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OUR LORD APPEARS TO PETER AND OTHER DISCI. PLES, AT THE SEA OF TIBERIAS.
From John, Chap. xxi.
AFTER these things, JESUS shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias: and on this wise shewed he himself:
There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disci ples.
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.
But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was JESUS.
Then JESUS saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.
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.
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 intothe sea.
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.
As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
JESUS saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.
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.
JESUS saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the LORD.
JESUS then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.
This is now the third time that JESUS shewed himself to his disciples after that he was risen from the dead.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
When all the Apostles had received thorough con. viction of the resurrection of JESUS, so that not a scruple remained on their minds, they left Jerusalem in order to go into Galilee, where he had appointed to meet them.
Simon Peter, Thomas, and the others who are men. tioned in this section, seem to have arrived there before the rest.
From this part of our LORD's history, we may derive much useful instruction. In the first place we may observe, that on this occasion he appeared to his disciples when they were engaged in their worldly business, that he did not interrupt them, but through his divine power gave them miraculous assistance. From hence we are
taught to expect a divine blessing on our honest industry in the different occupations of life; for what was done for the Apostles in a miraculous way, will be done for every sincere Christian in the usual course of Providence, as far as may be conducive to his eternal happi
We may next remark, that the disciples, though they went a fishing at the proper hour, toiled and fatigued themselves to no purpose; but whilst they were doing so, their LORD provided a repast, and also at length> crowned their labours with success.
It frequently happens in common life, that men are perplexed and disappointed, notwithstanding their utmost prudence, diligence, and skill, are exerted; and that when they have no prospect of success left, an unexpected turn of fortune throws into their laps, as it were, greater advantages than those they missed. The incident we are now considering, teaches us to attribute these happy vissicitudes, not to blind chance, but an overruling Providence. Our heavenly FATHER knoweth not only of what we do stand in need, but what we shall want; he also knoweth what we shall deserve from his hands, and the proper time to bestow it. Sometimes he gives wings to his blessings, that they may meet us even while we are performing the duty they are intended to reward; and sometimes he delays them, that our patience may be exercised, and that we may be. the more sensible of his divine bounty.
Our LORD's appearance to his disciples was very seasonable, and verified the Psalmist's expression,. " beavi ness may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning,” This circumstance teaches us to hope in the midst of disappointment.
Our LORD was taken by his disciples for a stranger, and discovered himself gradually; from hence we learn,
that our SAVIOUR may be nearer to us than we imagine, and preparing comfort for us when we think ourselves forgotten by him. He asked them if they had any meat, to encourage them to make their wants known to him; and prepared refreshment for them, to shew his compassion: thus instrueting his followers to seek out modest want, and relieve it to the utmost of their ability.
Skilled as the Apostles were in fishing, they doubtless cast the net in the most likely place to catch fish. By directing them to remove it to a particular spot, our LORD shewed, that not even the inhabitants of the water were hidden from his sight; and that he was, raised in power as the LORD; and also, that he has a regard to the temporal wants of his people; and that divine Providence extends to the minutest circumstances. By the success of the Apostles' obedience we are taught, that we may expect a blessing, if we make the word of Our SAVIOUR the rule of our actions.
OUR LORD'S DISCOURSE WITH PETER.
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.
He saith unto him again the second time, Simon sen of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, LORD; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
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.
Verily, verily I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkest whither thou would est: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
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?)
Peter seeing him, saith to JESUS, LORD, and what shall this man do?
JESUS saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.
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?
This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
When the Apostles had made a plentiful meal on the provisions with which our LORD had so seasonably supplied them, he addressed himself to Simon Peter; and