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Sermon Notes + 4.21.2024



Cast the Net
John 21:1-14
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor

Overview: The final chapter of John’s gospel details the third resurrection appearance of Jesus to the disciples. Seven of the original twelve disciples go fishing one night on the Sea of Tiberias but catch nothing. Jesus stands on the shore inquiring about their results and then advises the disciples to cast their net on the right side of the boat. Their immediate success with the great quantity of fish leads John to recognize that the instructions have come from Jesus Himself. Peter’s elation leads him to dive into the sea and swim to Jesus, whereas the other disciples bring the boat and the fish to shore. Jesus has already prepared a meal for the disciples, but as they eat, none of the disciples ask about His identity. They know they are in the presence of the Lord and that He is their source and supply of all things. We, too, can take comfort in knowing that Jesus will transform us into people He can use to enlarge His kingdom and enjoy fellowship together with Him.

01. Jesus uses the most ordinary people to fulfill His mission. Regardless of our background or lack of personal potential, every believer may be used of God to reach others for the kingdom of God.

02. Jesus uses the most ordinary means to fulfill His mission. Regardless of our strength or personal potential, every believer must rely on the Word and Spirit to reach others for the kingdom of God.

03. Jesus provides no ordinary incentive to fulfill His mission. Regarding our service in this life, every believer shall present their work for the kingdom to the Lord and enjoy fellowship with Him.


1. What stands out about the disciples listed in verse 2? Why do you suppose the disciples are not all together (only seven are present)? Why doesn’t John list them all by name? Are you surprised that they decide to go fishing (verse 3)? What else might they have done instead?

2. Why didn’t the disciples recognize Jesus right away? Was it due to the distance of the boat, the time of day, or the nature of His resurrection body? How did they come to realize that it was Jesus speaking to them (verse 7)? In what ways does God seem to keep His presence hidden from us today, even though He is everywhere and aware of all things?

3. What is the significance of Jesus’ question, “Children, do you have any fish” and the answer that follows (verse 5)? How does this passage speak to our inability to do things for God and His kingdom in our own strength? How has the Lord brought you to the awareness that apart from Him, you can do nothing?

4. How does the imagery of going from sea to shore parallel that of our earthly journey and heavenly destination? Is there any significance to the precise number of fish that were caught in the net and presented to Jesus? What is the significance of the disciples arriving to shore and fellowshipping with Jesus?

5. In what ways are you reaching out to others with the gospel message? How has the Lord gifted you to reach people that others may not be able to reach? Pray that the Lord would work among us to bring others into His kingdom.

For Further Reading: Timothy George, Faithful Witness: The Life and Mission of William Carey (New Hope, 1991)