John 21:9
As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) They saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.—In the original the tenses are present, describing the scene as it was impressed on the mind of the writer. They saw a fire of coals and fish lying thereon, and bread, or, perhaps,. . . . and a fish lying thereon, and a loaf.

For “fire of coals” comp. Note on John 18:18.

For the word rendered “fish,” comp. John 21:10; John 21:13, and Notes on John 6:9; John 6:11. In this passage and in John 21:13 only it occurs in the singular, but it seems clear that it may be collective, as our word “fish.”

John 21:9-14. As soon as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals — The effect of Christ’s wonder-working power; and fish laid thereon, and bread — Which also he had prepared by a miracle, that they might see how easily he could make provision for them, when they were destitute of the ordinary means of supply. We need not be curious in inquiring whence this fire, fish, and bread came, any more than whence the meat came which the ravens brought Elijah. He that could multiply the loaves and fishes that were, could make new ones if he pleased, or turn stones into bread, fish, or flesh. We may take comfort from this instance of Christ’s care of his disciples; persuaded he has wherewith to supply all our wants, and knows what things we have need of. It is especially encouraging to Christ’s ministers, whom he hath made fishers of men, to learn, by such an instance, that they may depend upon him who employs them to provide for them what he sees to be needful. Jesus saith, Bring of the fish ye have now caught — Christ gave this order either because the fish already broiling on the fire was not sufficient for the company, or rather, perhaps, to show them the reality and greatness of the miracle, by making them attend to the number and largeness of the fish which they had caught, and to the circumstance of the net’s not being broken. Simon Peter went up, and — With the help of his brethren; drew the net to land — As Peter in the former instance had showed a more zealous affection to his Master’s person than any of them, so in this he showed a more ready obedience to his Master’s commands. Full of great fishes, a hundred and fifty and three — These were many more than they needed for their present supply; but they might sell them, and the money would serve to bear their expenses on their journey back to Jerusalem, whither they were shortly to return, and to support them while they waited there. And for all there were so many — And great fishes too; yet was not the net broken — So that they witnessed miracle upon miracle wrought for them. Jesus saith, Come and dine — Or, come and eat; for the word αριστησατε, here used, signifies sometimes to take meat in the morning, which is the meaning of it here. Dr. Doddridge reads, Come and refresh yourselves; and Bishop Pearce, Come and breakfast. “The ancients used regularly but two meals in a day; we use three. As of our three, dinner and supper have been regarded as the two principal, it has obtained, not only with us, but all over Europe, to call the first meal of the ancients by the first of these two, which is dinner; and the second by the latter, which is supper. It is the order which has fixed the names of these meals, and not the precise time of the day at which they were eaten, which is commonly variable.” — Campbell. None of the disciples durst — Or rather, presumed, or ventured to ask him, Who art thou? — For, as the last-mentioned divine justly observes, “the verb ετολμα, which our translators render durst, does not always, in the use of Greek authors, sacred or profane, express the boldness or courage implied in the English verb to dare, by which it is commonly rendered. When joined with a negative, as in this place, it often expresses merely a disinclination, arising from modesty, delicacy, respect, or an averseness to be troublesome in putting unnecessary questions. And it may here be properly translated presumed, or ventured; an interpretation confirmed by the words immediately following. The sense then will be, They knew him to be the Lord, and therefore did not presume to ask him a needless question. To say they durst not ask him, tends to convey the notion that our Lord’s manner of conversing with his disciples was harsh and forbidding, than which nothing can be more contrary to truth. It is not said by the evangelist here, that Jesus now ate with them; but his invitation to them in this verse implies it. Besides, Peter testifies, (Acts 10:41,) that his apostles did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead; meaning to tell Cornelius that that was one of the many infallible proofs by which he showed himself alive after his passion. It is reasonable, therefore, to think that he ate with his apostles on this occasion. Thus Jesus proved to his disciples anew the reality of his resurrection, not only by eating with them, but by working a miracle like that which, at the beginning of his ministry, made such an impression upon them as disposed them to be his constant followers. This is the third time Jesus showed himself to his disciples, &c. — The evangelist does not say that it was the third time Jesus appeared, but the third time that he appeared to his disciples; that is, to his apostles in a body; for in reality it was his seventh appearance. Besides, John himself has taken notice of three appearances before this.

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.They saw a fire ... - We have no knowledge whence this was produced - whether it was, as Grotius supposes, by a miracle, or whether it was a place occupied by other fishermen, where they also might cook the fish which they had caught. As no miracle is mentioned, however, there is no reason for supposing that any existed in the case. 9. they saw—"see."

a fire of coals, and fish laid thereon, and bread—By comparing this with 1Ki 19:6, and similar passages, the unseen agency by which Jesus made this provision will appear evident.

As to the question whence this fish came, there are three opinions: some think that our Saviour caught it out of the sea without a net, or by his power commanded it to come to his service; others think that the history is transposed, and this verse should in its true order come after the eleventh; but it is most probable that Christ by his Divine power created the fish, as well as the coals and the bread.

As soon then as they were come to land,.... As soon as they were come out of the ship, and safe on shore, not only Peter, but all the rest of the disciples:

they saw a fire of coals there: on the shore, to their great surprise:

and fish laid there; which could not be any that they had taken, for, as yet, the net was not drawn up, and the fish took out:

and bread; not upon the coals baking, but hard by, being ready prepared to eat with the fish, when sufficiently broiled. This was all of Christ's preparing, and a considerable proof of his deity; and a confirmation of that provision he will make for his ministering servants, whilst they are about his work, and in this world; and a representation of that spiritual and eternal refreshment they shall have with him in heaven to all eternity, when they have done their work.

As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 21:9. Ὡς οὖνἄρτον. “When, then, they got out upon the land, they see a fire (or heap) of coals laid and fish laid thereon, and bread”; or, possibly, “a fish” and “a loaf,” but see John 21:13. For ἀνθρακιά, see John 18:18. The disciples were evidently surprised at this preparation.

9. As soon as … they saw] Better, When thereforethey see.

a fire of coals] See on John 18:18 : the word occurs only there and here in N.T. [10]. ‘There’ is literally laid.

fish laid thereon, and bread] Or possibly, a fish laid thereon and a loaf. But the singulars may be collectives as in the A. V. The word for fish (opsarion) is similar in meaning, though not in derivation, to the one used in John 21:5. (See on John 6:9.) In John 21:11 yet another word is used (ichthus), which means ‘fish’ generally, whether for eating or not.

John 21:9. Βλέπουσιν, they see) unexpectedly. A miracle.—ὀψάριον, a small fish) a single one.—ἄρτον, a loaf) a single one: John 21:13, “Jesus taketh the loaf” [Engl. vers., ‘bread,’ loses the force of the article]. Jesus entertained His disciples at a feast: and with food, which would have been only enough for one guest, He fed them all.

Verse 9. - So when they were come to land (literally, with Revised Version, got out of the boat upon the land; א reads ἀνέβησαν instead of ἀπέβησαν), they see a fire of coals there. The word ἀνθρακία occurs only in John 18:18 and in this place. It is derived from ἄνθραξ, a "coal of fire," or burning charcoal. Observe the form κειμένην (of John 2:6), which implies that the burning brazier was placed there for a purpose. And fish laid thereon, and a loaf. (Ὀψάριον and ὀψάρια, used both in the singular and the plural for the roast relish eaten with bread, and, by reason of the customary food of the people, is often used for "fish" or "fishes.") Our Lord was regarding the whole of this proceeding from the standing of one who would meet their hunger, and was conscious of power to feed the world in its utmost need. So the provision which was thus made in advance for the need of the disciples becomes symbolic of Christ's power to meet all the wants of the dying world. Numerous speculations have been hazarded about the method employed by our Lord to prepare this meal. The early Fathers, Chrysostom, Theophylact, with Grotius, have appealed to Christ's creative power. Luthardt thinks of the ministry of angels. Some have suggested that Peter prepared the hasty repast during the interval that elapsed between his landing on the shore and the approach of the boat. Our Lord, who knew how to arrange for the last supper with his disciples, and who had all the resources of Providence, and hosts of disciples along the shore, would, with superlative ease, and without revealing himself to strangers, have made this simple meal; and, with his knowledge of the ease, would have still delighted to act towards his beloved ones as at once their Host and their Minister. He simply prepared for his own what he has been doing ever since. John 21:9They were come to land (ἀπέβησαν εἰς τὴν γῆν)

Not of the arrival of the boat, but of the going ashore of the boatmen. Rev., therefore, correctly, they got out upon the land.

A fire of coals

Charcoal. See John 18:18.

Fish (ὀψάριον)

See on John 6:9.

Bread (ἄρτον)

Or, a loaf. See on Matthew 4:1; see on Matthew 7:9.

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