John 21 Lesson


Sometimes we might feel like our problems are so big that nothing can help; that we are doomed to failure.   We may feel this way, despite having a strong faith.   Satan loves to put doubt in our heads.  

What Jesus does with the fish at His appearance at the Sea of Galilee is a reminder to all of us just how easy it is for Jesus to help us, if we are wise enough to turn to Him in prayer.  

We are now in the final chapter of the Gospel of John.  In this chapter, the disciples go out fishing, just as they were doing prior to meeting Jesus.   They catch nothing all night.   Jesus appears and tells them where to cast their nets and they catch 153 large fish only 100 yards from shore!   John records the events this way:

“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 torn.” - John 21:11.

We know about the miracles Jesus performed, and how He can change our lives.  The hard part for us may be letting go of our desire to feel like we are in control.  Jesus wants us to let go of the control that we seek and to put our trust in Him.   He wants us to be vulnerable and to rely on Him.   Even if it does not make sense to, “The world,” it is important to Jesus that we show Him this type of trust and respect.   Here are a few scriptures that speak to this point:

Romans 12:2 - “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Psalm 146:3 - “Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.”

Proverbs 28:26 - “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered.”

Psalm 27:10 - “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up.”

It is interesting to see the reaction of the disciples once they realize that it is Jesus on the beach.   Every disciple except one remains in the boat to drag the catch that they had to shore.   The one exception was Peter.  

John writes in verses 7:

“So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.”  

Peter swam to the beach (about 100 yards) and then when the other disciples got there with the fish, Peter, “Went up and drew the net to land.”   Can you visualize that in your head?   As soon as he hears that it is Jesus, he puts on his outer garment, jumps into the Sea of Galilee, swims 100 yards to shore, and then pulls in their catch!   Peter was filled with joy and excitement to be with Jesus again.   His passion for Jesus is something to behold!  

Later in chapter 21, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him.   Why three times?   Could it be because Peter had earlier denied Jesus three times earlier?   Maybe Jesus wanted to let Peter know that He still had plans for him, that he was still wanted, and that Jesus still loved him.

Peter responds that he does love Jesus, and each time Jesus has a different command.   The three exchanges are as follows: 

  1. Jesus: “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”   Peter: “Yes Lord, You know that I love You.”   Jesus: “Tend My lambs.” 
  2. Jesus: “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”   Peter: “Yes Lord, You know that I love You.”   Jesus: “Shephard My sheep.” 
  3. Jesus: “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”   Peter: “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You .”   Jesus: “Tend My lambs.”

Three times He asks Peter if he loves Him.   Three times Peter responds that he does.   Then Jesus asks Peter to:

  • “Tend My lambs.”
  • “Shepard My sheep.”
  • “Tend My lambs.”

Jesus is making His expectations clear to Peter and His other disciples.   He wants them on His team, tending to the needs of the flock and protecting them.   After Peter had denied Jesus three times, he may have felt that he was of no use to the Lord.  By welcoming Peter back and giving him purpose and direction, Jesus let him know that He was forgiven.

God will forgive us also if we turn to Him and repent.  To get past the doubt that Satan tries to impose on us, we simply need to turn to Jesus.  Romans 10:17 says:

"Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."  

To eradicate doubt in our lives, we need to continuously nourish ourselves with the inspired word of God and turn our faith into action.  When we do that, God will reveal His plan for us.  He will give our lives new purpose and direction, and our doubt will be replaced with a strong faith.  

This concludes our lesson on the Gospel of John.  

Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will begin our 16-day study on the book of Romans.  Please join us!  



With the Coronavirus impacting people all over the world, I think this is a great opportunity to spread the Gospel! In the United States, there is so much fear and anxiety in the news. It's refreshing to be able to step away and focus on God's word and admire pictures of His creation. I am spending every morning looking at Virtual Bible Study. I hope that others are enjoying it as well.


We used to vacation on a Lake when I was a child. There was a dog named Rusty that would get so excited every time a water skier would pass the dock. Rusty would leap into the water and swim towards the skier. It was all in vain as the skier quickly went away and good 'ole Rusty would just turn around and doggy paddle back to shore.

That is the thought that comes to mind when I read this chapter. Peter got so excited when John told him that it was Jesus standing at the shore that he leaped out of the boat and swam approximately 100 yards to shore.

That thought makes me smile. It also inspires me. That is the kind of love for the Lord that I aspire to have. It takes work and adjustments everyday. But there is no better place to spend our time and our energy. Jesus loves us and is waiting for us. And unlike that water skier that skied away, Jesus won't leave us. Thanks for the study!