what Peter did. He went back to what he knew, his old line of work—fishing. This is where we find him. It’s also where we find Jesus. On a beach. Making breakfast for His friends. Serving up fish, bread, and restoration and redemption. An unexpected breakfast turned recommissioning service. Peter’s denials were public knowledge, so he needed to be publicly restored. What grace. What kindness. What love. 

Though we sin, sin does not disqualify us from service. This was the message for Peter that morning on the beach. It’s the message for us, too. Repentance leads to restoration. We, like Peter, can have lives marked by faithfulness even with moments of failure. Our denials can usher in a deeper devotion to Jesus. But it will require repentance and love. 

We have an enemy who wants to make us think we are disqualified by our denials. Satan wants you to believe that failure is fatal and forgiveness is only available to those people you think deserve it. This is a lie. None of us deserve forgiveness. None of us deserve grace. Yet, it is FREELY offered to us through Jesus’s death and resurrection. He still serves up restoration and redemption and this could be the very day of your recommissioning service. 

Wouldn’t it be great if we could hear from Peter? What would he say to us? What advice would he give us? What hard earned life lessons would he want us to know? Oh, wait…

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 

1 Peter 3:15

“And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory…will restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.”

1 Peter 4:8

Peter experienced what he wrote. He lived it. The love of Christ which covered his multitude of sins covers our multitude of sins as well. He is the God of ALL grace, not just some. It is the Good News indeed. 


  1. What do you learn about the character of Jesus in this chapter? 
  2. How are you similar to Peter? How are you dissimilar? 
  3. Are you motivated by love for Christ? What will keep you serving the Lord when the going gets tough?

Did You Know?

John uses the same Greek word for “charcoal fire” in verse 9 that he used in 18:18 when Peter denied Jesus. It’s not used anywhere else in John. Some scholars believe that the purpose of this wording is to help us understand that Jesus made a similar fire to remind Peter of his recent past and new future.

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4 thoughts on “John 21”

  1. Great message – very powerful!
    A couple fact checks (JIC you post this again or others were confused):

    The first supplemental verse referenced from Peter is 1 Peter 4:8; the second is 1 Peter 5:10. Thanks!

  2. How I love the Word of God and how it is life-giving and transformative! Every written word is intended to reveal the heart of the Father who from the beginning of time desired a relationship with man. The culmination of that desire was evidenced in the life and ministry of his beloved Son who willingly stepped down from heaven to give his life for you & me. We have been given a free will to choose to follow Christ and when we do a specific path is laid out for us to follow. In this final chapter of John we see Jesus once again not in synagogues or public places, but he shows up on a shore where his friends are fishing. Jesus goes straight to the one who has denied knowing him & shows compassion for a fishing expedition gone south leaving the fishermen weary & hopeless. He continues to meet us right where we are! He willingly steps into our messes, failures & brokenness to show his power in our common places. Today, I want to carefully measure my heart & mind. Am I preoccupied with failure or are my affections clearly set on Jesus, my resurrected Lord? The final verses of John 21 reveal that there is much more about Jesus that we do not know, however, as we continue to live and share the gospel Christ’s work on earth is ongoing. Looking into a new year let this be our motivation, to carry on his work right where we are. “But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31

  3. Sandra (Sandy) Jenkins

    I have enjoyed the BRP so much. Over the years, I have read on my own or been in a Bible Study group. The questions asked at the end of each chapter reading has moved me to thinking more in my relationship with Jesus. Thank you all for your service.

  4. This is one of my favorite stories from the Bible. For several of the disciples, their first encounter with Jesus is in their fishing boats by the sea of Galilee. Obeying his command, they let down their nets and catch fish in extravagant abundance (Luke 5:1-11). Later, they witness Jesus feed a multitude of several thousand by multiplying five loaves and two fish, again through the bounty of a miracle (John 6:1-4). And now here again, these same fishermen disciples have their nets filled to overflowing with the catch of a lifetime. What an encouragement to them and to us. When we pray the prayer our LORD taught us, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we can trust that God will meet our every need “according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:19).

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