John 21:1-19 (Third Sunday of Easter)

The Sea of Tiberius, KPB Stevens, mixed media on paper, 2022

John 21:1-19

Later Jesus again was manifested to the disciples at Lake Tiberias. This is how the appearance took place. Assembled were Simon Peter, Thomas “the Twin,” Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s children, and two other disciples. 

Simon Peter said to them, “I’m going out to fish.” 

“We’ll join you,” they replied, and went off to get into their boat. All through the night they caught nothing. Just after daybreak, Jesus was standing on the shore, though none of the disciples knew it was Jesus. 

He said to them, “Have you caught anything, friends?” 

“Not a thing,” they answered. 

“Cast your net off to the starboard side,” Jesus suggested, “and you’ll find something.” So they made a cast and caught so many fish that they couldn’t haul the net in. 

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved cried out to Peter, “It’s the Teacher!” Upon hearing this, Simon Peter threw on his cloak—he was naked—and jumped into the water. Meanwhile the other disciples brought the boat to shore, towing the net full of fish. They were not far from land—no more than a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw that a charcoal fire had been prepared, with fish and some bread already being grilled. 

“Bring some of the fish you just caught,” Jesus told them. Simon Peter went aboard and hauled ashore the net, which was loaded with huge fish—one hundred fifty-three of them. In spite of the great number, the net was not torn. “Come and eat your meal,” Jesus told them. 

None of the disciples dared to ask, “Who are you?”—they knew it was the savior. Jesus came over, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This marked the third time that Jesus had appeared to the disciples after being raised from the dead.

When they had eaten their meal, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon ben-John, do you love me more than these?” 

Peter said, “Yes, Rabbi, you know that I’m your friend.” 

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” A second time Jesus put the question, “Simon ben-John, do you love me?” 

Peter said, “Yes, Rabbi, you know that I’m your friend.” 

Jesus replied, “Tend my sheep.” A third time Jesus asked him, “Simon ben-John, do you love me as a friend would?” 

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked, “Do you love me?” a third time. So he said, “You know everything, Rabbi. You know that I am your friend.” 

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. The truth of the matter is, when you were young, you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you get old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will put a belt around you and take you where you don’t want to go.” With these words, Jesus indicated the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.

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