What does John 21:1 mean?
ESV: After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way.
NIV: Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way:
NASB: After these things Jesus revealed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He revealed Himself in this way:
CSB: After this, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples by the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way:
NLT: Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened.
KJV: After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.
Verse Commentary:
To this point, the resurrected Jesus has made at least three specific appearances to a group of disciples (John 20:19, 26). In another encounter, with women at His tomb (Matthew 28:9–10), Jesus passed along instructions for the disciples to meet Him in Galilee. John typically uses the term "Galilee" to refer to the region, and the name "Sea of Tiberias" for the water (John 6:1).

Peter is one of seven disciples in a group who will go out fishing (John 21:2–3). As they are waiting for Christ to arrive, their trip is either out of boredom, or normal work to earn money. Their lack of success, in a sense, reaffirms that their days of catching fish are over (John 21:3). Jesus called them to be fishers of men, instead (Matthew 4:19; John 21:4).
Verse Context:
John 21:1–14 begins by describing another encounter between the disciples and Jesus, after His resurrection. Seven of them have an unsuccessful night fishing; this is possibly a sign that their calling is to be evangelists, not anglers. A figure on the beach tells them to cast their net to the other side of the boat, resulting in a massive catch. John realizes the man is Jesus, and Peter dives overboard to swim to shore. There, the other disciples arrive to find a breakfast of bread and fish waiting for them, along with Jesus.
Chapter Summary:
After Jesus' resurrection, a group of disciples goes fishing while they wait in Galilee. From a distance, a figure appears and tells the men to cast again. Despite a fruitless night, they obey, and the net is immediately overflowing with fish. This confirms that the man on the shore is Jesus. As the disciples eat a meal with Christ, He presses Peter to reaffirm His faith. Jesus then predicts the nature of Peter's death; He does not do so for John. The gospel of John ends with an affirmation of its source, and a reminder that no single book could contain every detail of Jesus' ministry.
Chapter Context:
The final chapter of the gospel of John evokes the recent trend of a "post-credits scene" from films. After the main story has been told, John includes one last scene to further add details about what is to come. After Jesus' resurrection and appearances, He meets with the disciples near Galilee. A major outcome of this meeting is Peter's restoration to his former status. No finite work could fully explain Jesus' ministry, so John's eyewitness account is only part of those truths.
Book Summary:
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls “signs”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
Accessed 4/16/2024 1:11:56 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.