Saturday, November 28, 2015

John 20:26 - 21:14 comments: filled with meaning

26 ¶  And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 30  And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31  But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

The following week, Thomas was with the group and Jesus came in among them again. He gave Thomas the opportunity to verify for himself what the others had seen in the previous meeting. Thomas acknowledged that this was indeed his Lord and his God, the fundamental statement of the Christian.

John reports that there are many things that Jesus did that he saw as an eyewitness but that he did not include them here. The things he wrote in this gospel are for the purpose of leading you to believe that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, the Son of God, and by believing that you will live forever with Him as so many other passages maintain. That is the purpose of the Gospel According to John, to get people saved.

There is a blessing here from Jesus for those who believe without seeing the signs these Jewish Apostles required. Unbelieving, faithless people require big shows and displays of supernatural power, which can often be faked by opportunistic people with an agenda to make money and achieve fame. But, true, Christian faith does not require such displays. It is quiet and believing, without demanding such proofs.

Chapter 21

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 Nathanael 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, an 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.

The third time that Jesus showed Himself to the Apostles was after they had a long night of fishing without catching anything. Jesus appeared on the shore but the disciples did not recognize Him. He directs them to cast their nets on the opposite side of the boat and the nets were filled with fish. Then, John recognized that it was Jesus and told Peter. Peter was not wearing any clothing, which for men working together on a ship at that time, might not have been unusual as the word naked means naked. See Genesis 2:25. Peter then swam to the shore as the other disciples brought their catch to land, a little over a football field’s length from them.

Jesus had prepared a fire over which He was cooking fish and there was bread. He told them to bring the fish they had caught and the net produced 153 fish but the net, though full, did not burst. Jesus told them to share a meal with Him. They all realized it was Jesus at this point.

Why all the detail? What does this passage mean? Why did the Holy Spirit find it necessary to tell us that the load of fish caught after Jesus became involved was a 153 exactly and not 152 or 154? There are a lot of sermons which have seeds in this little section. Some thoughts might be;

The disciples went fishing and caught nothing in the night, the time of spiritual night we’ve already discussed. Men are like fish in the sea and without Christ we cannot draw them to Him and it is morning when Christ calls them, another topic already discussed.

Habakkuk 1:14  And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?

Matthew 4:19  And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

John 12:32  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

John 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

They have success when they obey Christ’s direction.

Peter knew enough that swimming to shore naked was not appropriate. God’s standard is that we be clothed when we worship Him. This is probably partly due to the naked rites of pagan idolatry. The priests were not to attend to God’s altar in just their outer garments.

Exodus 20:26  Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.

So, underwear was designed for them. Notice that breeches cover the loins to the thighs, from the crotch to the knee. These are not trousers as some commentators have insisted. Trousers didn’t come into play until the Persians invented them for men and women both to ride on horseback long after these Old Testament verses were written.

Exodus 28:42  And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach: 43  And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.

Remember the idolatrous practices of Egypt the Hebrews brought with them.

Exodus 32:1 ¶  And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 2  And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. 3  And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 4  And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 5  And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. 6  And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play…25  And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)

1Corinthians 10:7  Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

So, Peter would not have a problem being with his fellow workers in the condition of nakedness but he knew that it would not be appropriate to stand naked before his Lord and Master. In a different sense, figurative, the Christian also does not want to stand naked before God but our righteousness, based solely on Christ’s righteousness, is represented by fine, white linen.

Revelation 19:8  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

Think of Christ feeding you with His word in the Bible.

Matthew 4:4  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Revelation 3:20  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

So, as you can see there are many, many possible sermons out of this one little passage. Just looking at how each verse might apply to your condition is a marvelous thing about the Bible.

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