Yohanan Jewish New Testament and comments of David H. Stern

chapter 21
1. After this, Yeshua appeared again to the talmidim at Lake Tiberias. 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.
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 (v. 11); compare Lk 5:3-7. 

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.
7. The talmid Yeshua loved 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.
9. When they stepped ashore, they saw a fire of burning coals with a fish on it, and some bread.
10. Yeshua said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
11. Shim‘on Kefa went up and dragged the net ashore. It was full of fish, 153 of them; but even with so many, the net wasn’t torn.
12. Yeshua said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the talmidim dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
13. Yeshua came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.
14. This was now the third time Yeshua had appeared to the talmidim after being raised from the dead.
15. After breakfast, Yeshua said to Shim‘on Kefa, “Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan, do you love me more than these?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I’m your friend.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
The Synoptics had mentioned that Yeshua would appear to the talmidim in the Galil (Mt 28:7, 10; Mk 16:7), and Mt 28:16-20 reports one such appearance. Here Yochanan describes another, earlier appearance. 

16. A second time he said to him, “Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan, do you love me?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I’m your friend.” He said to him, “Shepherd my sheep.”
17. The third time he said to him, “Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan, are you my friend?” Shim‘on was hurt that he questioned him a third time: “Are you my friend?” So he replied, “Lord, you know everything! You know I’m your friend!” Yeshua said to him, “Feed my sheep!
Two Greek verbs with related meanings are used in this passage. Greek agapao is selfless, self-giving love, the kind of love God has for his human creations; "phileo" is the love friends or brothers have for each other (Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love). Scholars are divided on the degree to which the use of these two different words for "love" affects the sense of this exchange between Yeshua and Kefa. The exchange goes like this: "Do you agapao me?" "I phileo you." "Feed my lambs. Do you agapao me?" "I phileo you." "Shepherd my sheep. Do you phileo me?" "You know I phileo you." "Feed my sheep." Some translators use "love" throughout, believing the two words are used only for variety.
The books of Acts, 1 Kefa and 2 Kefa demonstrate that Kefa more than rose to the occasion and fulfilled Yeshua's calling. 

18. Yes, indeed! I tell you, when you were younger, you put on your clothes and went where you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”
19. He said this to indicate the kind of death by which Kefa would bring glory to God. Then Yeshua said to him, “Follow me!”
The kind of death by which Kefa would glorify God. Tradition has it that he was crucified upside-down, because he said he was unworthy to be crucified in the same position as his Lord. He is believed to have died in Rome in the mid-60's C.E. 

20. Kefa turned and saw the talmid Yeshua especially loved following behind, the one who had leaned against him at the supper and had asked, “Who is the one who is betraying you?”
The talmid Yeshua especially loved, Yochanan. See 13:23,19:26-27&N. 

21. On seeing him, Kefa said to Yeshua, “Lord, what about him?”
22. Yeshua said to him, “If I want him to stay on until I come, what is it to you? You, follow me!”
Yeshua rules out curiosity about matters that do not concern us or help us live a holy life, although he does not rule out scientific inquiry into how the world works. Likewise he excludes unhealthy, jealous competition concerned with comparing our lives, tasks, gifts, accomplishments, interests and calling with those of others. In both matters Yeshua's central point is: You, follow me! 

23. Therefore the word spread among the brothers that that talmid would not die. However, Yeshua didn’t say he wouldn’t die, but simply, “If I want him to stay on until I come, what is it to you?”
24. This one is the talmid who is testifying about these things and who has recorded them. And we know that his testimony is true.
25. But there are also many other things Yeshua did; and if they were all to be recorded, I don’t think the whole world could contain the books that would have to be written!
Many other things Yeshua did. For the purpose given in 20:31 a complete biography of Yeshua is not needed, yet this has not prevented wild speculation about his "silent years"; see Lk 2;52N. But a full biography would suffocate the earth. As Buckminster Fuller used to say, "Less is more." 

return to contents