We are honored to be with you again today. It is a privilege to study God’s Word with you; thanks for joining us. We are Heralds of Hope, and this program is one way we fulfill Jesus’ last command. He told us in Matt 28 to Go and teach. The program is going on radio waves; please pray with us that God would use these programs to reach people. And through this program, we want to teach everyone about Jesus and the things we have learned from Him. We pray Jesus’ Kingdom would be strengthened and you would be encouraged in your walk with Him.
Today we begin the last chapter of John, chapter 21. Actually, next week will be our last lesson from the Gospel of John. Our study through John started about one year ago, and now we are coming to the end of this wonderful book. We hope this study has been a blessing for you. If you are interested, all these lessons have been compiled into one book titled The Word. Please contact us for your copy of “The Word” I will give you our contact information at the end of this program.
The title for our lesson is How Jesus Showed Himself. This is another story of the disciples interacting with the risen Jesus Christ. Jesus was alive then, and He is alive now. We know this because He’s changed us, and He is still showing Himself strong to those who need Him. Let’s go now to John 21 with Bible teacher J Mark Horst.
The museums of the world contain monuments to the great men of earth, the British museum in London, the museum in Cairo, and the museums of other countries of the Bible’s history. But the greatest man that ever lived has an empty tomb as His monument. That empty tomb bears witness to Him. No one else has that kind of monument.
When the Romans crucified Jesus, and His friends buried Him, everyone then thought there would be nothing more. But there was more. There is more because He arose from the dead. The last two chapters of John’s Gospel give us the record how He arose from the dead and HOW JESUS SHOWED HIMSELF to His disciples. This meditation is based on John 21:1-14.
1. After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.
2. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
3. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, we also go with thee. They went forth and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.
4. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.
5. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.
6. 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.
7. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.
8. And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.
9. As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
10. Jesus saith unto them, bring of the fish which ye have now caught.
11. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, a hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.
12. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.
13. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.
14. This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
As we meditate upon these verses, we notice the WAYS Jesus showed Himself to His disciples.
The first Way: By His Unexpected Coming.
Did you notice that Peter was the one who said, “I am going fishing?” This is really not surprising because Peter was a fisherman before Jesus ever called him to follow Him. He and Andrew, James, and John were fishermen. On this fishing project, Peter’s companions were Thomas, Nathaniel, James, John, and two others of Jesus’ disciples. It’s not surprising that they would go fishing.
Sometimes, when we face traumatic situations, going back to what is familiar to us is like a therapy. We can immerse ourselves in our work and forget about our troubles for a brief time. Or conversely, when our hands are busy with work that is familiar, our minds can think more clearly. I suspect this may be at least part of the reason why these disciples went fishing.
They spent the night, however, without catching anything. Maybe that is not really surprising, either. If the fish are not running, like they say, then there is not much chance of catching fish. But the surprising part is that Jesus unexpectedly was standing there on the shore as the morning began to dawn. They saw Jesus on the shore and did not even know it was Jesus. They were not expecting Him. No, they were not expecting Him.
That’s how He showed Himself to them, by His unexpected coming. I would like to draw a lesson from that for you and me. Is it not true that sometimes Jesus comes to us at unexpected times in unexpected ways? At times when your hopes and dreams have been dashed, and you feel all alone?
Well, I’m glad to tell you that Jesus will be right by your side, even though you don’t expect Him.
The second Way: By His Unqualified Command.
He first asked them this question, “Do you have any food?” They answered by saying, “No.” They had been fishing all night and hadn’t caught anything, so, of course, they wouldn’t have any fish. Probably, by the way He asked the question and the way they answered it, they didn’t have any bread either; they had no food.
Then Jesus gave them an unqualified command, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you shall find.” That’s remarkable. Here was a man standing on shore commanding the fishermen who were 100 meters from shore, more than 300 feet. For somebody to stand on the shore and be able to instruct the fishermen where the fish are is surprising, but He did. He told them which side to cast their net. They did, and they caught a great multitude of fish, so that they struggled getting the net into the boat.
Then the reality of who it was came to the disciple whom Jesus loved—we believe it was John. He said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” John said that because he knew nobody else would have been able to tell them from a hundred meters away where the fish were.
Here’s the lesson I get from this way Jesus showed Himself: the disciples did exactly what Jesus commanded them to do. Think about this, here was a stranger, for they did not know Him, commanding the fishermen, experienced as they were, to cast their net on the opposite side of the boat, on the right side. They could’ve said, “what do you know about fishing that we don’t know? We’ve been doing this all our lives!” But they didn’t say that. They just obeyed the unqualified command of Jesus.
Let us ponder that they did exactly what Jesus told them to do. I get a lesson from that for you and me: we also ought to do exactly what Jesus tells us to do. He tells us what to do in God’s Word.
The third Way: By His Unselfish Care.
When Peter dragged the net to shore, they found they had 153 fish in the net. But Jesus was prepared for them and had already made a fire, and He had laid some fish and bread on the coals.
After they had pulled in the net bursting with fish, Jesus said to them, “Bring of the fish that ye have now caught.” That must have been a wonderful breakfast. Yes, a wonderful meal on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Then He said to them, “Come and eat.” Everything was ready. Jesus had prepared a tasty, early morning meal for the disciples. When they gathered around, the seven of them with Jesus, He took bread and gave some to them and gave them some fish also. But nobody dared to ask Him who He was because they all knew that it was Jesus. Unselfishly He met their need. He had everything prepared for them, all that they needed.
Now, my friend, I want to draw a third lesson for you and me from this. Jesus unselfishly cares for us too. He provides for our needs as well.
What enriching lessons we learn from how Jesus showed Himself to the disciples. Often in our lives, Jesus is there at unexpected times. Sometimes we may not know it at first. Often, He commands us, and blessings come when we do what He says. Often His care is shown by how He provides for us.
Do you know Him? Do you know Jesus? Let Him show Himself to you, that He can really meet your need.
Thank you, J Mark, for this teaching from God’s Word, and thank you for joining us. It is a privilege for us to study God’s Word and learn from it. Now take what we’ve heard and put it into practice. The teaching and instruction in the Bible are for us, and it is supposed to change the way we live.
Don’t be like the man in James 1 who sees himself in a mirror then goes away and forgets what he looks like; instead, be like the man in verse 25 who looks intently into the Word and is a doer of the work. God says, “that man will be Blessed in what he does.”
As you noticed, we are coming to the end of the book of John. We hope you have enjoyed the time we have spent in John, and you are probably wondering what is next. We have one more lesson in John, and after that, we will go to the Old Testament Book of Exodus. We will go with the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt and into the desert toward the promised land. But it is more than just a story about the Israelites. It is God accomplishing His plan on this planet. We know how the Israelites received God’s law and became His chosen people, and many years later, out of the children of Israel, from the tribe of Judah, another Lamb came. This lamb was sacrificed for the sin of the whole world.
There is a lot we can learn from every book of the Bible, and we hope you will continue to join us as we begin studying in the book of Exodus.
Once again, our study guide, The Hope Herald, will be available. Each program here is another lesson in this study guide. If you are interested, please contact us; we’d be happy to send you one.
Here are a few ways you can reach us. The quickest and easiest way is through email. Our email is [email protected]. If you don’t have email, you could send us a letter, send it to Hope for Today, Box 3, Breezewood, Pennsylvania 15533. And you can always contact us through our website. Go to heraldsofhope.org, click on “Connect,” which is at the top in the middle; scroll down till you see “contact us,” then you will need to fill in your information. While you are on our website, please look around and use the resources which are available there. We hope it will be a blessing for you. Again, the website is Heraldsofhope.org
We thank you for joining us for today’s program. Please join us again next week for one more lesson from John. Till then, remember this promise from Isaiah 41. “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
This episode is an exposition of John 21:1-14 by J. Otis Yoder, re-recorded by J. Mark Horst, with a new opening and closing by Arlin Horst.