You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?
Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.
Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, remember last time Thomas got left out of the first appearance of Jesus? He was really bent out of shape. You know, why would God do that? Well, and then in today's passage, there were four guys who got left out.
Four people got left out. Why would Jesus do that? Yeah, and if you don't know about that, we're going to look at that story today in John 21 on More Than Ink. Good morning. I'm Dorothy. And I'm Jim. And we're sitting here at our dining room table and we are so glad you've joined us. Absolutely.
This is the best. I hope you have your Bible open and your cup of coffee or your glass of water or whatever you have in the morning. And just look in the Word with us. Because this is easy Bible reading, sort of. Well, you know, we say that, but Bible reading, yes, on one level is really easy, but another way, it's profoundly unsettling.
Well, I say easy because this is not an academic demanding. However, you'll find yourself getting in deeper than you ever imagined. As we just did, because we were going to actually tackle this entire chapter in one conversation. And then we said, no, no, no. You know, let's not do that.
Let's not do that. Yeah, so we're starting into the last chapter of John. It's kind of a sad thing. I hate when I finish a book because I'm just, but you know, you can always read it anytime you want.
But you know what? This is such a good chapter because John is the only gospel that includes this particular episode. Yeah, exactly.
It's a really touching look. And if you remember when we finished up at the end of John 20 last time, you know, you read it and it sounds like John is saying, well, that's the end of the book. That's the end of the book. Have a good day. You know, thanks for reading it, you know.
And in fact, he says, he says in the end of John 20, you know, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God. So that sounds like it's the end of the book. Yeah, it's like I've told you all I have to tell you.
Right, right. And, but now we have this wonderful, I kind of call it a P.S. in a way. It's a wonderfully personal. It's like an epilogue. Yeah, it's an epilogue. It's a wonderful epilogue because that previous ending could be enough, but here John gives us a view into things, again, that only John gives us a view into. And it's so personal.
Yeah. It is so, so personal. It's really nice. It's really nice. So, you know, if you're into reading the other gospels, which we really recommend that you do.
Definitely. In those other gospels, in Matthew, Mark specifically, the apostles are told to go to Galilee. You know, after the resurrection, go to Galilee. And this is what's told to them. He says, and I'll meet you there.
And I'll meet you there, right. And he tells them this before the resurrection even. I'm going to go into Galilee, you know. And yet, in Matthew and Mark, they don't tell us much of what goes on in Galilee, but when we get to John 21, we do. All we know in the other gospels, as Matthew's gospel says, they went to a mountain that Jesus had directed them to go to.
And it says that all 11 were there. So we know they went to Galilee, but we know nothing from the other gospels about what went on in Galilee. I mean, really. But we do today because of John 21.
Should we read it? I just love this passage. I do too. It just brings us full circle. Yeah.
In many ways. And we'll talk about that. We're going to talk about that because that's actually where I spent some of my time in thinking about this conversation. So yeah, well, let's read. Let's do it. John 21.
You want to do it? Yeah, let me just read the introductory part, the first four verses. After this, Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberius, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas, called the twin, Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, I'm going fishing. And they said to him, we'll go with you.
And they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Okay, I want to stop there. Because this is the part that strikes me as full circle. Totally. Totally. But first of all, why are only these guys named and the two others that are unnamed, but they're back in Galilee, they're back in the very place where Jesus, when he first was getting to know them, and they were getting to know him, he called them. Since that was the beginning place, yeah.
Yep. And they were fishing on the beach when he called them, these guys in particular. And I just wonder, you know, why is Peter back here?
It's like he's like, I don't know what to do now. But it's after the resurrection. It's after the resurrection. They've seen Jesus. They've seen Jesus.
Twice. He said, go to Galilee. And they're sitting around going, Peter said, I'm going fishing.
I'm just going to do something I know how to do because my whole world has been yanked out from under me and I don't know what to do anymore. Exactly. It's a productive thing to do. And I've always thought too the fact that there's only seven of them mentioned here. Right. We don't know all of them by name.
And only five of them are named. Right. So what made me think of two of them maybe are from the larger group. Don't know. Don't know.
We don't know. But we do know that Matthew says all 11 went to Galilee. So the other guys are off somewhere doing something.
Well, Matthew wasn't a fisherman. Right. So he probably wasn't here. Probably.
Yeah. And I really didn't remember or didn't look into the other guys. But, you know, these are the fishermen who are here on the beach. But, see, it dawns on me that since the previous two appearances of Jesus to the apostles with them all gathered except for the Thomas affair which we just read about.
And that's the third one. He'll tell us that in just a second. They're probably thinking if the other guys are gone right now, like they went to the store or something, you know, that nothing big is going to happen because it's broad daylight and, you know, we can do fishing and stuff like that. And so Jesus isn't going to show up now because we're not gathered. There's only seven of us here. So I've always wondered whether or not they thought, well, let's just kind of do regular stuff in Peter's mind.
Nothing official. Yeah, we'll go fish. Okay, so here's another thought from observation. John tells us specifically that Philip and Nathaniel, well, Nathaniel was here. And his gospel is also the only one that names Philip and Nathaniel at their calling. Yes. So, you know, they were important in John's mind. So I think he's setting up this parallel between when Jesus first called them and this event in Galilee. Oh, without question.
Without question. And if you go back and read the accounts in the other gospels of Jesus' first calling of these guys, then those parallels would begin to emerge kind of in technicolor. Yeah. So if you're a Bible study, this whole setup sounds really familiar. You know, not only the fact that we're in Cana. Remember, we started off in John 2 in Cana, you know, with the wedding and stuff like that.
And so, and the calling of the apostles was in Galilee. So we're sort of, you know, if you're a Bible study, you're saying, wait a second. I've heard this before. This sounds familiar. I'm going to go check this out and see what's being connected right here. Because it's a big deal what's being connected here. In a real sense, they are coming full circle back to the beginning to start a new beginning. So that's what's really fascinating about it.
And they're fishing at night because that's when they fish. But John tells us, and they caught nothing. Yeah, does that ring a bell? Well, that happened at the very beginning. If you remember, Jesus said, you know, I'll make you fishers of men if you follow me. Right, right. So, you know, this is John kind of rounding up all the loose pegs in his mind and plugging them in their right holes.
Yeah. And, you know, we see that Jesus calls, for instance, Andrew and Peter and James and John up there while they're, you know, fishermen place. But there was that time when specifically Luke gets much more specific about the calling of Peter.
Right. Because remember, Jesus is teaching. He hasn't called Peter to be an apostle yet. This is in Luke 5, by the way. Yeah, I actually have that passage open here.
Oh, good. Because it attracted my attention. Because you really got to read this Luke 5 passage to see what's going on here. So you want to read the whole Luke 5 passage? Yeah, let's start in Luke 5-1.
You need to have this in the back of your mind. Now, it came about while the multitude was pressing around him and listening to the word of God. He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. Okay, so the lake of Gennesaret, the lake of Tiberias, those are all the Sea of Galilee.
Sea of Galilee. And he saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake, but their fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. And he got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And he sat down and began teaching the multitudes from the boat. And when he'd finished speaking, he said to Simon, put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch. And Simon answered and said, Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing.
But at your bidding, I will let down the nets. And when they'd done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish and their nets began to break. And they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus' feet, saying, depart from me, for I'm a sinful man, O Lord. For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they'd taken. And so also, James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, do not fear.
From now on, you will be catching men. And when they brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. Right. Wow.
Yeah, that's a detail you don't get in the calling in Matthew and Mark that Luke gives us. Right. Right. So Peter in his response to Jesus is to be conscious of his own sin. Yeah. And even his pride about, hey, I'm a fisherman and we caught nothing.
So who do you think you are? Yeah. So we need to press on because that's... So that's in the back of Peter's mind at the very beginning. Now, this is when Peter is called by Jesus to follow him. That was three years ago. Three years ago.
Three years ago. That whole event is strong in Peter's mind. And so that brings us to this point right here. Okay. Except that, well, we'll read it in a second.
But it's John who recognizes that it's the Lord. Peter didn't get it. So let me read it. Oh, wait. I'll read it. Oh, you read it. Oh, sorry. I like to read sometimes too.
I get so excited. So remember, they fish at night. So here we go. Verse four. So just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore. Yet the disciples didn't know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, Children, do you have any fish?
And they answered him, No. So he said to them, Well, cast them out on the right side of the boat and you'll find some. So they cast it.
And now they were not able to haul it in because of the quantity of fish. And the disciple whom Jesus loved, John. Therefore said to Peter, It's the Lord. And when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment for he was stripped for work and threw himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net of fish, for they were not far from the land, about a hundred yards off. Let's stop right there. So you see, that's why we read the Luke 5 passage about catching the fish. Because here we are. The same thing just happened.
They were unsuccessful that whole night. And Jesus says, Why don't you try like over there? And I think in Peter's mind he's going, Wait a second. But why didn't he recognize this was Jesus? It took John to recognize it.
I know. Isn't that interesting? It says, John says, It's the Lord. And when Peter heard it was the Lord. So Peter was preoccupied with something. Yeah. Right. And it just raises questions in my mind. Why did John recognize the Lord by his voice and by the circumstances?
But Peter didn't. Yeah. I don't think we'll ever know. But it is intriguing. Here's the other question. Why on earth did he throw himself into the water? Yeah. Right.
He was stripped for work. So he puts on his clothes and jumps in the water. So, you know, I suddenly was thinking maybe Peter was suddenly remembering when he was in the boat that dark night in the storm and they see Jesus coming. Oh, yeah. And Peter says, Lord, if it's really you, command me to come to you on the water.
And he gets out and Peter walks on the water. Right. And I wonder if there isn't some connection to that here.
Could be. It's just as interesting to me that Peter throws himself into the water in his haste to get to where the Lord is. Yeah.
And I think that's compounded with the idea that in his first calling in Luke 5, Jesus called him to follow him and they left it behind. So this is his way here of saying, oh, that's right. I'm leaving this behind. He caught me in the boat.
Busted. I'm out of here. And he goes to Jesus.
It's kind of like a hyper obedience in a way. Like, yep, I'm coming. I know that's you. I'm coming. I'm going to do it.
I'm going to do it even with more vigor than I did that time three years ago when you first called me. So it could be that as well. But isn't it interesting that Jesus tells him, hey, throw your net over there and you're going to catch a large catch of fish. Yeah. Right.
He had said that to them at the very beginning. In Luke 5. In Luke 5. Yeah. And it was an event, you know, John might have had some credibility here because John was also present at that event in Luke 5. Right. He and his brother James were probably the guys who owned the second boat in that story. And they worked together it said. So he didn't see the event unfold quite as personally as Peter did because Jesus was in Peter's boat in Luke 5.
Right. But John saw the whole thing go down. So he's putting this together too. And we know from the other Gospels, from all the Gospels, John was a listener and he was always listening for Jesus' heart. And he's the one who was right next to him at the Last Supper when Peter elbows him and says, hey, ask him. Ask him. Ask him. Ask him.
Ask him. And he had a particular kind of a listening relationship with Jesus. Yeah. Yeah. And as we talked about last week or the week before, John is the one to whom Jesus entrusted his mother's care. Yeah.
From the cross. That's right. So there was a very special relationship between John and Jesus and a different kind of relationship between Peter and Jesus. Yeah.
Yeah. So it's not unusual that they'd have different. The other thing I've heard some people say, this is kind of silly, is the fact that John and Peter were not the same age. I mean, it's almost recognized in the universe that Peter was older than John. Yeah, John was probably younger. And so John had the better eyes at the time. Maybe.
So who knows. And John's left a drag in the net. Well, Peter does go and help him. But even still, I just think it's just remarkable that John recognizes him and Peter in a heartbeat jumps in the water and goes. This is such a human story. It really is. It really is very human.
Yeah. Well, speaking of the human story, let's get to the beach. What do you say? So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire in place with fish laid out on it and bread. Okay, now wait a minute. It never dawned on me before reading this just yesterday that Peter had splashed his way to the shore and had been there alone with Jesus in this little gap of time. But John tells us nothing about that.
I had never thought about that. When the rest of them get to the beach, Peter is already there with Jesus. The fire is in place. The fish are laid out and bread. Now, verse 10, and Jesus said to them, �Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.� So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore full of large fish, 153 of them.
And although there were so many, the net was not torn. And Jesus said to them, �Come and have breakfast.� Now, none of the disciples dared ask him, �Who are you?� They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. The third time. So this word, revealed, or as the New American Standard says, manifested, John tells us three times between verses 1 and 14 that Jesus was manifested, revealed this way, this way.
He was made known in what he said and did here. I just so love this scene. One of my favorite artists from the 19th century, Jacques Tissot, who does these kind of almost photorealistic paintings, has a painting of them sitting on the beach in this scene. And the interesting thing is, like you would expect, there's only seven guys sitting there. When I first saw that picture, I thought, �Hey, Tissot, you got the count wrong.
You should be 11 of them, you know?� You got it right, there's seven of them. But you get, Jesus is sitting there, his back is slightly to us, the fire is between him and the apostles. The apostles are sitting in a circle around the fire and you see the faces of all of them, but Peter's is most prominent in this line and he has this weird look on his face, Peter does. And that will explain sort of what comes next, we'll look at it next week. But the whole scene is so touching to me, it's one of my favorite pictures.
Because if Jesus is going to tell them beforehand, �Go to Galilee and I'll meet you there,� he could arrange any kind of event he wants up there, I mean anything he wants to. But he decides, �Let's have a picnic on the beach.� A breakfast on the beach, after a long, hard night. There's a beautiful book by Jane Rubietta called that very thing, Breakfast on the Beach.
And so I encourage you, particularly women, take a look at that book. It is such a warm scene, it's a scene with friends, not with servants and masters. I mean it's just, it's really, the whole context is lovely. Even while they're sitting there counting fish, because I can't believe. 153 fish, right? That's really an interesting detail. That's an interesting detail. We're not going to camp on that very long, but that's a really tricky detail. There's been a lot of crazy speculations about the 153. Well I wondered, in reading that Luke passage, Luke doesn't tell us how many fish there were, but he says it was a very large catch.
It was best to the net. I wonder if John is saying, �This is an inside joke, you know what? There was 153 fish just like the first time.� I don't know. I don't know.
That's total luck. I just find it interesting, it takes a while to count 153 fish, while Jesus is standing right next to them, they're counting fish. I just don't know what that's all about, but I find it fascinating.
Well, fishermen have to deal responsibly with their catch while it's fresh. Well and it could be they were thinking of dividing it between them. I don't really know.
You know, like, �Okay, we got 153, so you get this man.� I don't, we don't know. I just find the whole thing kind of a fascinating detail, and we probably wonder about it until we die. So maybe I can ask the apostles what they're saying. Okay, but the point is, John says Jesus was making himself known this way, in this dim light breakfast after a hard dark night of nothing, failure, and he's inviting them to the beach. He tells them where the fish are. He says, �Bring the fish you've caught, because I told you where they were, and now come and have breakfast.� And he has already cooked fish that they didn't catch, and brings bread to them.
He's revealing himself in some really lovely ways here. It's very warm. That's what I just, I just love it. And where did the bread come from, by the way? Of course, when the devil was tempting Jesus, he says, �You can turn these stones into bread.� So maybe this is stones turned into bread. Well, you know, the bread of life provided the bread. Exactly.
Yeah, so it's not even a question. It is just such a warm gathering of these guys. I mean, it's really a warm gathering of these guys.
I love the context. I love the fact that Jesus says, �Let's have breakfast on the beach.� Well, what strikes me is this is, even though there's a lot of detail about the disciples, this account is about Jesus. It's about him still doing what he came to do, calling them, engaging them in his purpose, and providing for them. He's still asking them insightful questions. He's still feeding them. Still feeding them, still seeing into their needs. Yeah, and he's still making himself known to them. I mean, that's what John said his whole gospel is about. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us so we could know him and see his glory.
Yeah. And I think without having to explain his comments three years before about I'll make you fishers of men, the fact that Jesus instructed them how to fish here and it was successful beyond their wildest dreams, I think this is putting a data point in their head as they leave this point for years after this and they're catching men, saying, �How do we do this? Well, remember that day we were on the lake? Jesus showed us where to put the net so you won't have to worry about that. Just cast your net and he'll bring the fish in. Exactly.
He brings that success. We just got to get the net out there. Here we go. So I think it's a wonderful reinforcement. So Jesus doesn't even have to exposit what he told them before. I think they're putting that together in their head right here and they're getting it.
They're getting it. Well, and you know, just a few nights before, maybe farther than that, weeks before at that Last Supper, together he had told them, �If you love me, you will keep my word. You will do what I tell you. You will treasure what I've said to you.� And so here he's saying, �I'm going to make you fishers of men.
Now go fish where I tell you.� Right. And I also like the fact that it's a meal because we know that at the end of all time there's this great marriage supper of the Lamb or called the Supper of God. You can find it in Revelation 19. But it's like here's the end of things and the beginning of things and there's a supper involved. So we sit down at the table together and this is Jesus' kind of common man approach to this gigantic feast that's coming. It's almost in a way a common man prefiguring of what this feast is going to be. You have a place at the table, you have a place on the seashore, pull up a rock, let's have breakfast together. And the host takes the bread and gives it to you.
Exactly. And serves it to you. Yeah, it's a beautiful picture. Actually that phrase shows up a couple of significant times in Luke's Gospel when he says, that's how Jesus was identified. He took the bread and broke it and gave it and they knew him in that moment. So I love the context of a meal, just like the marriage supper of the Lamb. This is the feast that Jesus talks about so many times in parables, the wedding feast.
This is just a great thing. It's a great sign of you have a place at the table. Even the most common people like these dirty fishermen up in Galilee, you have a place at the table. And I'm sure for years they talked about this meal, for years.
And I'm still contemplating the fact that this was after an unpleasant night of self-effort. Even in the light of the resurrection, here they were back where they started fishing and having no success. And here's the Lord standing on the beach watching them struggle. And already probably with the fire kindled to welcome them in after their failure. Yeah, it could be a nice reassurance to them that as life goes on, you do things in your own strength, you're just going to get you. But if you follow me, I will make you fishers of man.
I will make you successful. What a great contrast between a night of frustration and a day of listening to the Lord. And his invitation is ready to be partaken of even as he's been watching us fail.
Yeah, exactly. Is that not a beautiful picture? It's just great.
He's standing on the beach like a loving father going, uh-huh, I knew this would happen. Here, you're hungry, you're tired. Let me care for you. Let me feed you. Here we go. Yeah, just a touching scene.
Well, we're running very short on time again. But I don't want you to miss this scene. I think for many of the apostles as the years went on, if they'd see each other, they'd say, remember that night we sat with him up in the upper room and he broke the bread? And then remember how after that we sat on that beach and we ate with him? Wasn't that, wasn't that in an extraordinary way, a feast, a feast. And that what made it a feast as opposed to just a meal was that the king was there.
Wasn't that amazing? And he was just there. He prepared it. Yeah. And he served it. Yeah.
And he said, come, have something to eat. Yeah, I think this is, this is a memory that for them kind of fueled the whole rest of their life. And it's for me now. Just as we talk about it, it takes on a reality. Yeah, yeah, it's, it's just a beautiful thing. And thank you, Jon, for recording this, because this is such a great moment. This is, this is a little bit of what happened in Galilee. There's probably a whole lot more that happened. Well, Jon says there was.
Yeah. So I wish we'd seen that. But this was just very touching. Jon says this is enough. I'll just tell you this. We're going to next time turn into the second half here and we turn, we turn to a private conversation between Jesus and Peter, maybe because it's a touchy topic.
It could very well be. And we'll, and Jon will close out his entire gospel with this really touching conversation between Peter and Jesus. And again, it's a very famous passage and it's one that only Jon includes. Only Jon includes. Yeah. Yeah.
So we'll take a look at that next week. And if you don't know what we're talking about, you can actually read ahead in Jon 21. Starts at verse 15.
And and it starts with the fact that after they had finished breakfast, after breakfast after he had fed them, this little private conversation takes place. So almost see Jesus saying to Peter, Hey, let's take a walk. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So I hope you're meeting the Lord in these pages.
I am. This is great stuff. Such good stuff. So glad that you're with us. And I'm a little mourning about the fact that we're leaving Jon, but it's such good things ahead. Good, good stuff. Yeah. Maybe we'll talk about that next week.
Let's do that. So anyway, thank you for joining us now again, read ahead to verse 15. And I think you'll be surprised at what you find if you don't know that passage already, how Jesus deals with Peter in such a personal way. So I'm Jim.
And I'm Dorothy. And we pray that God is using this time to draw you to him because that's his intention here. And as Jon says, his intention is to prove to you that what he's saying is true and Jesus is indeed the Son of God. So we'll see you next week as we do another episode of More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, morethanink.org. I don't know. That's not a question. There's nothing to say. I know. Let's see. Let's see what God has done for us.
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