21 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as 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 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.
(John 21:1-14 NIV)
In the previous passages, Jesus reveals Himself to His disciples on two different occasions roughly a week apart. The disciples are overjoyed that Jesus has risen from the dead.
In today’s passage, we see the third time Jesus reveals Himself to His disciples after He had risen from the dead (v. 14).
Seven of the disciples were together near the Sea of Galilee. Peter announces that he is going fishing; the others volunteer to go with him. We don’t know why Peter decided to go fishing – the text does not say. He could have been bored, needed to get out of the house, wanted to provide food for the crew, or possibly needed the income.
In any case, Peter and the crew fish all night and catch nothing. Early in the morning, someone on shore calls out and asks them if they have caught anything. When the reply is “no”, the person says to try on the other side of the boat. Instantly, they catch so many fish that they can’t even haul the nets into the vessel.
John recalls the morning that Jesus called them as disciples (Luke 5:1-11). They had been out all night fishing and had caught nothing. When Jesus was in the boat, He told them to lower their nets again. When they did, they caught more fish than they could bring in. This time was nearly identical. When John has the “aha!” moment, he blurts out, “It is the Lord!”
As soon as Peter hears John say it is Jesus, he grabs his coat, jumps in the water, and swims to shore. Peter can’t wait to see the Lord again. John and the others follow in the boat, pulling in the net full of fish.
Jesus made a fire and fed the disciples breakfast. The menu? Fish and bread, reminiscent of the feeding of the masses. On a cold morning, after having been up all night, and seeing Jesus again, this is a shore breakfast they would never forget.
Verse 12 appears at first to be a “given” – of course; it was Jesus! Like Thomas’ doubt before, the disciples were still in wonder and awe that Jesus had risen from the dead. This meeting was not a dream – this was real.
May we have the same excitement each morning to dive in and meet with the Lord. While He does not prepare us an actual breakfast, He does offer us spiritual food.
Will we take the time to eat, to nourish ourselves with His Word?