WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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THE RISEN LORD APPEARS
(JESUS appears to seven of HIS disciples)
In the epilogue to the gospel account of the Apostle John, he seeks to show us how JESUS re-instated Peter, following his latest bout with failure, namely, his blatant denial of even knowing our LORD and SAVIOR, during HIS “passion” hours in Jerusalem. JESUS had already promised to meet with HIS disciples in Galilee (Matthew 28:7), and so, here in the opening lines of this final chapter, John invites us into this reunion scene at the Sea of Galilee, otherwise known as the Sea of Tiberias.
Here in John 21, we find that Peter had led many of the disciples back into the fishing trade from which JESUS had called them some three years earlier. However, their lack of success in their old profession stands as evidence as to why we should not try and return to a place where the LORD has already removed us from. JESUS moves us so that HE can better use us for HIS purpose, and HE doesn’t expect us to keep looking back at the old places.
When JESUS calls us, not only does that often call for a change of occupation, it also always calls for us to change our ways and our thinking completely, so that we will no longer feel any real satisfaction in the old lifestyle. Peter must have, no doubt, been feeling pretty low about his denial of CHRIST JESUS, and was desperately seeking to find acceptance back in his old fishing career. We should never allow our sin to drive us away from the LORD, but rather, one should let their sins stand as proof that we cannot live life correctly, apart from the LORD.
After Peter and the other disciples had been out all night fishing without catching a single fish, JESUS instructs them to cast their nets on the “right side” of the boat (v.6), where they would catch plenty of fish. The disciples were obedient to that suggestion by the LORD, and as a result, they were overwhelmed with success.
This incident prompted the men to recognize that the LORD was still with them. HE had given them a commission to obey, and their old style of fishing was not going to work for them anymore. They were to now lay down their old nets that were used to catch fish for physical food, and pick up their new “spiritual nets”, and become “fishers of men”.
JESUS had shown them during HIS three-year ministry, how to fish from the “right side” of the boat, and now, it was time for them to implement those teachings, and the whole world would serve as their new fishing waters, where their harvest would be exceedingly great. Then in verse 7 the Apostle John recognizes that the man shouting to them from the beach was actually JESUS, and he said to Peter, “It is the LORD!”
When Peter saw that it really was the LORD, he hurriedly put on his tunic (for he had stripped himself for work), jumped into the water and swam to the shore. The other disciples stayed in the boat and pulled their heavy catch to the shore, which was only about 300 feet away. When they arrived at the shore they saw that JESUS already had a fire going which fish frying over it. HE also had plenty of bread.
JESUS instructed Peter and the men to bring over some of the fish that they had caught and Peter ran and grabbed the net and dragged it over. Inside the net there were 153 large fish yet it did not break apart. JESUS invited them to come and have breakfast with HIM and no one dared to ask HIM if HE was really the LORD, for in their heart they knew that HE was. This was the third time that JESUS had appeared to them following HIS crucifixion on the cross at Golgotha.
This 21st chapter of the Gospel of John was added to clearly demonstrate the reality of the resurrection of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. The appearance of CHRIST to HIS apostles was not just a figment of their imagination, nor was it a ghost or spirit, but rather, it was a real person in human flesh that they gazed upon several times after HE had died on the cross and been raised from the dead by GOD the FATHER.
As a real human being, JESUS, in this chapter, instructs HIS faithful how to catch fish, after an unsuccessful night on the waters of Galilee. It was a resurrected CHRIST who set the fire on the shore, cooked, and invited them to come and eat with HIM early that following morning. It was a risen CHRIST who still bore the scars of HIS crucifixion, who, showed them HIS wounds, and then, invited them to feel them for themselves. Yes! It was really a resurrected JESUS who had not only overcome the gravitational pull of satan in this world, but had also conquered death, and then, come back into the world, to prove what HE had done. And HE is still alive today to show us in this 21st century, that we too, if we follow HIS instructions, can do the same thing, here in our lifetime.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander