Sunday July 14, 2024 a.d.Epep 7, 1740 a.m.

The appearance at the sea of Tiberias

The location: The sea of Tiberias

The sea of Tiberias is the Sea of Galilee, or the sea of Gennesaret (= The paradise of joy)... St. John called the Sea of Galilee after the city of Tiberias, which is a new city on the Sea of Galilee, as a capital of the region; it was a great, but lustful city; which Herod had built to himself when he was tetrarch of Galilee.

The time

St. John did not mention when the disciples returned from Jerusalem to Galilee as the Lord commanded them after His resurrection... but he said "After that" to connect between the appearances of Christ in Jerusalem right after His resurrection and this appearance in Galilee.

The witnesses of the appearance

They were seven disciples... five of them were known, and were among the twelve. St. John mentioned Peter with Thomas first, and then he mentioned himself and his brother in a way that shows self-denial "the sons of Zebedee", at the end of the list after Nathanael.

The event

A fishing journey called for by St. Peter, in which they tried the whole night, but did not catch anything.

In the morning, near the shore, the Lord appeared to them and said, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat."

They cast the net and caught a 153 big fishes.

The net was not broken despite the multitude of fish, but they dragged it to the shore.

Jesus took bread and gave them, and gave them from the fish that they had caught. They also saw a fire of coal there.

The symbols in this event

"Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples". It is clear from this expression that the spiritual body, after resurrection, is beyond human senses, so it cannot be seen with the eye... but Christ made His body visible. Despite that, it was not easy for them to recognize Him, but it required from them a spiritual insight... "Their eyes were restrained", or like Mary Magdalene who saw Him with the eye and thought He was the gardener, and then the Master, but after she had the insight, she realized He was the Lord, "...she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her" (John 20:18)

The purpose of these appearances was to strengthen their faith that He conquered death with the same body that He had before His death, so that He may open the way for immortality and eternal life for humans, by giving the power of His resurrection to those who believe in Him and love Him, "he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." (John 14:21)

"That night they caught nothing" according to the traditions of fishing, night time is better for fishing... but St. John wanted to show that the night represented the night of faith, and the darkness of the soul that results from the absence of Christ the Sun of Righteousness and the light of the world.

The absence of Christ is the absence of fish "ICQUS"

Spending the night without catching anything was not a normal thing, but by the spiritual meaning it was normal and expected.

"When the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore" it was an encounter between the disciples, the night, the sea, the hunger, and the empty nets on one hand, and the Lord, the light, the shore and the fire where there is the fulfillment and joy on the other hand.

As soon as the night in their hearts was over, the sun arose, but darkness still engulfed their thoughts... So, they saw Jesus but did not recognize Him. They were sad for the fish they did not catch, like Jonah was sad for his plant. (Jonah 4:9)... which shows the danger of attachment to material things and earthly joys.

"When the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore" St. John describes Christ when He is standing on the shore where there is security, and He is waiting for His children who are returning from the sea of this world, tired from the effort and failure... as sadness on lost material joys makes us loose our spiritual insight. As long as we depend on our strength or wealth or experience we will fail and get tired... but we should take off the works of the darkness and wear the armor of light so that we may become the children of light as we do not have darkness in us.

"Let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light." (Rom 13:12)

"Then Jesus said to them, Children have you any food? They answered Him No" In the original Greek the question is negated, "Don't you have any food?" which is a question from the One who knows everything, and that they don't have anything to eat.... Which shows their poverty. And the question of the Lord is to help them see their need for Him, and as an indication of what He is planning to do for them, as He is the kind Father who does not bare the poverty of His children, or their suffering, but He prepares for them all their needs, the spiritual before the material... It is like what happened with the prodigal son, he wanted to eat the pods that the swine ate, while at the same time, his father was fattening a calf to celebrate on the day of his return.

"And He said to them: Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some."

The net is a symbol to the cal for the heavenly kingdom, "The kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind." (Matt 13:47)

The right side in the bible symbolizes the honored and beloved side, it is the place of power and majesty, it is the place of the accepted and elect. (see also, Matt. 25:33; Lu. 1:11; Ps. 20:6)

As if the disciple put all their effort on the left side, which means that it was an effort against the truth, and without the grace of God.

Also, the left side is the Jewish faith, which according to the law was surrounded by sin... But Christ, with His death, moved us to the right side, which is the faith in the Son of God, to be worthy for the Grace of God.

From that we understand that the command of Christ to His disciples to cast the net on the right side symbolizes to preaching the name of Jesus Christ, where the net is the net of the Holy Spirit that is cast over the world, and the ship is the church which was given to reach the shore of eternity after she crossed the night of the law without catching anything.

"So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish", so for example after the first sermon of St. Peter on the Pentecost, he caught a multitude of fish, "Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them." (Acts 2:41)

The net is still cast since that day, now one was able to draw it, as no one is able to because of the multitude of fish that is in it. No one will draw it except the angles of God from the four corners of the earth, when the Lord comes, and we see Him on the shore, and those who love Him will recognize Him. And no one will go out of the net except those who are not worthy. (The net caught only the big fishes)

"Therefore, that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, It is the Lord." St. John Had this insight, and that faith. We saw that when he visited the empty tomb "he saw and believed" (John 20:8)... How not when he is the disciple with the loving heart, and God shows Himself for those who love Him, "He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him" (John 14:21).

He was the only one who recognized the Lord... that's why we find him covered by the spirit and grace, while in the same place and at the same time, we find that Peter was without his garment.

"When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment for he had removed it, and plunged into the sea" This behavior is contrary to the normal, it would be expected that he will take off his garment and then plunge into the sea, not the opposite; but this shows that he saw himself naked before He who sees the hidden thoughts and hearts... even though he cried bitterly after he denied Jesus, but he had not heard yet a word from the Lord that will calm his soul and heart... as if it was now his chance, so he plunged into the unknown and swam to the shore, covered with a garment, to meet the Lord on the shore.

He shows to us the soul that swims out of the sea of the world, swimming to her creator to meet Him on the shore of the eternal life.

The other disciples came with the ship; for they were not far from land... they were dragging the net with the fish. It is the church that surrounds those who were saved whom she rescued from the depths of the sea of the world, she drags them by the teachings and the service, and they are held in the net of the Holy Spirit, while the disciples, and the servants with all their ranks work to take the ship to the shore of the eternal life.

"Then as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coal there, and fish laid on it, and bread", it is the meal that the Lord prepared for those who reach the shore, it is a symbol to the heavenly table prepared for the victorious, "and I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom." (Lu. 22:29-30)

The Lord prepared for them a meal on the fire of His love... giving the fish as the food of faith "Ikthos", and the bread as a symbol for the Eucharist, the bread of life... They did not catch this fish by their own skills, but He gathered it for them in their net.

By comparing between Luke 5:4-7 and John 21:3-11 we find the elements and their symbols which are also in Matthew 13:47-49, but Luke shows the state of the church in the current time, while John shows the state of the church when it reaches the eternal life.

Luke 5:4-7John 21:3-11
The ship did not leave the sea = the church in the current timeThe ship went to the shore = The church reached eternal life
Jesus did not leave the ship = He is currently leading the churchJesus on the shore = He is receiving the saved
The fish does not leave the ship = The faithful in their current struggle in the worldThe fish was brought to the shore = The victorious are presented to Christ
The ship was struggling in the sea = The struggles of the church in the worldThe ship reached the shore safely = The victorious church reached eternal life
The nets getting broken = The struggle of preachingThe nets were not broken = The grace of the heavenly kingdom
The fish was not assorted = The faithful under the testAll the fishes are big and they are counted = The saved are known and counted

153 big fishes which is the sum of all the numbers from 1 to 17, to represent the complete divine work through the preaching in the world (3+4+10) and it also represent the life of prayer represented by the psalms and the prophesies it contains about the Holy Trinity.

"Come and eat breakfast" Christ is the source of satiation everywhere, as he fed the multitude with the fish and bread in two miracles, here also on the shore He receives those who come to Him with bread and fish, they came to Him tired from the long night of this world, and the weariness of failure in the fishing times that they went through in their life... this is another symbol to the Eucharist... the bread is the communion of His body, and the fish is a symbol to life that carries the name "Jesus Christ Son of God, The Savior".

It is a symbolic picture to the future of the apostolic church... The gospel of John did not end with the appearances of the Lord to His disciples, but it had to end with Jesus sending the disciples to preach to the world and to all nations, as was mentioned in the other three gospels... It is the preaching with the joyful message that should be delivered with the blessing of Christ, and with the promise of His support, and even with His presence all the time... we can see all of that from this appearance.