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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(John: Chapter 21)

21:1 {Manifested himself} (ephanerosen heauton). First aorist active indicative of phanero“ with the reflexive pronoun (cf. 7:4; 13:4). For the passive see 1:31; 21:14. Jesus was only seen during the forty days now and then (Ac 1:3), ten instances being recorded. The word phanero“ is often used of Christ on earth (Joh 1:31; 2:11; 1Pe 1:20; 1Jo 1:2), of his works (Joh 3:5), of the second coming (1Jo 2:28), of Christ in glory (Col 3:4; 1Jo 3:2).
{At} (epi). By or upon.
{Of Tiberias} (tˆs Tiberiados). As in 6:1 instead of the usual "Sea of Galilee." Tiberias, the capital city of Galilee, gave this epithet to the Sea of Galilee. This is not the appearance in Galilee prearranged by Jesus (Mr 16:7; Mt 28:7,16).

21:2 {There were together} (ˆsan homou). These seven (Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, the sons of Zebedee, and two others). We know that the sons of Zebedee were James and John (Mt 4:21), mentioned by name nowhere in John's Gospel, apparently because John is the author. We do not know who the "two others of his disciples" were, possibly Andrew and Philip. It seems to me to be crass criticism in spite of Harnack and Bernard to identify the incident here with that in Lu 5:1-11. There are a few points of similarity, but the differences are too great for such identification even with a hypothetical common source.

21:3 {I go a fishing} (hupag“ halieuein). The present active infinitive halieuein expresses purpose as often. It is a late verb from halieus (fisherman) and occurs in Jer 16:16, in Philo, Plutarch, and one papyrus. Peter's proposal was a natural one. He had been a fisherman by practice and they were probably waiting in Galilee for the appointed meeting with Christ on the mountain. Andrew and Peter, James and John were fishermen also. Peter's proposition met a ready response from all.
{They took} (epiasan). First aorist active indicative of piaz“, Doric form for piez“, to catch.

21:4 {When day was now breaking} (pr“ias ˆdˆ ginomenˆs). Genitive absolute and note present middle participle (dawn coming on and still dark). In Mt 27:1 the aorist participle (genomenˆs) means that dawn had come. For "beach" (aigialon) see Mt 13:2.
{Was} (estin). Present indicative retained in indirect assertion.

21:5 {Children} (Paidia). Diminutive of pais and used here alone by Jesus in addressing his disciples. It is a colloquial expression like "my boys." The aged Apostle John uses it in 1Jo 2:13,18.
{Have ye aught to eat?} (mˆ ti prosphagion echete;). The negative answer is expected by this polite inquiry as in 4:29. The rare and late word prosphagion from the root phag (esthi“, to eat) and pros (in addition) was used for a relish with bread and then for fish as here. So in the papyri. Nowhere else in the N.T.

21:6 {The right side} (eis ta dexia merˆ). Jesus knew where the fish were. For "net" (diktuon) see Mt 4:20, here alone in John.
{Were now not able to draw it} (ouketi auto helkusai ischuon). Imperfect active picturing the disciples tugging at the net.

21:7 {It is the Lord} (ho kurios estin). John's quick insight appears again.
{Girt his coat about him} (ton ependutˆn diez“sato). First aorist middle (indirect) indicative with which note diez“sen heauton in 13:4. Apparently Peter threw on the upper garment or linen blouse (ependutˆn) worn by fishers over his waistcloth and tucked it under his girdle.

21:8 {In the little boat} (t“i ploiari“i). Locative case of ploiarion (diminutive) for the larger boat (ploion, verses 3,6) could come no closer to shore. But the words seem interchangeable in 6:17,19,21,22,24.
{About two hundred cubits off} (h“s apo pˆch“n diakosi“n). For pˆchus, cubit, see Mt 6:27 and for h“s apo see 11:18.
{Dragging} (surontes). Present active participle of sur“ for which see Ac 8:3.

21:9 {Got out} (apebˆsan). As in Lu 5:2.
{They see} (blepousin). Vivid historical present.
{A fire of coals} (anthrakian). See 18:18 for this word. Cf. our "anthracite." {There} (keimenˆn). Lying as placed, present middle participle of keimai.
{Fish} (opsarion). As in 6:9,11, like prosphagion above.
{Laid thereon} (epikeimenon). So broiling with bread ready (toast).

21:10 {Which} (h“n). Ablative case by attraction from ha to agree with opsari“n. They had caught the fish by Christ's direction.

21:11 {Went up} (anebˆ). Into the little boat or dinghy.
{Drew} (heilkusen). Same verb as helkusai in verse 6. Peter now did what they had failed to do.
{Three} (tri“n). The addition "three" to the "hundred and fifty" looks as if they were actually counted these "large" (megal“n) fish. It was a great fish story that John recalls vividly.
{Was not rent} (ouk eschisthˆ). First aorist passive indicative of schiz“, to split (our word "schism").

21:12 {Break your fast} (aristˆsate). First aorist active imperative of arista“ from ariston, first to breakfast, as here and then later to dine as in Lu 11:37. What a delightful breakfast of fresh broiled fish just caught (verse 10) with the hush of joyful surprise in the presence of the Risen Lord. {Durst} (etolma) Imperfect active of tolma“. The restraint of silence continued.

21:13 {Taketh the bread, and giveth them} (lambanei ton arton kai did“sin autois). Vivid presents again. Jesus acts as host at this early breakfast, his last meal with these seven faithful followers.

21:14 {Now the third time} (to ˆdˆ triton). "To the disciples" (apostles) John says, the two others being told by him (20:19,26) on the two Sunday evenings. There were four other appearances already (to Mary Magdalene, to the group of women, to the two on the way to Emmaus, to Peter).

21:15 {Lovest thou me more than these?} (agapƒis me pleon tout“n;). Ablative case of comparison tout“n (disciples) after pleon. Peter had even boasted that he would stand by Christ though all men forsook him (Mr 14:29). We do not know what passed between Jesus and Peter when Jesus first appeared to him (Lu 24:34). But here Christ probes the inmost recesses of Peter's heart to secure the humility necessary for service.
{I love thee} (phil“ su). Peter makes no claim here to superior love and passes by the "more than these" and does not even use Christ's word agapa“ for high and devoted love, but the humbler word phile“ for love as a friend. He insists that Christ knows this in spite of his conduct.
{Feed my lambs} (Boske ta arnia mou). For the old word bosk“ (to feed as a herdsman) see Mt 8:33. Present active imperative here. Arnia is a diminutive of arnos (lamb).

21:16 {Lovest thou me?} (agapƒis me;). This time Jesus drops the pleon tout“n and challenges Peter's own statement. Peter repeats the same words in reply.
{Tend my sheep} (poimaine ta probatia). Present active imperative of poimain“, old verb from poimˆn (shepherd), "shepherd my lambs" (probatia, diminutive of probaton, sheep).

21:17 {Lovest thou me?} (phileis me;). This time Jesus picks up the word phile“ used by Peter and challenges that. These two words are often interchanged in the N.T., but here the distinction is preserved. Peter was cut to the heart (elupˆthˆ, first aorist passive of lupe“, to grieve) because Jesus challenges this very verb, and no doubt the third question vividly reminds him of the three denials in the early morning by the fire. He repeats his love for Jesus with the plea: "Thou knowest all things."
{Feed my sheep} (boske ta probatia). Many MSS. both here and in verse 16 read probata (sheep) instead of probatia (little sheep or lambs).

21:18 {Thou girdest thyself} (ez“nnues seauton). Imperfect active of customary action of z“nnu“, old verb, in N.T. only here and Ac 12:8. So as to periepateis (walkedst) and ˆtheles (wouldest), two other imperfects of customary action. {When thou shalt be old} (hotan gˆrasˆis). Indefinite temporal clause with hotan and the first aorist active subjunctive of gˆrask“, old verb to grow old, in N.T. only here and Heb 8:13, "whenever thou growest old."

21:19 {By what manner of death} (poi“i thanat“i). Undoubtedly John, who is writing long after Peter's death, seems to mean that Peter was to die (and did die) a martyr's death. "Whither thou wouldest not." There is a tradition that Peter met death by crucifixion and asked to be crucified head downwards, but that is not made plain here.

21:20 {Turning about} (epistrapheis). Second aorist passive participle of epistreph“, old verb, here a sudden turning round (ingressive aorist). For the simplex verb streph“ see 20:14,16.
{Following} (akolouthounta). Following both Jesus and Peter, perhaps having heard the graphic dialogue above.

21:21 {And what shall this man do?} (houtos de ti;). Literally, "But this one ... what?" The abrupt ellipsis is intelligible.

21:22 {If I will} (ean thel“). Condition of the third class with ean and the present active subjunctive of thel“.
{Till I come} (he“s erchomai). Literally, "while I am coming" (he“s and the present indicative, not he“s elth“ (second aorist active subjunctive).
{What is that to thee?} (ti pros se;). A sharp rebuke to Peter's keen curiosity.
{Follow thou me} (su moi akolouthei). "Do thou me keep on following." That lesson Peter needed.

21:23 {That that disciple should not die} (hoti ho mathˆtˆs ekeinos ouk apothnˆskei) (present active indicative), because Peter or others misunderstood what Jesus meant as John now carefully explains. He was rebuking Peter's curiosity, not affirming that John would live on till the Master returned. John is anxious to set this matter right.

21:24 {That is} (houtos estin). The one just mentioned in verse 20, "the disciple whom Jesus loved."
{And wrote these things} (kai ho grapsas tauta). Here there is a definite statement that the Beloved Disciple wrote this book.
{We know} (oidamen). The plural here seems intentional as the identification and endorsement of a group of disciples who know the author and wish to vouch for his identity and for the truthfulness of his witness. Probably we see here a verse added by a group of elders in Ephesus where John had long laboured.

21:25 {If they should be written every one} (ean graphˆtai kath' hen). Condition of the third class with ean and present passive subjunctive of graph“, "If they should be written one by one" (in full detail).
{I suppose} (oimai). Note change back to the first person singular by the author.
{Would not contain} (oud' auton ton kosmon ch“rˆsein). Future active infinitive in indirect discourse after oimai. This is, of course, natural hyperbole, but graphically pictures for us the vastness of the work and words of Jesus from which the author has made a small selection (20:30f.) and by which he has produced what is, all things considered, the greatest of all the books produced by man, the eternal gospel from the eagle who soars to the very heavens and gives us a glimpse of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(John: Chapter 21)

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