Thoughts for the Day

Friday, 14th April 2023: The meal on the beach

John 21 Resurrection Peter Disciples Jesus

Reading : Verses from John, Chapter 21

Jesus cooks fish on the beach

After these things 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. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


The angel had told the disciples to go back to Galilee where they were to wait. Today's reading from John's Gospel skips ahead, after their three day trip back to Galilee. The disciples need some food, or to earn money, and while they wait, they do what is natural, they go fishing.

Today, the 'Sea of Tiberias' (or Lake Galilee) is a beautiful place, sometimes flat and calm, at other times it funnels the wind to cause huge storms. One evening staying in a hotel on the northern shore, I saw a shoal of fish appear from my room. I watched as a local fishing boat set out, its red sail catching the wind. Evening came on, almost instantly as it does there, but I saw the boat again the next morning as it returned with fish.

The incident in John's Gospel is full of symbolism:

  • Peter is the leader, re-instated after his denial of Jesus, and he will lead the new Christians.
  • Peter gathers fish, as he will seek to gather men and women for the Church.
  • Jesus guides the disciples to the fish, as He will guide them when they 'fish' for people.
  • All the group are needed to drag the net ashore, and all will be needed to carry out God's mission.
  • The disciple 'whom Jesus loved' tells Peter it is Jesus, as we have been guided by someone.
  • Jesus breaks bread and gives it to them, as we do in our worship to remember Him!


Lord Jesus Christ,
You taught Peter and Your disciples
to be 'fishers of men',
and You teach us to be an example
to others in word and in deed.
Help us never to forget our role
in the mission of Your church,
no matter how small this may be,
but to watch out for opportunities
to witness to our faith.

Follow Up Thoughts

If you would like to find out more about the Sea of Galilee today, look up these two sites. The first is more geographical:

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