John 21: More Evidences Of Yeshua’s Resurrection

I’ve had some great days in my 59 years of life. Hopefully, you have too. Maybe one of your great days was the day you became a Bar or Bat Mitzvah; the day you graduated from highschool or college; the day you were married; the day your first child was born; the day you were able to pay off your mortgage or the day you retired. Just as individuals have great days, the world has had some great days too.

Here’s my short list for the world’s great days: each of the seven days of creation; the day Noah came out of the Ark; the day God called Abraham out of Chaldea and made a covenant with him; the day of the first Passover; the day God came down on Mount Sinai and gave Israel the Ten Commandments: the day Yeshua was incarnated; the day Yeshua was born; the day Yeshua died; the day Yeshua was resurrected; and the day the Holy Spirit was given to Messiah’s first followers.

Yeshua’s resurrection is one of the great events in history.

Let’s consider the implications of Yeshua’s resurrection. Since God would not allow a liar, a sinner, a false prophet or false Messiah to be resurrected, Yeshua’s resurrection is God’s declaration to the world that Messiah is sinless, flawless, blameless, perfect.

Yeshua’s resurrection is God’s seal of approval on Yeshua’s life and ministry. Yeshua’s resurrection validates everything He did and everything He said.

Yeshua’s resurrection let’s us know that Yeshua is the Messiah, and the Son of God, and the Lord and Savior of Israel and the nations, and the coming King.

Yeshua’s resurrection lets us know that He is high and lifted up and greater than any of the prophets of Israel or the leaders of any other religion or ideology.

Yeshua’s resurrection makes Him unique, since no one else has been raised from the dead like He has – not Buddha, not Confucius, not Moses or Mohammed, Marx or Freud, and not anyone else.

When Yeshua rose from the dead, He defeated Satan and the fallen angels. He conquered sin. He even defeated death – for Himself and for us – if we believe in Him. Yeshua’s resurrection guarantees our resurrection – if we become loyal to Him.

Yeshua’s resurrection is of the utmost importance. It is a matter of eternal life and eternal death.

Is there evidence that Yeshua’s resurrection actually happened? That it is a historical reality? That it really took place? Yes, there is evidence, good evidence, lots of evidence.

God had created Israel, a special people to be His witnesses, and God had raised up special men and women from that special people to be witnesses of Yeshua’s resurrection. John, our author, was one of those witnesses.

Here is what John recorded so far about the evidences for Yeshua’s resurrection: the stone which had been at the entrance of the tomb had been removed; the tomb was empty; the cloth wrapped around Yeshua’s head and linen strips were in the tomb but there was no body; Mary Magdalene saw two angels who communicated that Yeshua was alive; Yeshua appeared to Mary; He spoke to her; she touched Him; Yeshua then appeared to His disciples in a locked room; He spoke to them; He showed them His hands which had the marks of crucifixion and His side which had the wound from the spear that pierced it; He appeared a week later to the disciples and to Thomas who hadn’t been there the first time; He spoke to them and to Thomas.

And more evidence for His resurrection continued to accumulate. Yeshua had told them to meet Him in the Galilee. The disciples left Jerusalem and went north. Afterward Yeshua appeared again to His disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), 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.

Peter took the initiative to go fishing. Although some have criticized him for fishing, accusing him of rejecting his calling of being a fisher of men, I don’t criticize Peter for wanting to spend a night on the Kinneret and bringing back some fish.

John continues his account: Early in the morning, Yeshua stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Yeshua. 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.

Because of the advice of this mysterious stranger, they went from fishing a long time and catching nothing to catching a lot of fish in a very short amount of time. John, who was spiritually sensitive, understood what this sudden and dramatic improvement in their circumstance meant. Then the disciple whom Yeshua loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” And again, note that John did not refer to himself by his name, out of humility, not wanting to call attention to himself, and because John understood his identity in terms of his relationship with Yeshua. That was the most important thing about him. He was the disciple whom Yeshua loved. And, the more we get our identity from our relationship to Yeshua, the better off we will be.

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. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Yeshua said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 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. Yeshua said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?” They knew it was the Lord. Yeshua came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Yeshua appeared to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. This third appearance of the risen Messiah took place in an entirely different location from His previous two appearances. This one was in Galilee, not Jerusalem. This appearance took place outside, not inside. If a skeptic argues: the disciples were under severe stress during Passover in Jerusalem. Their beloved Rabbi had just been crucified. They were afraid they were next. Their disappointment and fear caused them to imagine that Yeshua came back to life –

this third appearance in an entirely different location with different circumstances proves that Yeshua’s previous appearances weren’t stress-induced hallucinations.

Peter’s three-fold denial is matched by Yeshua’s three-fold question about Peter’s love for Him, and Peter’s three-fold affirmation of his love, his loyalty, his commitment to Messiah. When they had finished eating, Yeshua 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.” Yeshua said, “Feed My lambs.” Again Yeshua said, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.” Yeshua said, “Take care of My sheep.” The third time He said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was hurt because Yeshua asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Yeshua said, “Feed My sheep.”

Love, an essential part of which is loyalty and commitment, can be expressed by words, but love needs to be accompanied by actions. Yeshua told Peter to demonstrate his love for Him by doing what a shepherd does for his sheep – caring for His people, providing for them, protecting them. This does not mean that Peter is the head of the church, or the leader of the other apostles. The apostles were equals. Each of the Lord’s representatives were great shepherds of God’s people.

While most of us are not called to be shepherds of the sheep like Peter was, each one of us is called to express our love for Messiah by caring for the members of His Community. You don’t belong to a church or a Messianic congregation? You don’t do anything to care for the people in one of Messiah’s communities? You aren’t committed and loyal to a church or Messianic congregation? I doubt you have genuine love for Yeshua.

A good shepherd will put himself at risk in order to protect his sheep. And, he may have to suffer. Yeshua warned Peter that that is what would be required of him. “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.” Yeshua said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Tradition tells us that this prophecy was fulfilled exactly as Yeshua predicted. Peter was in Rome and was arrested and was about to be crucified, but because he understood that he was so unworthy of Yeshua that he didn’t want to die in the same way that His worthy Lord did, Peter asked to be crucified upside down, and his request was granted. His upside down crucifixion revealed that Peter had become a man who was humble and willing to pay the ultimate price to show his loyalty to Yeshua. Peter’s death proved that he had overcome his former denials.

Even though following Yeshua would result in a horrible death, Yeshua still asked Peter to follow Him. Then He said to him, “Follow Me!” And Peter did follow Yeshua – until the last day of his life. And Yeshua’s grace was sufficient for him – grace for the rest of his life and special grace that helped him in his death. And, that same grace is available for us.

John never seemed to be far from Yeshua. He lets us know that he was close to Yeshua and Peter as they had this conversation and heard what was said. Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Yeshua loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Yeshua at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) John was always right there, close to Yeshua, for so many important conversations and teachings and events and miracles. That makes John uniquely qualified to write this book about Yeshua. When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Yeshua had told Peter his future. Now Peter wanted to know the future of his good friend John.

But, Yeshua refused to answer Peter’s question about John’s future. It was none of his business. Yeshua answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow Me.” Yeshua was in control of Peter’s life and death, and John’s life and death. Peter needed to focus on his relationship to Yeshua, and follow Yeshua the way he should. He was not to be distracted by Yeshua’s plans for John. Yeshua asked Peter to trust Him for Peter’s life and death, and John’s life and death. And the same is true for us. No matter what happens to our Christian or Messianic Jewish friends, whether they do well or do poorly, whether they experience success or failure or tragedy, we must look to Yeshua and follow Him.

John informs us that Yeshua’s response to Peter became known and a rumor went around that John would not die. Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Yeshua 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?” John corrects the rumor that Yeshua promised that he would remain alive until Yeshua returned. That is not what Yeshua said. And, although John may have been the last of the Lord’s representatives to die, die he did.

Notice the details that John recorded for us: Seven of them – not six, not eight or nine, were there at the Kinneret. Peter took the initiative and suggested they fish. They fished during the night but caught no fish. Early in the morning a mysterious stranger on the shore told them to throw the net on the right side, not the left side or the front or back of the boat. No one recognized the mysterious stranger at first. They caught such a large amount of fish they couldn’t haul the net in. John was the first to understand that the mysterious stranger was the risen Messiah. Peter had taken off his outer garment, but put it back on and jumped into the water and swam back to shore, which was about a hundred yards away. Fish were cooking on a fire, and some bread was there. Yeshua asked them to bring some of the fish they caught. Peter climbed back into the boat, dragged the net ashore, which had exactly 153 fish. It was unusual for a net with so many large fish not to tear, but this net didn’t. After they ate a breakfast of bread and fish, Yeshua asked Peter not once, not twice, not four times, but three times if he loved Him. He asked Peter to demonstrate His love for Him by taking care of the people in Messiah’s Community. Yeshua hinted to Peter how he would die, but when Peter asked about John’s future, Yeshua refused to disclose it. A rumor that John would not die was based on a misunderstanding of Yeshua’s words to Peter about John.

These details let us know this is based on the testimony of someone who was there. And, John makes it crystal clear that he was there, and wrote what he saw and hear, and affirms that what he wrote is true, and that he is a faithful witness. This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

So, we have the testimony of a man of the Chosen People, the people chosen by God to be His witnesses to the nations of the world. We have the testimony of a man who was educated. He could read and write in Greek, and almost assuredly in Hebrew as well. We have the testimony of an intelligent man. He understood the dynamics of relationships and the politics of his day; and he understood the Hebrew Scriptures. We have the testimony of a man who came from a prominent family. He was known by the high priest and had access to his home.

We have the testimony of a man who was one of Yeshua’s disciples, but not just any disciple, a disciple who was part of Yeshua’s inner circle; a disciple whom Yeshua loved and confided in; the disciple to whom Yeshua entrusted His mother to. Is it rational to believe the testimony of a man like this? Yes, it is.

John concludes what may be the greatest book ever written, by telling us that, in once sense, it is incomplete. Yeshua 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. What John recorded was only the tip of the iceberg. Yeshua did so many more amazing things that if John had the time and resources, he could write book after book after book after book about them, so many books that it could fill library after library after library.

And, if what the amazing things that Yeshua did for a mere three or four years could fill so many books, think about all the amazing things we can look forward to experiencing and learning from the Resurrected Messiah, the living Lord, who is also the Son of God – throughout eternity.

Lord, thank You for this great book, which may be the greatest of all books.

Thank You for John, who wrote this book, and who is among the greatest of all men.

Thank You for Yeshua, who is the Greatest Man Who Ever Lived; who did the greatest miracles; who taught the greatest truths; who brought the world the greatest message – a message about Himself and our need to believe in Him.

Thank You for the life of Yeshua, which was the greatest life ever lived, and thank You for Yeshua’s death, which is the greatest of all deaths; and thank You for Yeshua’s great miracles, which tell us so much about who He is; and thank You for Yeshua’s resurrection, which is the greatest of all victories.

Help us live in a way that is consistent with these realities.

And help us carry on Yeshua’s mission, which is the greatest of all missions.