John 21:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 21:4, NIV: Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

John 21:4, ESV: Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

John 21:4, KJV: But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

John 21:4, NASB: But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

John 21:4, NLT: At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn't see who he was.

John 21:4, CSB: When daybreak came, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not know it was Jesus.

What does John 21:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Peter and six other disciples have returned to Galilee after Jesus' resurrection (Matthew 28:9–10; John 21:1–2). Most of these were fishermen before Christ called them (John 1:35–42). In one of His earlier lessons, Jesus directed Peter to make what seemed to be a pointless change in his technique: to cast the net on the other side of the boat (Luke 5:3–5). The result was a catch of fish so large it nearly sank two boats (Luke 5:6–7). Peter recognized that this wasn't just a lucky guess, but a supernatural miracle, and reacted accordingly (Luke 6:8).

The current fishing trip may have been meant to simply pass time, or to earn money. Either way, it was unsuccessful (John 21:3). As the sun comes up, they see a figure on shore, who calls out. What He tells them will echo Jesus' earlier instructions (John 21:4–5), and Peter will once again understand that it is the Son of God who is speaking (John 21:6–7).