22 April 2017
“Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’” (v. 3)
John's Gospel was the last of the four
Gospels to be written, in about AD100. It is very different from
the other Gospels. It contains no parables. The stories in John's
Gospel have minute details which serve a particular purpose. The
Gospel also contains lengthy discourses by Jesus which were given
before he died.
The verses preceding the today's
passage are about how Thomas came to believe in the risen Lord (John
20:19-29). And the end of John 20 gives the purpose of the
Gospel (John 20:30-31). Many scholars think that John
21 was added later.
The disciples were somewhat at a loss.
Jesus had died; they had seen him but it was as if they did not
know what to do next. Perhaps it would be best to go fishing. John
does not tell us, but we know from the other Gospels that many of
the disciples had been fishermen (Matthew 4:18-22). They would go back to doing
what they knew - fishing.
But they did not catch anything.
Things were not the same as they had been before they had met
Jesus, but they did not know how to carry on. Peter had denied
Jesus (John 18:15-18, 25-27), but notice that he takes
the lead in suggesting the fishing expedition and the others
Verses 4-6 may remind us of Luke
5:1-11 where after an unsuccessful night of fishing, Jesus met
the disciples and told them where to cast their nets.
The fire mentioned in verse 9 might
have reminded Peter of another fire (John
18:25). It was at such fire that Peter had denied that he knew
And the reference to bread and fish in
verses 12-14 is reminiscent of the feeding of the multitude earlier
in the Gospel (John 6:1-14).
- To what extent do we choose what seems to be a safe option when
we are at a loss what to do?
- How does Jesus' encouraging the disciples to cast the net on
the right side of the boat challenge us, in the sense that perhaps
that is why we are often at a loss, not casting our nets on the
right side of the boat?
Bible notes author: The Revd Lynita Conradie
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