Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.CHAPTER 21
1. At the Sea of Tiberias. The Third Manifestation. (John 21:1-14.) 2. Peter’s Restoration and Ministry; the manner of His Death Predicted. (John 21:15-19.) 3. Tarry Till I Come. (John 21:20-23.) 4. Conclusion. (John 21:24-25.)
2. Peter’s Restoration and Ministry; the manner of His Death Predicted. (John 21:15-19.)
3. Tarry Till I Come. (John 21:20-23.)
4. Conclusion. (John 21:24-25.)
This chapter has often been looked upon as an appendix to the Gospel of John. It is not. Quite true, John states in the last two verses of the preceding chapter the purpose of this Gospel, but that does not mean that the twenty-first chapter has no connection with the Gospel itself. John 21:14 shows that it belongs to the Gospel proper.
The third time that He showed Himself after His resurrection --The first time on the first day of the week (John 20:19); this is typical of the present age, when He is in the midst of His people. The second time, when Thomas was present; typical of His second coming and manifestation to Israel. The third time on the Lake of Tiberias; typical of the future blessings through Israel, and corresponding to the third day in Chapter ii, when there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. The miraculous draught of fishes took place by His power, but the net did not go to pieces. It was different before His death and resurrection; then the net broke. The scene on the Lake of Tiberias foreshadows the ingathering of the nations into His Kingdom when He returns. The number of the fish caught is given, one hundred and fifty-three. The number of the nations of the world known at that time was exactly 153. How significant this is! Thus all the nations of the world will be gathered into His Kingdom.
But there are blessed spiritual lessons here. He is seen as Lord over His own. He can direct our service as He directed the disciples in casting the net at the right side of the ship. He provides for the need of His servants, as He did then in preparing a breakfast for them. (John 21:9.) He restores His servants who fail, as He so graciously restored Peter, and gives a higher and a better service. He also appoints the time and the manner of the servant’s departure out of this life; He told Peter when and how he was to die. He said of John, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” The Lord did not say that he should not die. John lived the longest of the disciples, and on the Isle of Patmos he beheld the events of the future and heard the voice, “Come up hither” and immediately he was in the Spirit and beheld heavenly things. The words of our Lord find likewise an application in connection with John’s writings.
“It is simple enough to say that John lives on in his writings. But then it might be urged, that is only what all the inspired writers will; still it cannot but come to mind that, in fact, John’s writings not only predict circumstantially the Lord’s return, but stretch over all the intervening time till then. While he does not take us up into heaven, as Paul does, and show us our place in the glorified Man up there, yet all the more he seems to abide with the people of God on earth until Christ’s return, as a human presence watching and caring for them. John may be thus truly said to be waiting with those on earth for his absent Lord in a way in which we could not speak of any other inspired writer.” (F.W. Grant.)
The last word John reports in His Gospel, coming from the lips of our Lord, is “Follow thou me.” And thus He speaks to all of His people. Wonderful Gospel it is, this Gospel of the Son of God and the Eternal Life! How full and rich each portion of it! And oh! the Grace which has sought us, saved us, made us one with Him, keeps us and which will soon bring us home to the Father’s house with its many mansions. May we follow Him in loving obedience, till He comes.