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John chapter 21

New International Version

1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 I'm going out to fish,' Simon Peter told them, and they said, 'We'll go with you.' So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, 'Friends, haven't you any fish?' 'No,' they answered.
6 He said, 'Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.' When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, 'It is the Lord!' As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, 'It is the Lord,' he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10 Jesus said to them, 'Bring some of the fish you have just caught.' 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, 'Come and have breakfast.' None of the disciples dared ask him, 'Who are you?' They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?' 'Yes, Lord,' he said, 'you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Feed my lambs.'
16 Again Jesus said, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' He answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Take care of my sheep.'
17 The third time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, 'Do you love me?' He said, 'Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.' 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, 'Follow me!'
20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, 'Lord, who is going to betray you?') 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, 'Lord, what about him?'
22 Jesus answered, 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.' 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?'
24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.
25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
English Standard Version

1 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3 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.
4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on 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 of the quantity of fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. 8 The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” 23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”
24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
King James Version

1 After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. 2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. 3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. 6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. 8 And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. 9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. 10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. 11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. 12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? 21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? 22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. 23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? 24 This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. 25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
New American Standard Bible

1 After these things Jesus revealed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He revealed Himself in this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas who was called Didymus, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter *said to them, 'I am going fishing.' They *said to him, 'We are also coming with you.' They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.
4 But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 So Jesus *said to them, 'Children, you do not have any fish to eat, do you?' They answered Him, 'No.' 6 And He said to them, 'Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you will find the fish.' So they cast it, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great quantity of fish. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved *said to Peter, 'It is the Lord!' So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about two hundred cubits away, dragging the net full of fish.
9 So when they got out on the land, they *saw a charcoal fire already made and fish placed on it, and bread. 10 Jesus *said to them, 'Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.' 11 So Simon Peter went up and hauled the net to land, full of large fish, 153; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.
12 Jesus *said to them, 'Come and have breakfast.' None of the disciples ventured to inquire of Him, 'Who are You?' knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus *came and *took the bread and *gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus revealed Himself to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.
15 Now when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do youlove Me more than these?' He *said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.' He *said to him, 'Tend My lambs.' 16 He *said to him again, a second time, 'Simon, son of John, do youlove Me?' He *said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.' He *said to him, 'Shepherd My sheep.' 17 He *said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of John, do youlove Me?' Peter was hurt because He said to him the third time, 'Do youlove Me?' And he said to Him, 'Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.' Jesus *said to him, 'Tend My sheep.
18 Truly, truly I tell you, when you were younger, you used to put on your belt and walk wherever you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will put your belt on you, and bring you where you do not want to go.' 19 Now He said this, indicating by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had said this, He *said to him, 'Follow Me!'
20 Peter turned around and *saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them—the one who also had leaned back on His chest at the supper and said, 'Lord, who is the one who is betraying You?' 21 So Peter, upon seeing him, *said to Jesus, 'Lord, and what about this man?' 22 Jesus *said to him, 'If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!' 23 Therefore this account went out among the brothers, that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, 'If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?'
24 This is the disciple who is testifying about these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
25 But there are also many other things which Jesus did, which, if they were written in detail, I expect that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.
New Living Translation

1 Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. 2 Several of the disciples were there--Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.
3 Simon Peter said, 'I'm going fishing.' 'We'll come, too,' they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.
4 At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn't see who he was.
5 He called out, 'Fellows, have you caught any fish?' 'No,' they replied.
6 Then he said, 'Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you'll get some!' So they did, and they couldn't haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.
7 Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, 'It's the Lord!' When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. 8 The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. 9 When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them--fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.
10 'Bring some of the fish you've just caught,' Jesus said. 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn't torn.
12 'Now come and have some breakfast!' Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, 'Who are you?' They knew it was the Lord. 13 Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. 14 This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.
15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?' 'Yes, Lord,' Peter replied, 'you know I love you.' 'Then feed my lambs,' Jesus told him.
16 Jesus repeated the question: 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' 'Yes, Lord,' Peter said, 'you know I love you.' 'Then take care of my sheep,' Jesus said.
17 A third time he asked him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, 'Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Then feed my sheep.
18 'I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don't want to go.' 19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, 'Follow me.'
20 Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved--the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, 'Lord, who will betray you?' 21 Peter asked Jesus, 'What about him, Lord?'
22 Jesus replied, 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.' 23 So the rumor spread among the community of believers that this disciple wouldn't die. But that isn't what Jesus said at all. He only said, 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?'
24 This disciple is the one who testifies to these events and has recorded them here. And we know that his account of these things is accurate.
25 Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.
Christian Standard Bible

1 After this, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples by the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way:
2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called "Twin"), Nathanael from Cana of Galilee, Zebedee's sons, and two others of his disciples were together.
3 "I'm going fishing," Simon Peter said to them."We're coming with you," they told him. They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 When daybreak came, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not know it was Jesus.
5 "Friends," Jesus called to them, "you don't have any fish, do you? ""No," they answered.
6 "Cast the net on the right side of the boat," he told them, "and you'll find some." So they did, and they were unable to haul it in because of the large number of fish.
7 The disciple, the one Jesus loved, said to Peter, "It is the Lord! "When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tied his outer clothing around him (for he had taken it off) and plunged into the sea. 8 Since they were not far from land (about a hundred yards away), the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish.
9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. 10 "Bring some of the fish you've just caught," Jesus told them. 11 So Simon Peter climbed up and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish--153 of them. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
12 "Come and have breakfast," Jesus told them. None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you? " because they knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
15 When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these? ""Yes, Lord," he said to him, "you know that I love you.""Feed my lambs," he told him.
16 A second time he asked him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me? ""Yes, Lord," he said to him, "you know that I love you.""Shepherd my sheep," he told him.
17 He asked him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me? "Peter was grieved that he asked him the third time, "Do you love me? " He said, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.""Feed my sheep," Jesus said. 18 "Truly I tell you, when you were younger, you would tie your belt and walk wherever you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will tie you and carry you where you don't want to go." 19 He said this to indicate by what kind of death Peter would glorify God. After saying this, he told him, "Follow me."
20 So Peter turned around and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them, the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and asked, "Lord, who is the one that's going to betray you? " 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about him? "
22 "If I want him to remain until I come," Jesus answered, "what is that to you? As for you, follow me."
23 So this rumor spread to the brothers and sisters that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not tell him that he would not die, but, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? "
24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.
25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which, if every one of them were written down, I suppose not even the world itself could contain the books that would be written.

What does John chapter 21 mean?

When Jesus was first resurrected, He passed along instructions for the disciples to meet Him in Galilee (Matthew 28:5–10). He then appeared to groups of the disciples at least twice (John 20:19, 26). Eventually, the men made their way back to Galilee and are waiting for Jesus there. John refers to the body of water as the "Sea of Tiberias" (John 6:1), reserving the term "Galilee" for the region (John 21:1).

Seven men are in this group, including Peter and John. It's not clear if Peter is bored, simply needs to earn income, or thinks he's meant to return to his former profession. Either way, when he sets out for a night of fishing, these others come along. In a piece of foreshadowing, their efforts fail—they catch nothing (John 21:2–3).

Most of the disciples were fishermen before Jesus called them to ministry. Jesus used a miraculous provision of fish to draw Peter away from his boat to become a "fisher of men" (Luke 5:5–11). Now, in a similar situation, Jesus calls on the men in the boat to cast again, despite having no recent luck. In dim light, and at a distance, they wouldn't be able to clearly hear or see who it is who calls out to them. There's a good chance the men remember the earlier miracle, however. When they instantly fill their net, Peter and John fully realize who is on shore, and Peter dives overboard to swim to the beach (John 21:4–8).

Though John notes the exact number of fish caught in the net, there is no deeper meaning. This detail would have meant something to those familiar with the Sea of Galilee—probably emphasizing the large size of the catch. Now that Jesus has appeared to the disciples several times, any lingering doubts about His resurrection are gone (John 21:9–14).

When Peter bragged that he would be loyal, even when the other disciples failed (Mark 14:29), Jesus responded with a dire prediction (John 13:36–38). Peter would go on to deny even knowing Jesus—three times, and with great emphasis—in the hours before Christ was crucified (John 18:25–27). Jesus seems to remind Peter of his earlier boast, asking if Peter's love for Christ is greater than the love held by the other disciples (John 21:15).

In this conversation, Jesus twice uses the Greek term agapaō when referring to "love," while Peter uses the term phileō. These terms have distinct meanings, but they overlap enough to mean the same thing in this conversation. However, the third time Jesus asks Peter, He uses Peter's precise words. Though Peter has explicitly said he [phileō] loves Jesus, Jesus now asks Peter directly if he [phileō] loves Him. Peter clearly understands the point. This three-times-repeated question echoes his own three-times-repeated denial of Christ. It's also a subtle way of Jesus hinting that just because Peter has said something is no guarantee he'll act accordingly (John 21:16–17).

Jesus called Peter after performing a miracle of providing a catch of fish (Luke 5:5–11). He has once again duplicated that feat (John 21:4–8). Peter denied Jesus three times, and Jesus has made Peter declare his loyalty three times. Jesus now offers both encouragement and a dire prediction. Peter is once again called to follow Jesus. However, Jesus poetically notes that one day Peter will be forcibly "led," with outstretched arms. This is an indirect reference to crucifixion. While a terrible fate, this prophecy also confirms that Peter's faith will never again fail. He will be loyal to Christ, even to the point of death, just as he once bragged (John 13:37). Church tradition indicates that Peter was crucified as a martyr for his faith (John 21:18–19).

Christ's prediction of Peter's death leads Peter to a natural question. John, who only refers to himself indirectly (John 1:37; 13:23; 18:15–16; 19:26) is nearby. Peter naturally wonders what will happen to him. Jesus' response is not harsh, but it is blunt. What happens to John is irrelevant to Peter's faith; Peter simply needs to follow Christ, regardless of God's will for other people. Unfortunately, some believers misinterpret Jesus' remarks. Though He is refusing to make a prediction about John, some assume this means John will live forever—or at least until Jesus returns. John makes a point of repeating Jesus' exact words to show this was not the case (John 21:20–23).

The last verses of the gospel of John act as a signature, or a certification. These words seem to be a combination of John's own writing, the validation of a scribe, and possible the endorsement of a local church. John may have switched from an assistant recording his speech to hand-writing the end of this letter. The reference to "we know that…" confirms that others validated John's message; this might be a note included by those to whom John first gave this writing. John ends his eyewitness account by reminding the reader that no single book could contain every detail of Jesus' earthly ministry (John 21:24–25).