John 21:6
And he said to them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) Cast the net on the right side of the ship.—Comp. Note on Luke 5:6. Here the special direction is to cast the net on the right side. We must suppose that the net was cast on the left side, and that they think the speaker who stands on the shore sees some indication of fishes on the other side, for He is still as a stranger to them, and yet they at once obey Him.

They were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.—That is, they were not able to draw it up into the boat. In John 21:8 they are described as dragging it to the shore.

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.On the right side - Why the right side is mentioned is not known. Grotius supposes that it was the side nearest the shore, where there was less probability of taking fish. It does not appear that they yet recognized the Lord Jesus, but from some cause they had sufficient confidence in him to make another trial. Perhaps they judged that he was one skilled in that employment, and knew where there was the greatest probability of success. 6. he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship—no doubt, by this very specific direction, intending to reveal to them His knowledge of the deep and power over it. Though they had before laboured in vain, yet their Master’s command encourages them to go to work again; then they take a multitude of fishes; a presage, say some, of that great success which the apostles should have in their fishing for men. And he said unto them,.... Willing to make himself known by a miracle, since they knew him not by his person, nor voice:

cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find; that is, a large multitude of fish, as they did. The ship was an emblem of the church in its present afflicted state; the right side of it points to the elect, and where they are to be found in this world; the casting of the net signifies the preaching of the Gospel; the promise of finding fish, the assurance Christ gives of the success of his word, which he owns and blesses for the conversion of elect sinners:

they cast therefore; the net, willing to try what success they might have at the instance of this person, whom they knew not. The Ethiopic version reads the passage thus, "and they said unto him, we have laboured all night, and have found nothing, but at thy word we will let down"; which seems to be taken out of Luke 5:5. However, they obeyed his orders and directions, as the faithful ministers of the Gospel do, and should, and, succeeded.

And now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. The Syriac adds, "which it held"; being in number, as in John 21:11 an hundred and fifty, and three great fishes; which was an emblem and presage of that large number of souls both among the Jews and Gentiles, which they should be instrumental in bringing to Christ, through the preaching of the Gospel.

And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 21:6. Ὁ δὲ εἶπενκαὶ εὑρήσετε. “Cast your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find.” They supposed the stranger had been making observations from the shore, had seen a shoal or some sign of fish, and unwilling to come in empty, ἔβαλον οὖνἰχθύων. “They cast therefore, and were no longer (as they had been before) able to draw it [ἑλκύσαι, not ἑλκῦσαι, see Veitch’s Irreg. Verbs, seems here to be used as we use ‘draw’ in connection with a net, meaning to draw over the side of the boat so as to secure the fish. Contrast σύροντες in John 21:8] for the multitude of fishes”; ἀπό often means “on account of” in Dionysius Hal., Plutarch, and even in Thucydides and Sophocles as shown by Kypke.6. They cast therefore] Perhaps they thought the stranger saw fish on the right side. Fish are at times seen “in dense masses” in the lake.John 21:6. Δεξιὰ, the right side) A most precise and unerring command. The power of the Lord collected together the fishes thither.—ἑλκύσαι) [to draw] The verb σύρειν, John 21:8 [to drag], implies the employment of greater force.The net (δίκτυον)

See on Matthew 4:18; see on Matthew 13:47.

Were not able (οὐκ ἴσχυσαν)

See on Luke 14:30; see on Luke 16:3; see on James 5:16.

To draw (ἑλκῦσαι)

Into the boat. Compare σύροντες, John 21:8, dragging the net behind the boat.

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