JOHN - Chapter 21 - Coals of Fire Kindled Print E-mail

JOHN – Chapter 21 – Coals of Fire Kindled

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

September 25, 2017, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


2Sa 22:13 - Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled.


The battle of the Passover Feast was now over.  The Apostles returned to their homes.   The Apostles now wait for the LORD who was to go before them into Galilee.  On their return home, they took up their old employment as fishermen. 

On their journey back to Galilee, they might well have sung again the words of the Hallel; God is the Lord, which has shown us LightPsa. 118:27 (or kindled for us the flame.)  The Light of the world has risen from the dead and is alive.

In the evening seven of them set out a-fishing on their inland sea: Peter, John, James, Thomas, Nathaniel and two others whose names are not given---possibly Andrew and Philip.

They took a large fishing boat towing a small one behind. (Vs. 8)

These seven fishermen had a disappointing night of it.  They had let down their nets during these long hours with no result.  In the grey dawn of morning, when nature was still slumbering, they pull their boat toward the shore.

21:4-7:  When the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore; but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.  Then Jesus said to them, Children, have you any meat?  They answered Him, No.   And he said to them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.  The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, It is the Lord.  Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat to him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

Every detail of the gospel is significant.  Here we see two wonders; the sudden, enormous catch of fish; and that the net that held the huge catch did not break.

21:8-9:  The other disciples came in a little boat; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits—100 yards) dragging the net with fishes.  As soon then as they came to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish and bread laid thereon.  Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land full of great fishes, one hundred and fifty-three; for all there were so many, yet the net did not break.  Jesus said to them, Come and dine.

The coals, the fish, and the bread are all miraculous.  Jesus did not perform this miracle out of existing material at hand, as He did when he multiplied the five loaves and two fish in the wilderness (Jn. 6: 9-12).  Here He simply creates out of nothing.  The Apostles are about to partake of a heavenly meal.  These are coals of fire from Heaven.

Unchecked Copy Box2Sa 22:13 - Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled.

Unchecked Copy BoxPsa. 18:12-13: - At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.  The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.

 No one dared ask any questions, knowing that it was the Lord.   Luke records that Jesus ate with them. (Lk. 24:30; 43)  John reports this was now the third time Jesus showed Himself to his disciples after He was risen from the dead. (Vs. 14)

I choose to use the explanation by Blessed Theophylact for this section: (1055-1107)

“The appearance of the Lord and the miraculous catch of fish may be understood in a spiritual sense.  It was night throughout the whole period of the Old Testament before Christ, the Sun of Righteousness appeared.  The darkness of idolatry held sway and the prophets labored but caught nothing.  Even though they appeared to have caught one nation, Israel, in their net, it was as if the prophets had caught nothing because even that nation repeatedly fell into idolatry.  But, in the morning the Sun of righteousness shone forth, and the apostolic net was let down on the right side.  This represents right doctrine, compared to which the law and the prophets are on the left because they are incomplete.  When this net is hauled up, it brings to Christ not only Gentiles, represented by the hundred, but also Israelites, the fifty---The Gentiles and the Jews would amount to nothing.  For without faith in the Trinity, no one can be caught in the apostle’s net.  The words Come and Dine convey a hidden meaning: refreshment and delight follow after holy labors.  Thus we see that every word and deed of Christ is replete with mysteries.  Even the apparently simple error of Mary in mistaking Christ for the gardener conceals a hidden meaning; in the garden of the tomb appeared the true Husbandman of paradise, setting aright womankind and converting from deception and ignorance her who had deceived Adam, the first gardener.  When the Lord turned Mary about and revealed to her the resurrection (Jn. 20:14-16), this was a sign that womankind had been converted and exalted.” (End of quote by Blessed Theophylact – 1055-1107)

The curse of the woman was broken at the Cross.

I want to come back to the miraculous fire of coals.  Last night in our study of C. R. Oliver’s book, En Punto, he quoted Isaiah 50:1:  Look, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with sparks; walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled---This you shall have from My hand; you shall lie down in torment.

“The Lord differentiated between the true flame, which lights the path of man and the light kindled by man.  God’s light directs man’s path to obedience and the exact plan of God.  The difference is the brilliance of the sun, compared to the embers of ashes.  The “ember” portion of that difference is where the church is today.  Encircled with the embers of a fire kindled by the hands of man, the church rejoices while languishing in ignorance of the true light.  God’s people who obey His voice and fear the Lord, walk in a brilliance unknown to and never experienced by them. (C. R. Oliver)

Jesus fed and commissioned the apostles from the flame of Heaven on that beautiful morning by the sea of Tiberias.  Oh Lord Jesus I ask for the blessing of the flame of Heaven and the bread of heaven.

God is the Lord, which has shown us Light or kindled for us the flame.

2Sa 22:13 - Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled. 

21:15-17: So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonah, love you Me more than these?  He said to Him, Yea, Lord; You know that I love you.  He said to him, Feed My lambs.  He said to him again the second time, Simon son of Jonah, love you Me?  He said to Him, yea, Lord; You know that I love You.  He said to him, Feed My sheep.  He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonah, love you Me?  Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, Love you Me?  And he said to Him, Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.  Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep.

From these coals of a heavenly flame, Jesus commissions Peter to the task of protecting the entire flock of believers throughout the world.  He gives this responsibility to Peter alone.  The three fold declaration of love is to blot out his three-fold sin of denial.  As described by Blessed Theophylact, “This began the Orthodox Church’s practice of requiring a triple confession of faith from those who would be baptized.”

Many doctrines of the church today have redefined the gospel to identify with their spiritual walk.  I do not want to ever redefine the gospel to agree with where I am in my walk.  I want my walk to come into alignment with the pure gospel. 

When questioned the third time, Peter began to fear that perhaps he did not really love Christ, so he appeals to Him, who knows the hearts of men to be his witness.  I remember when that question was asked of me, and I cried out to the Lord, to reveal my heart.  Like Peter, I couldn’t say, I could only ask the Lord to help me to love him more.

Note there is a difference between lambs and sheep, and also between feed and tend.  Lambs signify beginners in the faith; sheep those more mature.  He who loves Christ has charge of both lambs and sheep.  We the church must feed the lambs, and will tend the sheep.  This means to apply stricter care for those more mature in faith.  Yet, patience and sometimes long-suffering to the lambs.

21:18-19: Verily, verily, I say to you (Peter), when you were young, you girded yourself, and walked where you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry you where you would not.  This spoke He, signifying by what death he should glorify God.  And when He had spoken this, He said to him, Follow Me.

The Lord entrusted all the faithful to Peter’s care.  James the Brother of the Lord, received the throne of Jerusalem; Peter the throne of the whole world.  Having spoken thus, the Lord continues; Follow Me, which means walk in My footsteps, imitate Me, and fulfill all My commandments, do as I have done.  (Living Kodak color copy of Jesus). 

Ministers of the gospel, what is your commission? Do not allow a spirit of seduction to take over your gifts and callings that you draw people to yourself for fame, name, or money.  We must always follow Jesus, revealing him, not ourselves, nor redefining the gospel to glorify ourselves.  

21: 20-23: Then Peter, turning about, sees the disciple whom Jesus loved following; who also leaned on His breast at supper, and said, Lord which is he that betrayed you?  Peter seeing him said to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?  Jesus said to him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you?  Follow Me.  Then went this saying abroad among the brethren that this disciple should not die; yet Jesus did not say, He shall not die; but if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you?

Peter you have been commissioned with a work.  Do it, and follow Me.  I am leading you to preach the Gospel, and I entrust the whole world to your care.  If I want this man to remain here in Galilee, what is that to you? 

Blessed Theophylact: “It is said that the Apostle John lived and preached in the hill country of Judea until the reign of Vespasian (A.D. 69), then departed when Jerusalem was about to fall and be destroyed.  Legend has it that at that time, He moved to Ephesus in Asia Minor.  He became the pastor of the church in Ephesus. McBernie states that John died peacefully around the age of 100 at Ephesus.  Theophylact quotes an interesting theory of Saint John Chrysostom (349-407) that John and Elijah will be the two witnesses.  There are many theories of the two witnesses.  This one is interesting.  John Chrysostom proposed that John went into the grave alive.  I do not propose this as doctrine.  I simply found it interesting---giving you information.  So many today declare their theory of the two witnesses.  I have read many theories.  I don’t know.  

  When the apostles were entrusted with the great work of preaching the gospel, their time together was at an end.  Each was required to depart to the country appointed him.  Formerly, Peter lacked the courage to ask Christ who was the betrayer and had John inquire for him.  Now having been entrusted with the pastoral care of the whole world, Peter does not hesitate to question the Savior about John.  He would still have been a teenager; and no doubt Peter was concerned for his well being.  After all, Peter has just been told that he will die a martyr for the gospel of the Kingdom of God. 

It is marvelous how humbly John corrects those who thought that he would never die because they misinterpreted the Lord’s words.  Jesus used the word tarry, not to imply that John was immortal, but to indicate that he would stay behind in Palestine and not accompany Peter.

 The Lord is defining that the apostles will have separate apostolic ministries.

21:24-25:  This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.  There are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.  Amen.

John testifies that what he has written is true.  Christ loved John and was never absent from his presence.

When I finish teaching a Book of the Bible it is always like parting from a beloved friend or family member.  I would like to preach and teach it on through eternity.  I have been blessed and honored in my life time to teach/preach the Book of John in its entirety three times.  This teaching has been deeper, richer and sweeter than before. 

Let us close with Theophylact’s prayer:

“O reader, may we never allow the Lord’s words and deeds to pass into oblivion among us.  May we ever open this book of the beloved disciple to delve into the treasure of Jesus’ words and miracles contained here-in.  And so, having been granted power to purify ourselves in thought, word, and deed, may we also on the day of revelation be counted worthy of those ineffable deeds and mysteries that surpassed our comprehension while we were in the world.  May we be made perfect in Christ who loved us, and who, through His beloved disciple, has enlightened us in the theology and knowledge of Him, and of the Father, and of the Holy Spirit, to Whom be glory unto the ages. Amen.”  

Come and Dine - Lyrics by: Charles D. Widemeyer (1907)

Scripture John 4:31-32; Luke 14:15; John 21:12

Jesus has a table spread

Where the saints of God are fed,

He invites His chosen people, "Come and dine";

With His manna he doth feed

And supplies our every need:

Oh, 'tis sweet to sup with Jesus all the time!


"Come and dine, the Master calledth, "Come and dine";

You may feast jesus' table all the time;

He who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine,

To the hungry called now, "Come and dine."

The disciples came to land,

Thus obeying Christ's command,

For the Masted called unto them, "Come and dine";

There they found their heart's desire,

Bread and fish upon the fire;

Thus He satisfies the hungry every time.

Soon the Lamb will take His bride

To be ever by his side. 

All the host of heaven will assembled be;

Oh, 'twell be a glorious sigh,

all the saints in spotless white; 

And with Jesus they will feast etrnally. 

Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Churc 

I entered into tge labors of Charles D. Widemeyer, Come and Dine; Most Blessed Theophylact, the Gospel of John; St. John  Chrysostom. Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those I entered into their labor.s 

I must make one personal comment that may years ago; an angel touched my lips with a coal of fire.  Oh Lord Jesus, let  your church be touched with the coals of fire from heaven's altar.  Oh, Jesus, help us to love you so we may follow you.

Unchecked Copy BoxIsa 6:6 - Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:

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