Thoughts for the Day

Sunday, 5th May 2024: Fishing in Galilee

Resurrection Feeding John 21 Jesus Mission

Reading : Verses from John, Chapter 21

Jesus and fishing boat

Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you have no fish, have you?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ He said to them, ‘Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the lake. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish..

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


As we move towards Ascension Day this week when Jesus will ascend to his rightful place with the Father, our reading takes us back to a resurrection appearance. After the events of Easter Day the disciples have seen Jesus a number of times in Jerusalem, but now are told to go to Galilee where he will see them again.

Having travelled to Palestine a number of times, I have watched the little boats set sail for a night of fishing, with their sails growing smaller in the dusk, and then return at dawn laden with fish. But this night the fishermen return with empty nets. For me, this is less a miracle (or 'sign' as John calls them in his Gospel) than a fact that a person in a boat cannot see a shoal of fish easily, but a person on slightly higher land (as occurs in the north of Galilee), can.

But there are other interesting things to note in this incident:

  • The risen Christ engages in an everyday task, cooking breakfast.
  • There were only seven disciples present.
  • As a fisherman picks Peter picks up his work again to feed them (and his family?).
  • We are reminded that Jesus said the disciples would be "fishers of men".
  • The disciples do not recognise Jesus immediately.
  • The disciple Jesus loves (John?) is the first to recognise Jesus.
  • The 153 fish may just indicate the huge haul of people awaiting their mission work;
  • Jesus "took the bread and gave it to them", reminds us of the Last Supper.

Finally this incident also reminds us that Jesus still feeds us (spiritually) today at our Holy Communion service.


Lord Jesus Christ,
we thank You for Your teaching
found in our Gospels,
for the pictures that stimulate
our minds and imagination,
and stir us to follow You today.
When we celebrate with bread and wine
may we remember that we do it
in remembrance of You,
and of all that You have done
and still do for us this day.

Follow Up Thoughts

This article deals with being a "fisher" of people in a little more depth:

You could listen to this - its not at all what you expect, though! It's by a group called 'Christian Edition':

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