John 21:1
After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed he himself.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) After these things.—Comp. the same expression in John 5:1; John 6:1; John 7:1. It denotes not immediate succession, but rather an interval during which other events have taken place. Here it connects the events of this chapter with the Gospel which has been brought to a conclusion in John 20:30-31. At a later period than the last-mentioned there, occurred the events to be mentioned here.

Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples.—Better, He manifested Himself again to the disciples. The word “Jesus” is of uncertain authority, and has probably been inserted because a Church Lesson began at this place. (Comp. Notes on John 6:14.) The pronoun connects the narrative immediately with that which has gone before.

The word rendered “shewed Himself” (manifested Himself) is used elsewhere of our Lord’s appearance only in Mark 16:12; Mark 16:14, where it is passive (see Note there), and in John 21:14 of this chapter. The argument that this chapter is not the original part of St. John’s Gospel cannot, however, be fairly said to be strengthened by this fact. The word occurs only once besides in the Synoptic Gospels (Mark 4:22), while it is distinctly a Johannine word (John 1:31; John 2:11; John 3:21; John 7:4; John 9:3; John 17:6; 1John 1:2 (twice); 1John 2:19; 1John 2:28; 1John 3:2 (twice), 1John 3:5; 1John 3:8; 1John 4:9; Revelation 3:18; Revelation 15:4).

The reflective expression, “manifested Himself,” is, moreover, in St. John’s style. (Comp. John 7:4; John 11:33.) The word “again” is another link with what has gone before, connecting this manifestation with that of John 20:19; John 20:26.

At the sea of Tiberias.—Comp. Note on John 6:1. The name is found only in St. John.

(1) The impression that St. John would not die belongs to the period when the Second Advent was looked for as within the limits of lifetime. This period ceased with the first generation of Christians, and the mistake would therefore point to the close of the first century as a limit beyond which’ the date of the Gospel cannot be placed.

John 21:1. After these things, &c. — Grotius thinks this whole chapter was written by some of the elders of the church of Ephesus, and added to the rest of the book by the approbation of that society, as agreeable to the relations which they had heard from the mouth of St. John: and Le Clerc follows him in this conjecture; but Dr. Mill has taken pains to invalidate it; (Prolegom., p. 249;) and the beginning of John 21:24, destroys the force of Grotius’s arguments from the latter part of it. Jesus showed himself again to the disciples, &c. — Our Lord having first by the angels, and then in person, ordered his disciples to go home to Galilee, with a promise that they should see him there, it is reasonable to think that they would depart as soon as possible. Wherefore when they were come to their respective homes, and were employed in their former occupation of fishing, Jesus showed himself to them, as is related in the following verses.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.The sea of Tiberias - Called also the Sea of Galilee, being situated in Galilee. See the notes at Matthew 4:18. In this place Jesus had promised to meet them, Mark 14:28; Mark 16:7; Matthew 26:32; Matthew 28:10. This interview of Jesus is but just mentioned by Matthew Mat 28:16, and is omitted by both Mark and Luke. This is the reason why John relates so particularly what occurred there. Galilee was a retired place where they would be free from danger, and was therefore a safe and convenient situation for Jesus to meet them, in order to give them his last instructions.

On this wise - Thus. In this manner.

CHAPTER 21

Joh 21:1-23. Supplementary Particulars.

(That this chapter was added by another hand has been asserted, against clear evidence to the contrary, by some late critics, chiefly because the Evangelist had concluded his part of the work with Joh 20:30, 31. But neither in the Epistles of the New Testament, nor in other good authors, is it unusual to insert supplementary matter, and so have more than one conclusion).

1, 2. Jesus showed himself again—manifested himself again.

and on this wise he manifested himself—This way of speaking shows that after His resurrection He appeared to them but occasionally, unexpectedly, and in a way quite unearthly, though yet really and corporeally.John 21:1-11 Christ appeareth to his disciples at the sea of Tiberias, and maketh himself known by a great draught of fishes.

John 21:12-14 He eateth before them. John 21:15-23 He thrice repeateth his charge to Peter to feed his

flock; foretells the manner of his death; and rebuketh his curiosity concerning John.

John 21:24,25 John asserts the truth of his testimony, and that Jesus did many acts besides, too numerous to be recorded.

After three several appearances of Christ to his disciples, which hitherto were all of them in Jerusalem, Christ showed himself again to them in Galilee, whither he had ordered his disciples to go, promising there to meet them, Matthew 26:32 Mark 16:7. Here the occasion and circumstances of this his third appearance are related by St. John.

After these things,.... The resurrection of Christ from the dead, his appearance to Mary Magdalene, and twice to his disciples; once when Thomas was absent, and at another time when he was present:

Jesus showed himself again to the disciples, a third time, as in John 21:14 though not to them all; seven are only mentioned, as together, when he appeared to them:

at the sea of Tiberias; the same with the sea of Galilee; see John 6:1 for after the second appearance of Christ to his disciples, they went from Jerusalem to Galilee, by the order of Christ, who appointed to meet them there, Matthew 28:10

and on this way showed he himself; the manner in which he made his appearance, and the persons to whom, are as follow.

After these things {1} Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.

(1) In that Christ is not only present here but also eats with his disciples, he gives a most full assurance of his resurrection.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 21:1-2. Μετὰ ταῦτα] Referring, in conformity with the nature of a supplement, to the last narrative before the conclusion in John 20:30-31.

ἐφανέρωσεν ἑαυτόν] Comp. the passive expression, Mark 16:12; Mark 16:14; it is, however, precisely the reflexive expression which is Johannean, see John 7:4. It presupposes a state of concealment, from which He now again (πάλιν points back to John 21:14, to the two preceding appearances, John 20:19; John 20:26) came forth and made Himself manifest to His disciples, brought Himself into view,—not a spiritual existence (De Wette), not “a sphere of invisibility, in which He moves by Himself” (Luthardt, comp. Tholuck), but rather a wonderfully altered existence, no longer belonging to ordinary intercourse, brought nearer to a state of glorification, yet still material, διὰ τὸ λοιπὸν ἄφθαρτον εἶναι τὸ σῶμα καὶ ἀκήρατον, Chrysostom.

ἐπὶ τῆς θαλ.] on the lake, because the shore is over the lake. Comp. on Matthew 14:25; Xen. Anab. iv. 3. 28: ἐπὶ τοῦ ποταμοῦ, and passages from Herodotus in Schweighäuser’s Lex. p. 245. It belongs to ἐφαν.

ἐφανέρωσε δὲ οὕτως] sc. ἑαυτόν, not, as Hengstenberg imports from John 2:11, τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ. Further, an iteration of this kind, in simple, continuous narration, is not elsewhere found in John. But he may here have purposely written in so diffuse a manner as a set-off to the distortions of actual fact in tradition (comp. John 21:23).

Of the seven disciples, John 21:2, the last two remain unnamed. Hence they are probably (John 6:60, John 7:3, John 8:31, John 18:19) to be deemed disciples in the wider sense, with which John 21:1 does not conflict (in answer to Hengstenberg, who conjectures Andrew and Philip), since the two unnamed are simply subordinate persons. That of the disciples in the narrower sense the sons of Zebedee are mentioned last, is in harmony with the composition of the narrative by John himself. All the less is any deeper or emblematic significance to be sought as lying behind the succession of the names, or even behind the number seven. Another composer would probably have placed the sons of Zebedee immediately after Peter.

ὁ ἀπὸ Κανᾶ τ. Γαλ.] added, without any special design, in this supplement of late composition. According to Hengstenberg, the representative of the first miracle (chap. 2) could not but be indicated, which is pure invention.

οἱ τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου] does not occur elsewhere in John; but, at the same time, it is only here that the occasion presents itself to him to mention in a series of names himself[279] and his brother along with others.

On the tradition which Luke sets forth, which is altogether irreconcilable with Galilean appearances of the Risen One, useless upon arbitrary harmonistic presuppositions (such as even Luthardt entertains), see on Luke 24:50. Acts 1:4 does not, however, necessarily presuppose, in reference to the appearances, that none took place in Galilee. Matthew, on the other hand, excludes the appearances which took place before the disciples at Jerusalem, which are related by John 20. See on Matthew 28:10. Harmonistic expedients also in Hengstenberg and Godet.

[279] Hence Nathanael cannot be John (Späth): comp. on John 1:46.John 21:1. Μετὰ ταῦτα, John’s usual indefinite note of time, ἐφανέρωσεν ἑαυτὸν, cf. John 7:4, John 13:4; Mark 16:12; πάλιν, over and above the manifestations in Jerusalem, at the Sea of Tiberias; see John 6:1.1–14. The Manifestation to the Seven and the Miraculous Draught of Fishes

1. After these things] This vague expression (see on John 5:1, John 6:1, John 19:38) suits an afterthought which has no direct connexion with what immediately precedes.

shewed himself] Better, manifested Himself. The rendering of this verb (phaneroun), which is one of S. John’s favourite words [1], should be kept uniform, especially here, John 2:11, John 7:4, John 17:6, where the active voice is used. Comp. John 1:31, John 3:21, John 9:3, John 21:14; 1 John 1:2; 1 John 2:19; 1 John 2:28; 1 John 3:2; 1 John 3:5; 1 John 3:8; 1 John 4:9. In the other Gospels the word occurs only Mark 4:22; [John 16:12; John 16:14], in all cases in the passive form.

again] This (as John 21:14 shews) points back to the manifestation to S. Thomas and the rest (John 20:26).

sea of Tiberias] See on John 6:1. S. John alone uses this name [2]. The return of the disciples from Jerusalem to Galilee is commanded Matthew 28:7; Mark 16:7. They returned to Jerusalem soon, and remained there from the Ascension to Pentecost (Acts 1:4). S. Matthew notices only the appearances in Galilee, S. Luke [and S. Mark] only those in Jerusalem. S. John gives some of both groups.

on this wise shewed he] Better, He manifested on this wise. This repetition is S. John’s style [3].John 21:1. Μετὰ ταῦτα, after these things) More than eight days, as it seems, having intervened, for they had now no longer an expectation of another manifestation: John 21:4. John proves by an example that it was in his power to have recorded more miracles than what were written: ch. John 20:30. [This chapter is a kind of appendix to the book.—V. g.]—ἐφανέρωσεν ἑαυτὸν, He manifested Himself) This conveys to the reader a more striking idea than ἐφάνη, He appeared, would.—ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης, at the sea) In such a way, however, as that He did not Himself enter the sea, after the resurrection: comp. Revelation 21:1, “A new earth,—and there was no more sea.”Verse 1. - After these things Jesus manifested himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias. The opening formula is one often adopted by John (see particularly John 2:12; John 5:1, 14; John 6:1); considerable periods of time and cycles of ministry are frequently covered by it. Another chapter is opened, another series of events to be recorded which had left undying impression on the apostle's mind, and, in full view of numerous other traditions, was chosen by himself as especially worthy of record. "Jesus manifested himself." In John 2:11 we hear that "he manifested his glory;" now he manifested his Person, as an act of his own will. He was "manifested in the flesh" (1 Timothy 3:16), but now that flesh was itself more directly under the control of his personality, and the mere sensuous eye and carnal understanding could not without his special permission realize that wondrous presence. The passive form of the verb is used in Mark 16:12, 14. The touch of feeling involved in the active voice must not be overlooked. The "again" clearly points back to the previous manifestations described in John 20:14, 19, 26. On each occasion his coming, though in a recognizable human body, was a body (a μορφή, not a σχῆμα) which had the qualities of spirit. "The disciples" are afterwards mentioned by name. It was to disciples only that he "appeared." Believers in him were those alone who could see this spiritual body. The effect produced upon them was that of objective reality, but this was made to prepared spirits. Such a proceeding is akin to all the grander operations of nature, and the most august manifestations of God. "At the sea of Tiberias." This is the only place where the "sea of Galilee," or of "Gennesareth," is called the "sea of Tiberias." That it was identical with the familiar lake is evident from the known site of Tiberias (now represented by the modern town Tubarieh), a city which is mentioned by Josephus ('Ant.,' 18:02.3; 'Bell. Jud.,' 2:09. 1; 'Vit.,' §§ 12, 13, 64), and which, from its schools of learned men, had a great place in later Jewish history. Moreover, in John 6:1, 23, if the Greek be accurately rendered, the writer spoke of "the sea of Galilee, of Tiberias," interpreting the name well known by the Jews, through another name by which it would be better recognized by Gentiles (see note on John 6:1). Dr. Farrar, 'Message of the Books,' sees in the nomenclature a hint of the later origin of the Fourth Gospel than the date assigned to the synoptic narrative. 'Er; is used because the shore where they saw him was a raised beach or cliff" above" the sea. It must be observed that the same phrase is used in John 6:19 and Matthew 14:25 for Christ's walking "upon the sea;" but the ἐπὶ is itself explained here by the αἰγιαλόν of ver. 4, just as the preposition receives elsewhere more literally another meaning from the context. And he manifested himself thus; "on this wise," i.e. after the manner to be described. This is the commencement of our Lord's discourses on the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). This was the beginning of the great fulfillment of his own predictions (Matthew 26:32; Matthew 28:10), and of the angel's words to the women. The narrative gives the deep heart-tones and genuine teaching of the risen Lord. Shewed (ἐφανέρωσεν)

This rendering might easily convey merely the sense of appearing; but its meaning is much deeper. Occurring frequently in the New Testament, it is used most frequently of God and Christ, or of men in their relation to these. Thus, of Christ in person while upon earth (Mark 16:12, Mark 16:14; John 1:31; John 2:11; 1 Peter 1:20; 1 John 1:2). Of the works of Christ (John 2:11; John 9:3; 1 John 3:5). Of Christ in redemption (1 John 3:5). Of Christ in His second coming (1 John 2:28). Of Christ in glory (1 John 3:2; Colossians 3:4). It is used of God. Of His revelation to men of the knowledge of Himself (Romans 1:19). Of His manifestation in Christ (1 Timothy 3:16). Of His righteousness (Romans 3:21). Of His love (1 John 4:9). It is used of men. As epistles manifesting the character and spirit of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:11). In the judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10). In all these cases the appearing is not merely an appeal to sense, but is addressed to spiritual perception, and contemplates a moral and spiritual effect. It is the setting forth of the law or will or character of God; of the person or work of Christ; of the character or deeds of men, with a view to the disclosure of their quality and to the producing of a moral impression. Rev., manifested.

Sea

See on Matthew 4:18.

Of Tiberias

Not elsewhere in the Gospels. The Synoptists say, Sea of Galilee or Lake of Gennesaret.

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