|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:1-14 Christ makes himself known to his people, usually in his ordinances; but sometimes by his Spirit he visits them when employed in their business. It is good for the disciples of Christ to be together in common conversation, and common business. The hour for their entering upon action was not come. They would help to maintain themselves, and not be burdensome to any. Christ's time of making himself known to his people, is when they are most at a loss. He knows the temporal wants of his people, and has promised them not only grace sufficient, but food convenient. Divine Providence extends itself to things most minute, and those are happy who acknowledge God in all their ways. Those who are humble, diligent, and patient, though their labours may be crossed, shall be crowned; they sometimes live to see their affairs take a happy turn, after many struggles. And there is nothing lost by observing Christ's orders; it is casting the net on the right side of the ship. Jesus manifests himself to his people by doing that for them which none else can do, and things which they looked not for. He would take care that those who left all for him, should not want any good thing. And latter favours are to bring to mind former favours, that eaten bread may not be forgotten. He whom Jesus loved was the first that said, It is the Lord. John had cleaved most closely to his Master in his sufferings, and knew him soonest. Peter was the most zealous, and reached Christ the first. How variously God dispenses his gifts, and what difference there may be between some believers and others in the way of their honouring Christ, yet they all may be accepted of him! Others continue in the ship, drag the net, and bring the fish to shore, and such persons ought not to be blamed as worldly; for they, in their places, are as truly serving Christ as the others. The Lord Jesus had provision ready for them. We need not be curious in inquiring whence this came; but we may be comforted at Christ's care for his disciples. Although there were so many, and such great fishes, yet they lost none, nor damaged their net. The net of the gospel has enclosed multitudes, yet it is as strong as ever to bring souls to God.
Verse 14. - This is now - or, as Meyer puts it, this time already is - the third time that Jesus was manifested (passive, not active, as in ver. 1) to the disciples, after that he was risen from the dead; or, when he had been raised from the dead. The implication is that there had up to this time been no other manifestation to groups of his disciples than those which John had related. Therefore those other occurrences mentioned by Luke, Matthew, and Paul must be supposed to lie still in the future. That there were other manifestations is not obscurely hinted by the word ἤδη. The appearances to the women, to Cephas and James, are not of the class so carefully described by John. The εϊτα τοῖς δώδεκα of 1 Corinthians 15:5, etc., might be regarded as this third manifestation to the disciples (Luthardt). Godet agrees that the two appearances in Luke (Emmaus and Peter) are not reckoned by John, any more than that made to Mary Magdalene. The statement, "to the disciples," is clearly the explanation. Paul mentions the appearance
(1) to Simon Peter;
(2) then to the twelve (John 20:19, 26);
(3) to the five hundred, at the head of whom may have been the eleven of Matthew 28:16-20;
(5) the twelve (the ascension not described by John).
Since Luke and Paul (Godet) omitted the narrative before us, John is here repairing the omissions of tradition. It seems quite as reasonable to place this third revelation to a group of apostles as the third of Paul's enumerations. John is explicit in recording appearances to the special, combined, and chosen witnesses, while he not only implies, but mentions, other manifestations. Paul recites the special manifestations of various kinds, and gives most important details dropped by other traditions. The apocryphal ' Gospel according to the Hebrews,' as related by Jerome ('Cat. Script. Eccl. "Jacobus"'), quotes the passage which refers to the interview between James and the risen Lord. Gregory of Tours ('Hist. Francorum,' 1:21) refers to the tradition as though he had taken it from some analogous but not identical source (see a full discussion of the passage in Nicholson's 'Gospel according to the Hebrews,' pp. 62-68). If the previous manifestations of the risen Lord were made to love, to thought, to earnest though trembling inquiry, to spiritual vision only, so here we find that, amid the ordinary duties of life and the activities and disappointments of daily service, the Lord manifests himself. The eye of love and the heart of rock are made ready for special assurances of the Master's presence and power to help and guide disciples throughout that mysterious future in which they are to feel and realize his words, "Lo! I am with you always, even to the end of the world."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
This is now the third time,.... Or day of Christ's appearance to his disciples: he appeared to them first on the same day he rose, and then a second time eight days after, or that day a week later, and now at the sea of Tiberias; for within this compass of time he had made more appearances than three, though to particular persons, and not to such a number of the disciples as at these three times:
that Jesus showed himself to his disciples after that he was risen from the dead: and thus, as by the mouth of two or three witnesses, everything is established; so by these three principal appearances of Christ to his disciples, his resurrection from the dead was confirmed.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. This is the third time that Jesus showed himself—was manifested.
to his disciples—His assembled disciples; for if we reckon His appearances to individual disciples, they were more.
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