John 21

* Christ appears to his disciples. (1-14) His discourse with

Peter. (15-19) Christ's declaration concerning John. (20-24) The

conclusion. (25)

1-14 Christ makes himself known to his people, usually in his

ordinances; but sometimes by his Spirit he visits them when

employed in their business. It is good for the disciples of

Christ to be together in common conversation, and common

business. The hour for their entering upon action was not come.

They would help to maintain themselves, and not be burdensome to

any. Christ's time of making himself known to his people, is

when they are most at a loss. He knows the temporal wants of his

people, and has promised them not only grace sufficient, but

food convenient. Divine Providence extends itself to things most

minute, and those are happy who acknowledge God in all their

ways. Those who are humble, diligent, and patient, though their

labours may be crossed, shall be crowned; they sometimes live to

see their affairs take a happy turn, after many struggles. And

there is nothing lost by observing Christ's orders; it is

casting the net on the right side of the ship. Jesus manifests

himself to his people by doing that for them which none else can

do, and things which they looked not for. He would take care

that those who left all for him, should not want any good thing.

And latter favours are to bring to mind former favours, that

eaten bread may not be forgotten. He whom Jesus loved was the

first that said, It is the Lord. John had cleaved most closely

to his Master in his sufferings, and knew him soonest. Peter was

the most zealous, and reached Christ the first. How variously

God dispenses his gifts, and what difference there may be

between some believers and others in the way of their honouring

Christ, yet they all may be accepted of him! Others continue in

the ship, drag the net, and bring the fish to shore, and such

persons ought not to be blamed as worldly; for they, in their

places, are as truly serving Christ as the others. The Lord

Jesus had provision ready for them. We need not be curious in

inquiring whence this came; but we may be comforted at Christ's

care for his disciples. Although there were so many, and such

great fishes, yet they lost none, nor damaged their net. The net

of the gospel has enclosed multitudes, yet it is as strong as

ever to bring souls to God.
15-19 Our Lord addressed Peter by his original name, as if he

had forfeited that of Peter through his denying him. He now

answered, Thou knowest that I love thee; but without professing

to love Jesus more than others. We must not be surprised to have

our sincerity called into question, when we ourselves have done

that which makes it doubtful. Every remembrance of past sins,

even pardoned sins, renews the sorrow of a true penitent.

Conscious of integrity, Peter solemnly appealed to Christ, as

knowing all things, even the secrets of his heart. It is well

when our falls and mistakes make us more humble and watchful.

The sincerity of our love to God must be brought to the test;

and it behoves us to inquire with earnest, preserving prayer to

the heart-searching God, to examine and prove us, whether we are

able to stand this test. No one can be qualified to feed the

sheep and lambs of Christ, who does not love the good Shepherd

more than any earthly advantage or object. It is the great

concern of every good man, whatever death he dies, to glorify

God in it; for what is our chief end but this, to die to the

Lord, at the word of the Lord?
20-24 Sufferings, pains, and death, will appear formidable even

to the experienced Christian; but in the hope to glorify God, to

leave a sinful world, and to be present with his Lord, he

becomes ready to obey the Redeemer's call, and to follow Him

through death to glory. It is the will of Christ that his

disciples should mind their own duty, and not be curious about

future events, either as to themselves or others. Many things we

are apt to be anxious about, which are nothing to us. Other

people's affairs are nothing to us, to intermeddle in; we must

quietly work, and mind our own business. Many curious questions

are put about the counsels of God, and the state of the unseen

world, as to which we may say, What is this to us? And if we

attend to the duty of following Christ, we shall find neither

heart nor time to meddle with that which does not belong to us.

How little are any unwritten traditions to be relied upon! Let

the Scripture be its own interpreter, and explain itself; as it

is, in a great measure, its own evidence, and proves itself, for

it is light. See the easy setting right such mistakes by the

word of Christ. Scripture language is the safest channel for

Scripture truth; the words which the Holy Ghost teaches, #1Co

2:13|. Those who cannot agree in the same terms of art, and the

application of them, may yet agree in the same Scripture terms,

and to love one another.
25 Only a small part of the actions of Jesus had been written.

But let us bless God for all that is in the Scriptures, and be

thankful that there is so much in so small a space. Enough is

recorded to direct our faith, and regulate our practice; more

would have been unnecessary. Much of what is written is

overlooked, much forgotten, and much made the matter of doubtful

disputes. We may, however, look forward to the joy we shall

receive in heaven, from a more complete knowledge of all Jesus

did and said, as well as of the conduct of his providence and

grace in his dealings with each of us. May this be our

happiness. These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is

the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have

life through his name, ch. #20:31|.
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