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John 21 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Jesus Appears at Lake Galilee

21 Later, Jesus appeared once again to a group of his disciples by Lake Galilee.[a] It happened one day while Peter, Thomas (the Twin), Nathanael (from Cana in Galilee), Jacob, John,[b] and two other disciples were all together. Peter told them, “I’m going fishing.” And they all replied, “We’ll go with you.”[c] So they went out and fished through the night, but caught nothing.

Then at dawn, Jesus was standing there on the shore, but the disciples didn’t realize that it was him! He called out to them, saying, “Hey guys! Did you catch any fish?”[d]

“Not a thing,” they replied.

Jesus shouted to them, “Throw your net over the starboard side, and you’ll catch some!” And so they did as he said, and they caught so many fish they couldn’t even pull in the net!

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!”[e] When Peter heard him say that, he quickly wrapped his outer garment around him, and because he was athletic,[f] he dove right into the lake to go to Jesus! The other disciples then brought the boat to shore, dragging their catch of fish. They weren’t far from land, only about a hundred meters. And when they got to shore, they noticed a charcoal fire with some roasted fish and bread.[g] 10 Then Jesus said, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”

11 So Peter waded into the water and helped pull the net to shore. It was full of many large fish, exactly one hundred and fifty-three,[h] but even with so many fish, the net was not torn.

12 “Come, let’s have some breakfast,” Jesus said to them.

And not one of the disciples needed to ask who it was, because every one of them knew it was the Lord. 13 Then Jesus came close to them and served them the bread and the fish. 14 This was the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection.

Jesus Restores Peter

15 After they had breakfast, Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, son of John,[i] do you burn with love[j] for me more than these?”[k]

Peter answered, “Yes, Lord! You know that I have great affection for you!”

“Then take care of my lambs,”[l] Jesus said.

16 Jesus repeated his question the second time, “Simon, son of John, do you burn with love for me?”

Peter answered, “Yes, my Lord! You know that I have great affection for you!”

“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.

17 Then Jesus asked him again, “Peter, son of John, do you have great affection for me?”

Peter was saddened by being asked the third time[m] and said, “My Lord, you know everything. You know that I burn with love for you!”

Jesus replied, “Then feed my lambs! 18 Peter, listen, when you were younger you made your own choices[n]and you went where you pleased. But one day when you are old,[o] others will tie you up and escort you where you would not choose to go—and you will spread out your arms.”[p] 19 (Jesus said this to Peter as a prophecy of what kind of death he would die, for the glory of God.) And then he said, “Peter, follow me!”

20 Then Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the disciple who sat close to Jesus at the Last Supper and had asked him, “Lord, who is the one that will betray you?”) 21 So when Peter saw him, he asked Jesus, “What’s going to happen to him?”

22 Jesus replied, “If I decide to let him live until I return, what concern is that of yours? You must still keep on following me!”

23 So the rumor started to circulate among the believers that this disciple wasn’t going to die. But Jesus never said that, he only said, “If I let him live until I return, what concern is that of yours?”


24 I, John,[q] am that disciple who has written these things to testify of the truth, and we[r] know that what I’ve documented is accurate. 25 Jesus did countless things that I haven’t included here. And if every one of his works were written down and described one by one,[s] I suppose that the world itself wouldn’t have enough room to contain the books that would have to be written![t]


  1. John 21:1 Or “the Sea of Tiberias.”
  2. John 21:2 Or in place of Jacob (James) and John, “the sons of Zebedee.”
  3. John 21:3 According to Luke 24:49, the disciples were told to wait in Jerusalem for the day they would be clothed with power. These seven apostles were not following what they had been told, and for this reason they caught nothing until Jesus joined them. He became the eighth man.
  4. John 21:5 Or “Have you caught anything to eat?”
  5. John 21:7 It was John, the one whom Jesus loved, that recognized the voice of Jesus. Perhaps it was Peter’s discouragement that prevented him from recognizing the voice of the Master. Peter’s name was Simon (Hb. Simeon), which means “he who hears.” Our hearing his voice is hindered when we are confused and filled with doubts.
  6. John 21:7 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is literally “because he was naked.” This is very strange and most expositors make quite a case for this not being the case, in spite of the Greek saying he was, indeed, naked. The problem is solved by the Aramaic, which says, “because Peter was athletic, he dove into the water.” There is no mention of being “naked” in the Aramaic.
  7. John 21:9 It was while standing next to a fire that Peter denied Christ; now standing next to a fire, Jesus will restore his beloved friend.
  8. John 21:11 This speaks of the great redemption of Christ for all nations and all people. One hundred and fifty-three large fish points to a mighty harvest from among the people groups of the world. This great catch of fish begins the process of inner healing for Peter and the guilt of his denial of Christ. Peter began to follow Jesus because of a great catch of fish (Luke 5:2-10), so Jesus now repeats that miracle, inviting Peter to begin to follow him again.
  9. John 21:15 The Aramaic is “son of the dove.” See also vv. 16, 17.
  10. John 21:15 The Aramaic word for “love” is hooba, and is taken from a root word that means “to set on fire.” This was the word Jesus would have used to ask Peter, “Do you burn with love for me?” Our love for Jesus must be passionate and kindle a holy flame within our hearts. See Song. 8:6-7.
  11. John 21:15 As often is the case, Jesus’ words have more than one meaning. “These” can refer to the fish they had just caught, for Peter was a fisherman and loved to fish. He may have been counting and sorting the fish when Jesus asked him that question. But “these” most likely refers to the other disciples. It was Peter’s boast that he loved Jesus more than the others, and though everyone else would leave him, Peter never would. That boast proved empty, as within hours of making the claim, Peter denied he even knew Jesus three times. So Jesus asks Peter three times if he loved him. In essence, Jesus knew how to bring healing to Peter and remove the pain of his denial. Three times Peter denied Jesus, but three times he makes his confession of his deep love for Christ. By the third time, the “crowing rooster” inside Peter had been silenced, and now he was ready to be a shepherd for Jesus’ flock.
  12. John 21:15 The Aramaic is “feed my rams” (male lambs). This may refer to the other disciples. In v. 16 the Aramaic is simply “sheep.” And in v. 17 in Aramaic, Jesus uses the third term, “ewes” (female lambs). Some see in these that Peter was symbolically given charge of three flocks: Jews, Samaritans, and gentiles. Regardless, men and women need to be cared for and fed by the leadership of Christ’s church among the nations.
  13. John 21:17 Three times Peter denied Christ, so Jesus gave him three opportunities to redeem himself.
  14. John 21:18 Or “you girded yourself.”
  15. John 21:18 The Aramaic is “grayheaded.”
  16. John 21:18 Or “stretch out your hands.” This was clearly a hint of the martyrdom Peter would experience in Rome one day, where historians have recorded that Peter was crucified upside down, at his request, because he said that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same way as his Lord. He once said he was willing to die for our Lord Jesus; now Christ promises that will happen.
  17. John 21:24 The evidence both internally and externally clearly points to John as the author of this book, thus the explicit reference here.
  18. John 21:24 The word we implies that John had conferred with the other disciples, as he has left us an accurate account of the life of Jesus Christ.
  19. John 21:25 Implied in the Aramaic.
  20. John 21:25 The Aramaic is very poetic, “The world itself would be emptied out into the books that would be written.” An alternate translation of the Aramaic could read “I suppose that forever is still not enough time for all the books to be written!”
The Passion Translation (TPT)

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John 21 New International Version (NIV)

Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish

21 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee.[a] It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus[b]), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.[c] When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Jesus Reinstates Peter

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.


  1. John 21:1 Greek Tiberias
  2. John 21:2 Thomas (Aramaic) and Didymus (Greek) both mean twin.
  3. John 21:8 Or about 90 meters
New International Version (NIV)

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