After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed he himself.…
es: — This narrative is purely secular, but is none the less religious.
I. CHRIST DOES NOT RELIEVE HIS DISCIPLES FROM THE NECESSITY OF SECULAR LABOUR. He does not exempt His disciples from the law "He that doth not work shall not eat." Were He to do so it would be an injury rather than a blessing to physical health. Intellectual vigour and moral development depend upon it. Inaction when there is power of action is a crime, and since the Infinite Lawgiver is infinitely benevolent, what is contrary to His will must be injurious.
1. The individual himself is injured. Muscular inactivity enfeebles the body; mental inactivity the intellect; moral inactivity the soul. Look at those who "stand all the day idle." They are your feeble mothers, delicate sisters, nervous fathers, lackadasical sons, simpering women and moody men.
2. The idle man injures others: he is a social thief, and should be punished like every other kind of thief.
II. CHRIST ALLOWS THE POSSIBILITY OF FAILURE IN THEIR SECULAR ENDEAVOURS. They "caught nothing." A different result might have been expected: but the settled laws of nature pay no particular deference to piety, and exemption from failure would not always be a blessing. It would tend to nourish worldliness, self-sufficiency, and religious neglectfulness. Liability to failure is a spur to industry, and a motive for prayerful dependence on heaven. Let not therefore any unfortunate Christian tradesman conclude that Christ has deserted him; and let not society conclude that he is ungodly because he has failed. The disciples toiled all night and caught nothing.
III. CHRIST IS DEEPLY INTERESTED IN THEIR SECULAR CONCERNS.
1. His eyes are ever on them in their work, though they may be unconscious of Him (ver. 4). He knoweth the way you take.
2. He sometimes so signally interposes for their help or demonstrates His presence among them (ver. 6).
IV. CHRIST OFTEN MAKES THEIR SECULAR TRIALS THE MEANS OF A CLOSER FELLOWSHIP WITH HIMSELF (ver. 12). Here we have a display of —
1. His merciful condescension.
(1) He prepared the food.
(2) He ate with them, and thus identified Himself with their physical necessities.
2. His remedial wisdom. His eating enlisted their social sympathies and heart-confidences. He who would follow Him in His saving mission must go and do likewise.
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.