Kefa Goes Fishing One More Time ~ Part 1

In my last post, we examined when Kefa Learns of Yeshua’s Resurrection. In this post, we continue with the sightings of our resurrected Lord when Kefa Goes Fishing One More Time ~ Part 1.

Fair Warning: There is so much “meat” in this last chapter of Yochanan that it will take us several posts to digest it.

The Synoptic Gospels had mentioned that Yeshua would appear to the talmidim in the Galil (Mat. 28:7, 10; Mk. 16:7), and Mat. 28:16-20 reports one such appearance. Here Yochanan describes another earlier appearance. Yochanan is the only author of the Gospels to record this account of Yeshua’s appearance.

Jon Courson has this to say about this last chapter of Yochanan:

Seven of the twelve disciples were fishermen. I find it interesting that Jesus seemed to be inclined toward choosing fishermen to be His disciples. Fishermen, by nature, must know how to persevere through both calm seas and stormy weather. The same is true of ministry. If you want to serve the Lord, you must learn to serve Him, as Paul would tell Timothy, “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). Whether the sun is shining or the trials abounding, we must be like fishermen, who, regardless of the weather, make their way to the sea. Working in teams, fishermen were those who could take commands. One would tell the other where to cast the net and when to draw it in. Certainly, those of us who want to be used by the Lord must be those who work as a team and take commands easily. Perhaps more than any other occupation, any other endeavor, fishing requires patience. So, too, those who minister for the Lord must be those who are exceedingly patient as they wait for the haul to come in.[1]

1 After this, Yeshua appeared again to the talmidim at Lake Tiberias (Gallilee or Galil). Here is how it happened: 2 Shim ‘on Kefa and T’oma (his name means “twin”) were together with Natan’el from Kanah in the Galil, the sons of Zavdai, and two other talmidim. 3 Shim ‘on Kefa said, “I’m going fishing.” They said to him, “We’re coming with you.” They went and got into the boat, but that night they didn’t catch anything.

The names of the sons of Zavdai are given in the Synoptic Gospels as Ya’akov and Yochanan (see Mathew 4:21). Luke mentioned that they were Shim’on’s partners in the fishing business before they were called to follow Yeshua as emissaries.

Even around Lake Tiberias, agriculture constituted the primary occupation; fishing was nevertheless a major industry there, and fishing there often provided an ample income. Fishing was often done at night. Some people have reported that fish are more easily caught at night than in the day on the Lake Tiberias; they could then be sold in the morning.

Shim’on Kefa said I’m going fishing. He was going back to his old way of life, apparently unaware of what Yeshua’s commission (20:21) meant. The others followed his example and went with him. The result of this self, rather than God, determined activity was that they didn’t catch anything. When they allowed the Messiah to determine what they should do, they caught a netful.

4 However, just as day was breaking, Yeshua stood on shore, but the talmidim didn’t know it was he. 5 He said to them, “You don’t have any fish, do you?” “No,” they answered him. 6 He said to them, “Throw in your net to starboard, and you will catch some.” So they threw in their net, and there were so many fish in it that they couldn’t haul it aboard.

Yeshua was standing on shore, but they didn’t recognize Him because it was only daybreak, and they were still some distance away. He called to them to throw in your net to starboard, and they caught so many fish in it that they couldn’t haul it aboard.

Kefa had been a fisherman all his life. Nevertheless, he had failed without the Lord’s enablement, something that Yeshua had shown him previously (see Luke 5:4-11). Kefa was not ultimately self-sufficient but entirely dependent on God, even to accomplish work that had been his whole life. As Yeshua told his emissaries, apart from me, you can’t do a thing (John 15:5). It appears that Kefa was a slow learner.

7 The talmid Yeshua loved (Yochanan) said to Kefa, “It’s the Lord!” On hearing it was the Lord, Shim ‘on Kefa threw on his coat, because he was stripped for work, and plunged into the lake; 8 but the other talmidim followed in the boat, dragging the net full of fish; for they weren’t far from shore, only about a hundred yards. John 21:1-8 (CJB)

This miraculous catch of fish opened the eyes of Yochanan. When he said, It’s the Lord!, Kefa threw on his coat, because he was stripped for work, and plunged into the lake. The impetuous talmid couldn’t wait. Then the rest of the talmidim followed, dragging the net full of fish behind them.

In my next post, we continue with Kefa Goes Fishing One More Time ~ Part 2.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Jon Courson’s Application Commentary New Testament.

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