John 21:4-14 NKJV
4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”
They answered Him, “No.”
6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.
7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. 9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.”
11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.
14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.
After His resurrection, Jesus no longer lived among His disciples as He had before. He didn’t stay with them during those forty days between His resurrection and ascension. He appeared out of nowhere and then disappeared, having entered into His state of exaltation.
After all the remaining apostles, including Thomas, had seen the risen Lord and had their doubts and unbelief replaced with faith, they finally did what He had told them to do (cf. Matt. 28:10): They went to Galilee to meet the Lord. And since He hadn’t told them where exactly to meet Him, they decided to go fishing, as many of them had done for a living until being called away from their nets by Jesus some three years earlier. And just like the last time they had gone fishing, they caught nothing all night long.
But then the risen Lord fulfilled His promise to meet them. He appeared on the seashore and gave them another miraculous catch of fish, just like the last time they had gone fishing. Not that He needed the fish they caught; He Himself provided fish and bread for them, just as He had multiplied the loaves and the fish twice before. But He added to the meal some of what they had caught and then ate breakfast with them—the last meal He would share with them this side of heaven.
These disciples had much work yet to do. They had much to suffer, and all of them except for John would meet a violent end. But they were willing to do the work and to suffer the cross for Christ, because their Lord had worked and suffered for them first, and they knew He would continue to work with them and bless their preaching, even as He was the One who blessed their fishing again that day. They would be willing to give up their earthly lives, because they had seen that death was not the end for Jesus, but the beginning of a new and glorious life—a life that He will with those who follow Him here.
Let us pray: O risen Lord Jesus, make us bold to do whatever work You give us to do here on earth and to suffer whatever hardship You allow, knowing that You have truly risen from the dead, and that we will, too. Amen.