Christ's Final Instructions
(John 20 & 21)

Fred R. Coulter—July 5, 1986

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John 19:31: "The Jews, therefore, so that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, because it was a preparation day (for that Sabbath was a High Day)…" Here's a classic example of what happens when you become such a legalist that you have no spiritual or human feeling left.

  • They didn't care about anything other than the fact that they didn't defile themselves.
  • They didn't think about that they committed murder.
  • They didn't think about that they put away an innocent man.
  • They didn't think about that it was a dastardly thing that they did.

'No, we don't want to be defiled because we want to keep the Passover.'

"…requested of Pilate that their legs might be broken and the bodies be taken away" (v 31).

Verse 34: "But one of the soldiers had pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water had come out. And he who saw… [John was the only apostle standing there] …this has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that what he says is true, so that you may believe" (vs 34-35). The whole purpose of this ties right in with the whole book of John, that you might believe!

Verse 36: "For these things took place so that the Scripture might be fulfilled, 'Not a bone of Him shall be broken.'" There's a great dispute of how they drive the nails into His hands without breaking His bones.

You can go through  a part of the hand that has the tendons and in between the bones. Then the say there's another place you can go in between the bones in the wrist, and the ligaments are strong enough to hold a person on the cross. They also say that in addition to nailing them they are also tied. People will say that if you just have nails that sooner or later it's going to rip and they're going to fall down, so they also tied their arms.

There's a third way that they can do it and that is put it above the wrist between the two main bones of the forearm. All three of those could conceivably be done without breaking a bone.

Verse 37: "And again another Scripture says, 'They shall look upon Him Whom they pierced.'" You can go to Rev.1 where it says, 'The eyes of them that pierced Him shall see Him.' Anyone who commits sin has their part in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (Acts 2). Remember when Peter was preaching to all the Jews who came in from the countryside, and he said, 'Know assuredly, house of Israel, that you have crucified the One Whom God has sent.'

The Roman soldiers crucified Jesus, but anyone who sins has spiritually partaken in the crucifixion, in the beating and the piercing of Jesus. Not only was it those who stood there and looked at Jesus literally, but when you come Rev. 1 it says that 'all those who pierced Him shall see Him.' That's 2,000-plus some years later at the second coming of Christ that it is talking about. That means that everyone who has sinned has their part in crucifying Christ!

Verse 38: "Now, after these things, Joseph (the one from Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but having concealed it for fear of the Jews) asked Pilate that he might take Jesus' body away…" Apparently at that time he got rid of his fears. One of these guys who is fearful and like in the movies, example: Shakiest Gun in the West, where the guy couldn't shoot because he was scared to death of everything. Finally he gets up enough courage.

Here's Joseph of Arimathea who finally decided that this is it, 'I better stand up for a cause' and he went asked for the body of Jesus.

"…and Pilate gave him permission. Then he came and took away the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who had come to Jesus by night at the first, also came, bearing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took Jesus' body and wound it in linen cloths with the aromatics…" (vs 38-40).

This one statement alone shows that the Shroud of Turin cannot be possibly be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. That is the length of a man twice where they lay this linen down and they put the person flat back down on the linen and then they flap it over the top so that it comes the head, and that's how they got the impression on whatever was on the Shroud of Turin.

Of course it had trickles of blood, and I don't think that whomever was in that one was dead, but it wasn't Jesus, because the way the Jews did they wrap them with cloths much like we would think of mummification today.

"…as is the custom among the Jews to prepare for burial. Now, there was a garden in the place where He was crucified, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because of the preparation of the Jews, they laid Jesus there; for the tomb was near" (vs 40-42).

They got Him in there and I imagine that just as the sun was setting they rolled the stone across. If Jesus died at three in the afternoon, it was 4:30 by the time that Joseph and Nicodemus got the body and then from that time until about six pm they wrapped it up and put it in the tomb and right at sunset that rock was rolled over and it closed the tomb.

John 20:1: "Now, on the first day of the weeks…" I imagine almost every Protestant church there is will turn to all these places where it says 'first day of the week' (KJV); but the truth is concerning the first day of the week as a day of worship, the one who decreed that Sunday would be the day of worship was none other than Constantine who was emperor of the Roman Empire. Also at that point he was Pontifex Maximus, the religious leader. So, all of those who follow Sunday are, in fact, following the political and religious edict of an emperor.

In that sense Sunday is truly a part of what you would call the system of the mark of the beast. Think about it, with the mark of the beast coming—where no one can buy and sell—I tell you that's going to have an impact, brethren. There isn't anything you can do today without buying and selling.

Years and centuries ago, even early in the 20th century here in America, you could get yourself some nice little farm and you wouldn't have to buy anything. You could live, produce and take care of yourself. Surely you could a hundred years ago; you wouldn't have to buy and sell. But now, everybody has to buy and sell.

How many of us could exist for a month without buying and selling. We could scrape by for a month. What would happen at the end of the first month, you would get all kinds of duns on your bills. At the end of sixty days you start getting nasty letters, then in 90 days they're calling and banging on the door, and at 120 days they take away your home.

Truly you cannot buy and sell. So, when they were explaining about the mark of the beast in the earlier part of the 20th century in the Church of God, they said that Sunday worship was the mark of the beast, and in that they were right because it was the beast that enforced Sunday, so it is a mark—not the—of the beast.

Then they had to turn around and say that since this was done maybe we better find some theological basis for doing this. So, then they went to the Bible and saw 'first day of the week'; there it is, brethren. Notice that they did not have services, it was not a day of rest but a day of work.

"…while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb; and she saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb" (v 1). That means that it was light enough to see where you're going, but still dark enough to be called "…still dark…"—before sunrise. Right now it's light about five minutes to five, but the sun doesn't rise until about a quarter to six. There's quite a bit of time for her to walk out to the sepulcher.

Verse 2: "Then she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, 'They have taken away the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.' As a result, Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. Now, the two ran together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and came to the tomb first" (vs 2-4). A little competition! John puts it nicely in the passive voice, but still he beat Peter.

Verse 5: "And he stooped down and saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not enter. Then Simon Peter came following him, and he went into the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin that had been on His head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself" (vs 5-7).

I've often wondered that in order for Jesus to be resurrected He didn't have to have the burial cloths unwound from Him. He could have just come right through them. There's an indication that when they saw the burial cloths, where it says folded, that the Greek also can mean in-folded. In other words, the body form was there, and then it in-folded on itself when the body was removed. Then Jesus took the headband off and folded it up and put it by itself.

That would really be something; if you walked in and saw that the cloths of the body but the body not there. Then to make it really convincing, the handkerchief or wrappings on His head was all taken off, folded up and put aside. When I think of that I think of these gory movies where someone comes back from the dead and they're unwinding this stuff off their head.

Something like that must have literally happened when Jesus was resurrected. What would you think if you were John, Peter or Mary Magdalene and went in and saw those things—strange things. When something strange like that happens I know that my heart pounds and I'm breathing heavy and my eyes are big as saucers and I'm scared to death. I think I know why John didn't go in there; I think he was scared to go in. I'd be scared to go in there. Peter wasn't, he just charged right in.

Verse 8: "Then the other disciple [John], who had come to the tomb first, also went in and saw these things; and he believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture, which decreed that He must rise from the dead" (vs 8-9).

  • How converted were they?
  • How knowledgeable were they?

Not too, for they didn't yet know that! That's quite a statement! Yet, the Scriptures say that the Lord would not allow His body to see corruption (Psa. 16[transcriber's correction])

Verse 10: "Then the disciples went away again to their home." I wonder what they were talking about as they went? Of course, the rumor was going around that the soldiers were paid to tell everybody that 'they stole His body by night.'

Verse 11: "But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping; and as she wept, she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white who were sitting…" (vs 11-12). They were there all the time, but they didn't reveal themselves until this point.

"…one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid. And they said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping?' She said to them, 'Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.' And after saying these things, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?' Thinking that He was the gardener, she said to Him, 'Sir, if you have carried Him off, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.' Jesus said to her, 'Mary.'…." (vs 12-16).

I wonder how she felt when she heard that familiar 'Mary'? I imagine the hair stood up on the back of her neck and she would feel all the spine-tingling things come all over her from head to toe.

"…Turning around, she said to Him, 'Rabboni'; that is to say, 'Teacher.' Jesus said to her, 'Do not touch Me, because I have not yet ascended to My Father. But go to My brethren and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'" (vs 16-17). I imagine she ran like there was no ground under her feet.

Verse 18: "Mary Magdalene came to the disciples, bringing word that she had seen the Lord, and that He had said these things to her." Talk about a real time of excitement and confusion about what to do and what is really happening, rumors and wondering. Yet, very exciting times! That really must have been something!

In this account Jesus told Mary not to touch Him because He had not yet ascended to His Father after the resurrection. We know that occurred on the first day of the week. For this situation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the acceptance of God the Father there are two areas that I want to cover in relationship to this.

What was it like when Jesus ascended and was accepted of God the Father? Let's just keep in mind what it says in Rev. 4 about the Sea of Glass, the 24 elders, the throne of God, the seven living spirits and all of those things so we get an idea in our mind of what it was like up there when Christ was received at the throne of God.

Revelation 4:8: "And each of the four living creatures had six wings respectively; and around and within they were full of eyes; and day and night they cease not saying, 'Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was, and Who is, and Who is to come.'"

It's very, very clear that the only solution to government in this world is the return of Christ. Everything else gets too bogged down in sin, human nature and wretchedness. Even the very best that mankind and do is not going to solve the problems of human beings. So, where it says, "…Who is to come"—that's a fantastic thing!

Verse 9: "And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanksgiving to Him Who sits on the throne, Who lives into the ages of eternity, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him Who sits on the throne; and they worship Him Who lives into the ages of eternity, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 'Worthy are You, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power because You did create all things, and for Your will they were created and exist'" (vs 9-11).

Now we find the scroll that was written front and back with the seven seals.

Revelation 5:1: "And in the right hand of Him Who sits on the throne I saw a book, written within and on the back, which had been sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, 'Who is worthy to open the book and to loose its seals?' But no one in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth was able to open the book, or to look inside it. And I was weeping greatly because no one was found worthy to open and to read the book, or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, 'Do not weep. Behold, the Lion Who is of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome to open the book, and to loose its seven seals.'" (vs 1-5).

Remember, there are two pictures of Christ. One of them is Christ the King of the root of David, the great warrior, the One Who is going to conquer.

Verse 6: "Then I saw, and behold, before the throne and the four living creatures, and before the elders, was standing a Lamb… [the redemptive part of Christ] …as having been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God that are sent into all the earth."

Then we see that all of the angels are there, 10,000 times 10,000; v 12: "Saying with a loud voice, 'Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory and blessing.' And every creature that is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and those that are on the sea, and all the things in them, I heard saying, 'To Him Who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing, and honor, and glory, and sovereignty into the ages of eternity.'" (vs 12-13).

With this in mind let's go back to Psa. 23. It is essential that we relate to these things concerning the resurrection of Christ. As Jesus was there, we know from the timing and sequence of the Bible, Jesus was resurrected at the end of the Sabbath, but He did not ascend until about nine o'clock in the morning on the first day of the week. Sometimes it makes you wonder:

  • Why wasn't Jesus accepted immediately?
  • Why didn't He instantly go up to be accepted of God the Father?

I imagine that one of the things that He was doing was praying from the time He was resurrected until the time He ascended or, at least, the time He was seen by Mary Magdalene, I imagine that He was praying: thanking and praising God for resurrecting Him. In my mind's eye Psa. 23 has pretty much to do with how Jesus felt after He was resurrected.

Psalm 23:1: "The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want…. [to lack nothing] …He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death… [which He did] …I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies…. [which God the Father did] …You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever" (vs 1-6).

This could very well be some of the thoughts of Jesus. I'm going through the Psalms and I'm beginning to see some of the thoughts of Jesus that David was able to convey in His prayers and Psalms that he had. I feel that Psa. 24 is pretty much the acceptance Psalm when Jesus was resurrected and ascended into heaven to God the Father and stood there before His throne as the accepted sacrifice for all of mankind.

Psalm 24:1: "The earth is the LORD'S, and the fullness of it, the world, and those who dwell in it, for He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in His Holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to vanity and has not sworn deceitfully" (vs 1-4). That can only be said of Jesus Christ. Because man at his very best is vanity, altogether vanity! Who has not lifted up his soul to vanity at some time in his life? Only Jesus!

Verse 5: "He shall receive the blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face, O God of Jacob. Selah" (vs 5-6). There is blends into what David was praying.

Verse 7: "Lift up your heads, O you gates; and be lifted up, O you everlasting doors; that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you everlasting doors; that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah" (vs 7-10).

Just in my mind I can see Christ walking down before the throne of God the Father to be accepted as that perfect sacrifice. Of course, He had all of the wound marks in Him. Remember, it talks about 'the blood of Jesus Christ that is sprinkled in the Holy Place.' That is before God the Father and we have access to God the Father. I feel those in the Psalms pretty well portrays the acceptance of Jesus Christ by God the Father on the day that He ascended as we find in John 20. Let's see some other things that took place after He ascended.

John 20:17: "Jesus said to her, 'Do not touch Me, because I have not yet ascended to My Father. But go to My brethren and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.' Mary Magdalene came to the disciples, bringing word that she had seen the Lord, and that He had said these things to her. Afterwards, as evening was drawing near that day, the first day of the weeks, and the doors were shut where the disciples had assembled for fear of the Jews…" (vs 17-19).

I just want to make one comment here that a lot of people turn to and say, 'The first day of the week, when Jesus was resurrected, the disciples were meeting and had a church meeting. So, therefore, we should go to church.' NO! It says: "…for fear of the Jews…"

Besides, that would mean that this was literally true, and they wanted to follow what the disciples did, then they should meet Sunday evening instead of Sunday morning. They still haven't yet said to keep the day Holy. I have yet to see them keep Sunday Holy under any circumstances. They were there "…for fear of the Jews…"

They could have had a mob after them saying the thing they had paid the guards to say, 'His disciples have stole His body away, let's go get those dirty disciples.' You'd be afraid, too!

"…Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, 'Peace be to you'" (v 19). I tell you what, if that would not electrify you, cause you to believe, cause you to really be inspired to be all together, just think if we put ourselves in the same situation as the disciples. All of a sudden if Jesus came appeared right here and we could touch Him, embrace Him, see Him, that would really be inspiring. Yet, the last part of the book of Matthew says that when some were worshiping Christ just before He ascended after 40 days, some doubted! It makes you wonder what it takes to believe! That's why John wrote this, so that they would believe!

Verse 20: "And after saying this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples rejoiced because they had seen the Lord. Therefore, Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be to you. As the Father sent Me, I am also sending you.'" (vs 20-21). {Note Matt. 28:18-20 about going into all the world, making disciples and baptizing, etc.}

Verse 22: "And after saying this, He breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" I'm just going to refer you back to John 14:16-17 where Jesus said that 'the Holy Spirit was with and shall be in you.' I feel that this breathing on them was symbolic, but yet, literal, because they received the Holy Spirit as a begettal from God the Father at that point. When we come to Acts 2 they received the power for preaching and witnessing. This was just to the disciples that were there.

Verse 23: "Those whose sins you shall remit, they are remitted to them; and those whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." This does not give confessional powers as the Catholics have it. He was talking to the ones who were to be the apostles; I'm sure it has to do with that, not just any ordinary person. Even being a minister I wouldn't want to take upon myself just to tell someone their sins aren't forgiven. I don't know the heart! Jesus gave them that power, and I suppose that when it gets down into a real counseling situation where it would be necessary to understand it, I'm sure we could.

I'm sure that this also has to do with baptism, for the remission of sins. Of course, we can count in the whole account of Simon Magus. He didn't have his sins forgiven or remitted and so forth.

Verse 24: "But Thomas, called Didymus, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. Then the other disciples said to him, 'We have seen the Lord.' But he said to them, 'Unless I see the nail marks in His hands, and put my finger into the nail marks, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe at all'" (vs 24-25). That shows that they understood how much of a gaping wound Jesus must have had. You don't put your hand into a little wound on the side.

These pictures they have of Jesus, He's got a little cut on His hand with a little drop of blood running down. On His side He's got a little teeny cut and a drop of blood running down there. You're not going to put your hand into that. You're not going to put your finger into a little teeny cut on the hands, it's going to be a big hole; same way on His side.

Verse 26: "Now, after eight days His disciples again were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus came after the doors were shut, and stood in the midst and said, 'Peace be to you.' Then He said to Thomas, 'Put forth your finger, and see My hands…'" (vs 26-27). I wonder how Thomas felt?

The best way I can describe how Thomas felt when this occurred is that if I look back and think about the time that I got caught red-handed doing something I knew I shouldn't do and my mom caught me. You just turn ghost white and flush inside from head to toe. You get numb from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, and you're stomach is queasy. I imagine that Thomas felt pretty much like that when Jesus said, 'Thomas, come here.' Of course, it's recorded, too. Poor guy! Recorded forever in the Bible.

"…and reach out your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing.' And Thomas answered and said to Him… [What could he say? He didn't march right up there and do it] …'My Lord and My God.' Jesus said to him, 'Because you have seen Me, Thomas, you have believed; blessed are the ones who have not seen, but have believed'" (vs 27-29). We're all in that category.

Sometimes when the trials get a little too much we wonder where the blessing is. Stick around a little while and the blessing will come sooner or later. You just have to have faith in God and trust in God, in spite of everything. Sometimes you have to do it in spite of everything! When you do, God will bless you somehow, some way, in some circumstance.

Verse 30 is the key for the whole book of John, why it was written! Verse 30: "Now then, Jesus did many other miracles …" It doesn't tell us what He did. We can sit here and wonder what they were, but we don't know.

"…in the presence of His disciples which are not written in this book" (v 30). I always wonder why they weren't written in a book? I would assume that they are so fantastic that even if they were written it would not be believable!

Verse 31: "But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, you may have life through His name."

That's the whole thrust and purpose of the book of John. So, where we're ending up is really where we began.

John 21:1 "After these things, Jesus again revealed Himself to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. And this is how He revealed Himself: Simon Peter, and Thomas (called Didymus), and Nathanael from Cana of Galilee were there together, and the sons of Zebedee and two of His other disciples. Simon Peter said to them, 'I am going fishing.' They said to him, 'We also will come with you.' They left immediately and got into the ship, but during that night they took nothing. And when morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore. However, none of the disciples realized that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, 'Children, do you have any food?' They answered Him, 'No.' And He said to them, 'Cast the net to the right side of the ship, and you shall find some.'….." (vs 1-6).

It's interesting that they didn't know it was Jesus. So, if a person—who is a spirit being—can appear to a human being who is in the flesh, they can appear in different forms. It would have to be, otherwise, they would have recognized that it was Jesus. They didn't know it was Jesus. That's a pretty phenomenal thing!

I tell you, you read some of these things and think on them, it really makes you excited about the Kingdom of God. Just think that you can do that, like it says in Isa. 30 about the teachers. If you go to do something a voice will appear behind you saying, 'This is the way, walk you in it. Don't go to the right or the left.' And your teachers will be apparent. Once the word gets out that the teachers will appear wherever there's going to be a problem, ZAPPO! Guess what? Everybody is going to be behaving themselves real nicely!

Just like the same psychology is used whenever there's a highway patrolman you make sure you're going the speed limit. You make sure! Or if you think you're going through a radar zone. Think of what it's going to be in the Kingdom of God when all of us as teachers can be manifested in this way to the people that we're supposed to teach and be in charge of. It's going to be something!

Verse 6: "And He said to them, 'Cast the net to the right side of the ship, and you shall find some.'…." About that time Peter should have said, 'Oh Oh! I've heard this before!' They were out fishing all night and didn't get a thing and Jesus said, 'Throw it on the other side.' I tell you, if you're in a boat there's not much to fishing out of the right side or the left side, if you were down under the water looking up and you had the net on one side and you pull it up and throw it down on the other side, there's not going to be much difference, maybe 30 feet.

"…Then they cast the net, but they did not have the strength to draw it in because of the multitude of fish" (v 6). How did they all of a sudden get there? Jesus didn't stand on the seashore and shout; no record that He was shouting. He just thought! There they were!

  • Did He create them instantaneously? He could!
  • Did He cause them all to swim there all of a sudden?

You've seen these underwater pictures of fish and all of a sudden here's a whole school and got just commands them to go to that net.

Verse 7: "Then that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, 'It is the Lord.' And after hearing that it was the Lord, Peter put on his outer garment, because he was naked, and threw himself into the sea." Talk about getting caught with your pants down! There is the classic case, right there! Poor ole Peter, getting caught with his pants down! Here he's out there all night fishing, hot and sweaty, and here's this guy telling him to throw the net out the other side. Then John says, "…It is the Lord!…."

Verse 8: "But the other disciples came in a small ship, dragging the net full of fish; for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits away…. [about 150 feet] …Now then, when they came up to the land, they saw a fire of coals spread, and fish lying on it, and bread" (vs 8-9). Where did Jesus get the coals. He was carrying them around in a little pocket; and fish and bread. Was Jesus fishing? How did He get the fish? When they came the fire was going, the fish were on it and the bread was there. Makes you wonder!

(go to the next track)

I would have to conclude that just as Jesus fed the 5,000, remember that there were two little fishes and six barley loaves. It was created as it was needed. I would have to assume that the way He got the fire He just commanded it to exist. Can you command a fire to exist if you're God? Sure you could! Could you command that fish be created to put on the fire? Sure you can! All you would have to do is command the fish out of the water to come into your hand. You have to think in a practical way as to how it was done. Or you could have a bird catch a couple of them and come over and just lay them right out to you. Remember that the raven fed Elijah! I don't know; I'm just trying to think of all the different way that the fish could have gotten there.

Verse 10: "Jesus said to them, 'Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.' Simon Peter went up to the shore and drew the net to the land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three…" (vs 10-11). Some say that the 153 are a type of all nations. There might be something to it, to go out a preach. He said that when He called them He would make them 'fishers of men.' So, here's a 153. There is a significance to 153; why not 152 or 144; that may have more significance to the 12 tribes. But here is 153. I would have to assume it has some significance there.

"…and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, 'Come and dine.' But none of the disciples dared to ask Him, 'Who are You?' For they knew that it was the Lord. Then Jesus came and took the bread, and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples after being raised from the dead" (vs 11-14). Quite an exciting event! It really was quite an exciting event! I wonder how many times Peter told this story when he was out preaching? Or how many times John told the story?

We come to a very important section concerning the attitude Jesus not only wanted Peter to have, but all of the apostles, hence all the ministers of God.

Verse 15: "Therefore, when they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me more than these?' And he said to Him, 'Yes, Lord. You know that I love You.' He said to him, 'Feed My lambs.'"

Notice that the word love (that Peter replied with) in the Greek is 'philo' that means a friend in a benevolent way; a close bosom friend. The word for love—meaning Godly love—is 'agape.' When Peter answered, he answered with the word 'philo'—close bosom friend. When Jesus asked him the question, that is 'agape'—a Godly love. That is a stronger love than 'philo.' So, Peter answered with deep, brotherly affection.

What as Jesus doing there? He was feeding them! He had just fed them! "…Feed My lambs."

Verse 16: "He said to him again a second time, 'Simon, son of Jonas, do you love ['agape'] Me?' And he said to Him, 'Yes, Lord. You know that I love ['philo'] You.' He said to him, 'Shepherd My sheep.'" Take care of the sheep of God.

Verse 17: "He said to him the third time…" The significance of three is completeness. Seven is completeness and finality, but three is completeness.

"…'Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me?'…." This time Jesus used 'philo' instead of 'agape.'

"…Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, 'Do you love Me?' And he said to Him, 'Lord, You know all things. You know that I love You.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed My sheep'" (v 17). That's what has to be as far as a minister and anyone who is going to serve God in a ministerial way. When you do that and you tie in the other one not to be lording over the flock of God, then we have a good understanding as to what it should be.

I look back and we see all the times that people in the Church of God were beat, whipped and driven and all this sort of thing that it has left a deep, lasting impression on my mind. As we have said many times, in our little 'no hassle church' we have love, peace and we're not hurting and backbiting anyone. No one is ruling over anyone, brow-beating anyone, stabbing anyone in the back. How many of these things have we experienced in the Church of God, which is supposed to be the Philadelphia Church, the church of brotherly love.

That's why here in our church we're going to guard that very carefully. I can tell you right now that if you see anything happening that you feel incumbent to say something to someone, at least tell them, 'Hey, don't bring the other church in here an dirty up ours.'

When I get some of these doctrinal papers like I get, I'm tired of the hassle, because it's all in the spirit of argumentation. One of these things I got was called The End-Time Vigil. It looks like it comes from Jerusalem, but it comes from here in the states who doesn't know a word of Hebrew; yet, he's arguing sacred names and the observable calendar. That's his thing. That's his vanity.

I've just cycled through all these things so many times it's kind of like a punch-drugged boxer. You don't want to be hit anymore. I think all of us are kind of the same way, we don't want to be hit anymore. Just keep it peaceful, nice and loving the best we can. We have enough trouble fighting the world. We have enough trouble taking care of those things.

As a minister I'll tell you what I'm going to do; just what it says here, 'Feed the flock!' It's not a big flock, numbers don't mean a thing. Look at the hundreds and thousands, yea verily, millions that supposedly are following God. Numbers do not mean a thing. There's comfort in numbers and there's sin in numbers. I will feed the flock!

Verse 18: "Truly, truly I say to you, since you were young, you have dressed yourself and walked wherever you have desired; but when you are old, you shall stretch out your hands, and another shall dress you and bring you where you do not desire to go." It shows what it's going to be toward the end of Peter's life. I imagine that stuck in his mind, too, all of his life.

Verse 9: "Now, He said this to signify by what death he would glorify God. And after saying this, He said to him, 'Follow Me.'" Jesus had just lived a life where He suffered every excruciating thing that any human being could ever go through.

Verse 20: "But when Peter turned, he saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had sat at the supper and leaned on His chest, and had said, 'Lord, who is it that is betraying You?'" Remember when that happened. John asked who is was that was betraying.

Verse 21: "Seeing him, Peter said to Jesus, 'Lord, what shall happen to this one?'" It's much like a family. Equal rights with kids, one has it, the other has to have it. Every once in a while you have to put your foot down and say, 'this is not a democracy; what I give to one does not necessarily mean I give to another. This is what Jesus was telling Peter at this point.

Verse 22: "Jesus said to him, 'If I desire that he remain alive until I come, what is it to you?….'" He told Peter very distinctly that 'it's none of your business, friend.'

"'…You follow Me'" (v 22). In other words, whatever the circumstances are that God has done to call us to follow Him, we do that. What does it say about comparing yourselves among yourselves?

2-Corinthians 10:12: "But we dare not join ranks with or compare ourselves with those who are commending themselves; for those who measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, have no understanding."

  • Isn't that what people always do?
  • Doesn't that always get them in trouble?

Here Peter was doing that and Jesus just cut him off and said, John 21:22: "Jesus said to him, 'If I desire that he remain alive until I come, what is it to you? You follow Me.'"

Guess what happened? Verse 23: "Then this saying went out among the brethren, that that disciple would not die…." I imagine that this had a great effect upon the Church! That he wouldn't die!

Have we heard people make statements well intending about people not dying until the Lord returns, but it never happened. How about the apostle that Jesus loved, and the word went out that he wouldn't die before Jesus returns.

Then you see James martyred, the apostles die and then Peter and Paul dies, all the disciples die and here's John. Sure enough he was the longest living one. Did John see the return of Jesus Christ before he died? Yes, he did! That's why he was given the book of Revelation. He did see the return of Christ in vision, in prophecy before he died. Yet, he wrote this:

"…However, Jesus did not say to him that he would not die; but, 'If I desire that he remain alive until I come, what is it to you?' This is the disciple who testifies concerning these things and who wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I do not suppose that even the world itself could contain the books that would be written. Amen" (vs 23-25).

That finishes the book of John!

Summary of the book of John:

John 1—a fantastic chapter showing us Who and what Jesus Christ was before His birth, and that it was God, indeed, Who came to the earth in the flesh. Jesus dwelt among us—tabernacled among us—and yet, He wasn't received of His own. But as many as did receive Him, He gave them power to become the sons of God.

Then it shows that He was full of grace, full of the grace of God. That's how we receive the grace of God, through Jesus Christ!

Then it shows the witnessing of John the Baptist where he said, 'I am not the Christ.' Then the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist, where John the Baptist is told that the One Whom you see the Holy Spirit descend on as a dove, this is the One.

Verse 29: "…John sees Jesus coming to him, and he says, 'Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world.'"

The beginning of the calling of the disciples and the incident where he called Simon and Simon is called a 'stone'—Simon Peter, the son of Jona.

Then the calling of Nathaniel and how Jesus told him that He saw him sitting under the tree, showing the powers that Jesus had before He was resurrected.

John 2—the very first miracle, where at the behest of His mother He made 180 gallons of wine. How the intolerant explain that away I will never know. But I tell you one thing, Jesus created 180 gallons of wine and had a wonderful feast. I imagine everyone there had wonderful feast.

He goes to the Passover in Jerusalem, cleanses the temple. This is His first visit to the temple after being baptized. Then He explains the first time that He makes any mention concerning the three days and three nights, where He says:

Verse 19: "…'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.'" Of course, the Jews couldn't understand that.

Verses 23-25 shows that He did many miracles and many believed on Jesus; began believing on Him as the Messiah.

John 3—we went in great depth about what is the true meaning of born again. Then we have the most famous part:

Verse 16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have everlasting life." This is quite a power chapter in bringing many important things together.

Verse 33: "The one who has received His testimony has set his seal that God is true." If you receive the testimony of Jesus Christ, or even here the testimony of John, that you set your seal that God is true!

Verse 34: "For He Whom God has sent speaks the words of God; and God gives not the Spirit by measure unto Him." That's always a good test. Someone says that he is sent from God, do they speak the words of God? And if any come speaking like they sound like the words of God, you better check and make sure that they are, because many will come in His name and deceive many.

John 4—very interesting account concerning the woman at the well, having to do with the prophecy concerning the woman of Samaria possibly he religion of Samaria that has no water, no Spirit, and showing that the religion came out of Babylon via the people that were brought in from Babylon at the taking away of those from the northern ten tribes.

The key important thing concerning the worship of God, v 19: "The woman said to Him, 'Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, but you say that the place where it is obligatory to worship is in Jerusalem.' Jesus said to her, 'Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you shall neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem worship the Father. You do not know what you worship. We know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth; for the Father is indeed seeking those who worship Him in this manner. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and in Truth'" (vs 19-24). That's the whole key of John 4.

At this point I want to remind you of the sequence of the way the book of John is written.

  • John 2—Passover
  • John 5—fall festival season
  • John 6—Passover
  • John 7—fall festival season (Feast of Tabernacles)
  • John 11—Passover and all covers the events between Passover and the 40 days before Jesus ascended

So, the book of John is written Passover, fall, Passover, fall; it gives a good sequence of the Holy Days.

John 5—the man who was infirm for 38 years, healed of Jesus; then the argument over carrying a sleeping bag. Jesus said very clearly that He was the Son of God! Then he went on showing that all are going to be resurrected by His power either to a resurrection of life, or to a resurrection of judgment and condemnation.

Verse 30: "I have no power to do anything of Myself; but as I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father Who sent Me." Then He bore witness of the Father.

Verse 39: "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think that you have eternal life; and they are the ones that testify of Me. But you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life. I do not receive glory from men; but I have known you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves" (vs 39-43

Verse 45: "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you, even Moses, in whom you have hope. But if you believed Moses, you would have believed Me; for he wrote about Me. And if you do not believe his writings, how shall you believe My words?" (vs 45-47). That's the key to understanding the Bible—Old and New Testament!

John 6—a very key important one leading up to the Passover, that Jesus is the Bread of Life (v 35). He gave His flesh and His blood as the living bread that came down from heaven. Unless you eat of His flesh and drink of His blood you have no life in you. That is you do: Verse 57: "…the one who eats Me shall live by Me."

John 7—we have the key of the teachings of the Feast of Tabernacles. He kept the Feast and commanded His family to keep the Feast.

Verse 16: "Jesus answered them and said, 'My doctrine is not Mine, but His Who sent Me. If anyone desires to do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it is from God, or whether I speak from My own self" (vs 16-17). There again, the only way to understand the Word of God is do it!
Verse 19: Did not Moses give you the Law, and not one of you is practicing the Law?…." That's a profound statement! They considered themselves law-keepers, but Jesus said that none of them kept the Law.

Verse 24: "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment." Then we have the argument building up concerning where Jesus came from and so forth.

Verse 37: "Now, in the last day, the great day of the Feast, Jesus stood and called out, saying, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.' But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, which those who believed in Him would soon receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified" (vs 37-39).

Then the section where they were looking for the Prophet, Christ and so forth.

John 8—perhaps the toughest chapter in the whole book of John as far as the confrontation and condemnation. Talk about getting right down to the nitty-gritty. One of the things that people have a misnomer about is should Christians hate. We're to love, love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. But it say of Jesus:

Hebrews 1:9: You loved righteousness and hated lawlessness…" He hated sin, but not the sinner. But if the sinner does not repent then they're not going have any opportunity for salvation. Here we get down into a situation that was really something in this whole confrontation.

John 8:44: "You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you desire to practice...." That is strong! I don't know any other statement in the New Testament that is any stronger than that. That is powerful when you think about it.

John 9—one of the funniest around. The stupidity of the Pharisees couldn't believe that the man who was born blind could actually see. They didn't believe him, didn't believe his parents, and ended up kicking them all out of the synagogue. If the facts don't conform to what you believe, get rid of it. We've all experience that, too.

John 10—Jesus is the Door, the Shepherd, and He gives His life for His sheep. The sheep know His voice and follow Him! Then the confrontation where Jesus said that He was the Son of God, and then confronted the Jews with the Scripture that said, 'you are gods.' They took up stones to kill Him

John 11—concerning the resurrection. The whole account of Lazarus. We covered the reasonings of human nature: If You would have been here, Lord, he wouldn't have died. All the things that go on and how human beings don't think the way that God does.

Verse 41: "…Jesus lifted His eyes upward and said, 'Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You hear Me always…'" Very short prayer. Then He called with a loud voice and Lazarus came forth. Then they sought to kill Him!

John 12—leading up to the Passover time. Jesus making His triumphant entrance into the city. Again, they wanted to kill Christ.

John 13—the beginning part of the Passover with the foot-washing. That's a key important thing; remember what Jesus said, 'If you don't wash each other's feet' you have no part with Him—period! He gave us an example that we should do.

Verse 34: "A new commandment I give to you: that you love one another in the same way that I have loved you, that is how you are to love one another." There is the whole new standard.

John 14—quite a powerful chapter, indeed.

Verse 6: "Jesus said to him, 'I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.'" Then it shows that if you love God keep His commandments, and the Holy Spirit will be sent to you.

John 15—We are part of the vine of Christ, remain in Him, love Him, keep His commandments

John 16—the judgment of the world because of sin; righteousness and judgment. Then we have the promise that the Father loves us and will answer our prayers directly.

John 17—the Lord's Prayer, where He prayed and we went through and shows how this conforms to the model prayer that Jesus gave us as a guide to pray by. His prayer is that 'we all be one in Christ.'

John 18—the arrest and the things leading up to the crucifixion

John 19—the crucifixion

John 20—the resurrection

John 21—the final instructions before the end of the book

You're going to find that the Gospel of John is a very, very powerful Gospel in teaching God's way. I hope this will be helpful and beneficial!

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

Scriptural References:

  • John 19:31, 34-42
  • John 20:1-18
  • Revelation 4:8-11
  • Revelation 5:1-6, 12-13
  • Psalm 23:1-6
  • Psalm 24:1-10
  • John 20:17-31
  • John 21:1-22
  • 2 Corinthians 10:12
  • John 21:22-25
  • John 1:29
  • John 2:19
  • John 3:16, 33-34
  • John 4:19:24
  • John 5:30, 39-43, 45-47
  • John 6:57
  • John 7:16-17, 19, 24, 37-39
  • Hebrews 1:9
  • John 8:44
  • John 11:41
  • John 13:34
  • John 14:6

Scripture referenced, not quoted:

  • Revelation 1
  • Acts 2
  • Psalm 16
  • Matthew 28:18-20
  • John 14:16-17
  • Isaiah 30

Transcribed: 12-29-14