Back to chapter listing

Chapter 21
quick navigation to the verses:
| 1-3 | 4 -7a | 7b | 8-9 | 10-11 | 12-14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18-19 | 20-23 | 24-25


21:1-3 (After these things Jesus again made Himself visible to the disciples upon the Sea of Tiberias. But He made Himself visible in this way. They (continually) were together Simon Peter and Thomas, the one being said/called Twofold, and Nathanael, the one from Cana of Galilee, and the sons (א,* א) of Zebedee and two others out of His disciples. Simon Peter says to them: “I withdraw to fish.” They say to Him: “We come, and/also we, together with you.” They so (א,* א) came out and stepped in into the boat. And in that night they seized/caught nothing.

Word for word:21:1 (17 words in the Greek text; the sequence of the words according to Sinaiticus) After these-(things) made-visible again himself the Jesus (to)-the disciples upon the sea (of)-the (of)-Tiberias. (he)-made-visible but in-this-way. 21:2 (27 words in the Greek text) were-(continually) together Simon Peter and Thomas, the-(one) being-said Twofold and Nathanael the-(one) from Cana (of)-the (of)-Galilee and the sons (of)-Zebedee and others out-of the disciples his two. 21:3 (27 words in the Greek text Sinaiticus) says (to)-them Simon Peter: (i/I)-withdraw (to)-fish. (they)-say (to)-him: (we)-come and we together-with you. (they)-came-out so and stepped-in into the boat, and in that the night (they)-seized nothing.


The Former Revelation (preliminary translation):

Noah found joybringing (grace) opposite the Lord God. (Gen 6:8, Greek OT; cf. with the meaning of the name John = joybringing grace)

In this day Noah, Shem, Ham, Japhet, sons of Noah, and the woman of Noa and the three women of his sons in company with him went into, into the chest/ark. ... And every/all flesh being stirred upon the earth died ... every man. ... Noah alone was ‘left entirely’/spared and the ones (being) in company with him in the chest/arch. (Gen 7:13b,21,23b, Greek OT)

(God said to Noah and his sons:) "All the fishes/fish upon the sea, I have given (and give) under your hands." (Gen 9:2b, Greek OT)

(Moses said to Pharao:) “After these things I will come/go out.” … (Ex 11:8b, Greek OT)

(Solomon said:) “Seize/catch foxes for us, small ones ‘making ... unseen’/disfiguring vineyards, and our vineyards flower.” (Song of Solomon 2:15, Greek OT)

(The Lord said:) “Days come, and they do not speak: ‘Till/’as long as’ the Lord lives, the One having led up the sons of Israel out of earth/land of Egypt’ however/but: ‘You live, Lord, who led up the house of Israel from earth/land of north wind and from all the districts, where they there were marked ‘out out of’/out by boundaries.’ And I will restore them into their earth/land, which I gave to their fathers. Behold, I dispatch away the many fishermen… and they will fish them. … And they will have knowledge, that My name (is) the Lord.” (Jer 16:14b-16a,21b, Greek OT)

(The Lord said to the prophet about Judas:) “Behold, … I will make visible/known to them to listen to (Me), and I will be a physician to her, and I will make peace and faith (with) them. (Jer 33:6, Greek OT)

(Solomon said to the Lord:) “You have arranged every thing throughout (with) measure and number and standing-place/balance.” (Wisdom of Solomon 11:20b)

(Jesus, the son of Sirach, said:) “Wisdom is downwards/’in conformity to’ its name, and she is not visible to many.” (Sir 6:22)


The Latter Revelation:

Walking about to the side of the Sea of the Galilee, (Jesus) beheld two brothers, Simon, the one being said/called Peter, and Andrew his brother, throwing a casting-net into the sea, for they (continually/-) were fishermen. And He says to them: "Come here behind Me and I will make you fishermen of men." (Matt 4:18-19)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) "The kingdom of the heavens is like a drag-net having been thrown into the sea and led together (fish) out of every descent." (Matt 13:47)

Jesus dispatched away two disciples. (Matt 21:1b)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) ”After ‘to rise Me’/’I have rised’, I will lead/go before you into Galilee.” (Matt 26:32)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) “It/there is not anything (א,* א, A) hidden, if not – according to the circumstances – in order that it may be made visible, nor it became hidden away, however/but in order that it might come into (the) visible.” (Mark 4:22)

(Jesus) dispatches away two of His disciples. (Mark 11:1b)

(Under) the command of Tiberius … Herod being leader of a fourth of Galilee …, a word of God became/came against/to John … (Luke 3:1a,2b)

Simon said (to Jesus): "Having bothered through a whole night we took nothing." ... And James and John, sons of Zebedee, ... (continually) were companions (with) Simon. (Luke 5:5b,10a)

After these things (Jesus) came out and viewed a toll collector (with) name Levi, being seated against the toll-house. And He says (א,* א) to him: “Follow Me!” (Luke 5:27)

(Some Pharisees said to Jesus:) “Come out and go from here, because Herod wants to kill You.” And He spoke to them: “Having gone speak to this fox: ‘Behold, I throw out little demons, and healings I end off today and (the) following day, and the third (day) I am made perfect.’” (Luke 13:31b-32)

The lord spoke towards the slave: “Come/go out into/to the ways and enclosures and urge (men) to come in, in order that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) “Entirely as it became in the days of Noah, in this way it will be and/also in the days of the Son of the Man. They (continually) ate, they (continually) drank, they (continually) took to wife, they (continually) were wed until which/that day Noah came into the chest/ark, and the inundation came and perished all of them(א,*א,A).” (Luke 17:26-27)

(Jesus said to His apostles:) “You will take ability, on the Holy Spirit's having come against, against you, and you will be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in every/all Judea and Samaria and till (the) last/end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

(The twelve said to the multitude of the disciples:) “‘Inspect out of you seven males ... filled of spirit and wisdom.” (Acts 6:3a)

(Peter said:) “These six brother came together with me, and we came into, into the house of the male.” (Acts 11:12b)

(The crowds) (continually) called Barnabas ‘(the) brilliant one’/Zeus but/and Paul, Hermes, ‘already since’/since he (continually) was ‘the one in command of the saying’/’the chief speaker’. ... Barnabas (continually) and/also wished to take John, the one being called Mark, to the side of (himself and Paul) together with (them). (Acts 14:12; 15:37)


The Apostle, the eighth and one of the seven:

After these things it/there (continually/-) was the (א,*א) feast of the Jews, and Jesus ascended into (a disgraced) Jerosolyma/Jerusalem. (John 5:1)

After these things Jesus went away on the other side of the Sea of the Galilee of the Tiberias. (John 6:1)

(Jesus') brothers said to Him: “No one makes/does anything in the hidden. One seeks and/also oneself be/’express oneself’ in plain language. If You make/do these things, make Yourself visible to the adornment/’adorned world’.” (John 7:4)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) “‘Us must’/’it is necessary to us to’ work (for) the works of the One having sent us (P66,P75,א*), till/’as long as’ it is day. Night comes, when no one is able to work.” (John 9:4)

The priest leaders and the Pharisees had given (and gave) commandments/orders, in order that if – according to the circumstances – anyone might gain knowledge of where He is, he might inform, in that way (that) they might seize Him. (John 11:57)


Exegetes, evangelists and others:

about 2000 and time before

In Jubilees ... is told about the covenant with Noah, which is said to have been made just during (Whitsuntide). (Göran Larsson "Tid för Gud, Judiska och kristna perspektiv på de judiska högtiderna" p 64; translation from the Swedish text)

There are a number of similarities between the heavenly journey in the Testament of Levi and the one depicted in 1 En. 12-16. Above all they deal with heavenly journeys designed as temple visions. Another common characteristic, which Nickelsburg brings to light, is the geographical localization to Galilee. ... Nickelsburg takes up (an) event which has connection to (Upper Galilee) ... namely Peter's admission that Jesus is the Messiah. (Leif Carlsson ”Round trips to heaven” p 124-125)

The use of this adverb (together, grt homou) is somewhat unlike what we have seen in John 4:36. On the other hand it resembles the style of Luke in the Acts. A scientist, Boismard, has in an article mentioned also other characteristic features of Luke in chapter 21. (René Kieffer "Johannesevangeliet" p 470; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

"Hallo, we meet tomorrow", Eva-Lotta said. And so she laughed content for herself. "The red ones" thought they would get hold of the Big "Mumrik", haha!" "But there they went wide of the mark", Kalle said. "See, that night they caught nothing", Anders said lowering himself down the rope. (Astrid Lindgren "Mästerdetektiven Blomkvist lever farligt" p 53; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

It would of course be the most light, sweet feeling to feel oneself be in so near connection with God, that one felt his holiness flow through all one's inner man. Do you think this is what the Oxfordists feel? If I have read rightly in their writings, so an Oxfordist always becomes converted by this that Jesus reveals himself for him. If it is so, one can of course no wonder that that man then wholly devotes himself to the service of his Saviour. But I have not had such an experience and therefore I am neither anything more than a usual child of the world. . . . . . . I prayed to God, that he would forgive me my sins, against him and against all men, particularly against you, a person I did so unhappy last night. No, I do not asked for any special grace for you, I only asked for forgiveness for me, poor, sinful man. And I thought it was such a silly, frugal prayer, for who was I that I would pray God to forgive just me. I wanted, that I had been able to pray for peace and for the thing that the whole world would be spared from the distress of the war, but I was only able to pray "Forgive me my sins", over and over again. And during this I had no thought, that this could help my bad heart. I had wanted to pray much more beautiful, more touching with more humbleness. But nevertheless, can you understand this, I became helped. The hard pain in my heart disappeared. It was not this I had prayed for, I only had asked for forgiveness for my sins. But during this prayer the bodily pain disappeared. I was so astonished and so glad and so thankful. (Selma Lagerlöf "Brev 2 - 1903-1940" p 358-360; letters 1939-03-26 and 1939-08-27 to Ida Bäckmann; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

Fishing on the (sea of Tiberias) was free to all. The Talmud mentions this as one of the ten ordinances given by Joshua of old (Baba Kama, 80b). (Alfred Edersheim “Jewish Social Life”, p 40)


Examples of other quoted authors in the Swedish version: Samuel Josef Agnon, Ewert Amnefors, Erika André, Werner Aspenström, Honoré de Balzac, Staffan Beijer, Karl-Erik Bergh, Enid Blyton, Olof von Dalin, Sven Danell, Marcellus Emants, Erland Engdahl, LarsOlov Eriksson, Rol Gording, Carl Grimberg, Lennart Gustavsson, Märta Hallander, Alf Henrikson, Erik Johannesson, Edvard Johansson, Eskil Jonsson, Inge Kvarnström, Amy Le Feuvre, Sigurd Lindgren, Josef Lundin, Carl Henrik Martling, Vilhelm Moberg, Wilhelm Möller, Karl Palmberg, Anna M. Roos, Gunnar Rudberg, Viktor Rydberg, Nelly Sachs, Erik Sonesson, August Strindberg, Joachim Ståhl, Anton Tjechov, Johan Turi, Gustaf Wikner, Thecla Wrangel.


My own comments and speculations:

Up to now John has mentioned nine of the twelve apostles (cf. My own comments and speculations to John 6:70-71 and 13:23-25 + the information about “Judas – not Iscariot” in John 14:22). Now “the list of the apostles” is completed with James (“sons of Zebedee”) and the “two others”.

In the days of Noah there were eight persons who entered the ark of salvation. Now in the days of the Son of the Man seven persons go into the boat to meet their Saviour. But Thomas Twofold corresponds two persons. In the order of John he is both the second here in John 21:2 and the seventh in John 11:16.

In the Gospels of Mark (3:18) and Luke (6:15) Thomas is named as the eighth and in Matt (10:3) as the seventh apostle. In the Gospel of Matthew the apostle Matthew places himself as the eighth, while he in the two other gospels is named as the seventh apostle. Perhaps this is a way to Matthew to confess his belonging to a new period in God's salvation history. Matthew is also the eight apostle in the Acts (1:13).

It is notable, that Thomas in Acts 1:13 is named as the sixth. In Jewish number symbolism this is a negative number. Possibly this can be connected with the situation described in John 20:24-29.

The apostle John is here in John 21:2 one of the seven disciples, number four or number five. However, in a deeper spiritual meaning – when Thomas is reckoned as two – he is number five or number six – of eight disciples. In the Synoptics the brother James is placed before John (Matt 10:2; Mark 3:17; Luke 6:14), but in the Acts – after the resurrection of Jesu – John is placed before James. John does not here i John 21:2 consider, which of the brothers who shall be counted as number four (five) or as number five (six). More important is that he is one of seven and at the same time the eighth apostle (see My own comments and speculations to John 13:23-25). And in the kingdom which one cannot behold without having been begotten from above (John 3:3), John also in an invisible way can be seen as one of eight.

The number seven so symbolizes the end of an old period, while the number eight signifies the beginning of a new period, different from the old. So the Church, being in the adornment/’adorned world’ but not of the adornment/’adorned world’, is in a borderland between what is old and what is new. Compare My own comments and speculations to John 7:37-38.

The Greek word ”piazô”, translated by ”seize/catch”, is rare in the OT. We only have it in Song of Solomon 2:15 and in Sir 23:21. In John, except in 21:3,10, it is used of the attempts from the Jews to “seize/catch” Jesus. The attempts of the darkness to catch the Light now is changed to a situation when the disciples of the Light catch men in the “adornment/’adorned world’ sea” of Tiberias, a.town named after the Roman caesar Tiberius, who had “the fox” Herod in his office (Luke 13:31-32; cf. Song of Solomon 2:15).

In a restoration perspective we can see how the two parents of the welcomed son (John) in the fulfilment of the Messianic time are mentioned in a special way in contrast to what is true of the parents of the other apostles (see John 19:25-27 and John 21:2). This answers to how the two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, of the welcomed son (Joseph) at the distribution of the earth of the conquested land got districts of their own. On the other hand Joseph himself got no district, which was especially connected with his name. Nor the name of the apostle John gets any special mention in his Gospel.


Peter said: "In (the ark) few/’a few’ – this is eight souls – were saved throughout, through water." (1 Pet 3:20b)

Peter said: “(God) did not spare the adornment/’adorned world’ of (a) beginning, however/but He watched/kept an eighth Noah, a herald of righteousness, (when) He lead an inundation of (א*) an adornment/’adorned world’ upon wicked.” (2 Pet 2:5)

And the life was made visible, and we have beheld (and behold) and we are witnesses and bring a message to you (about) the agelong life, whichever/which (continually) was towards the Father and was made visible to you. (1 John 1:2)

If – according to the circumstances – He may be made visible, we may have ‘plain language’/frankness and not (have to) be put a shame to from Him ‘in His being by the side of’/’at His coming’. (1 John 2:28b)


Greek words:

(h)alieuô (fish) Jer 16:16; John 21:3.

Zebedaios (Zebedee) Luke 5:10; John 21:2 – Matt 4:21; 10:2; 20:20; 26:37; 27:56; Mark 1:19-20; 3:17; 10:35.


Additional studies:

Matt 24:37-38; 28:7; Mark 14:28; 16:7; John 1:45-49; 2:1; 11:16; 20:19,24,26; 21:14; Acts 1:3; 13:31; Rev 1:11,19; 4:1,6; 7:9; 15:5; 17:11; 18:1,17-19.


John Breck "John 21: Appendix, Epilogue or Conclusion?"; Saint Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 36 (1992): 27-49.

Peter F. Ellis "The Authenticity of John 21"; Saint Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 36 (1992): 17-25.

Wayne Grudem "Christ Preaching Through Noah: 1 Peter 3:19-20 In the Light of Dominant Themes in Jewish Literature"; Trinity Journal 7.2 (1986): 3-31.

Charles E. Hill "The Identity of John's Nathaniel"; Journal for the Study of the New Testament 67 (1997): 45-61.

Paul S. Minear "The Original Functions of John 21"; Journal of Biblical Literature 102 (1983): 85-98.

Frans N. Neirynck "John 21"; New Testament Studies 36 (1990): 321-336.

Mikeal C. Parsons "Appendices in the New Testament"; Themelios 17.2 (January/February 1992): 11-13.

Patrick E. Spencer "Narrative Echoes in John 21: Intertextual Interpretation and Intratextual Connection"; Journal for the Study of the New Testament 75 (1999): 49-68.


(Original version 2007-12-01; revised version 2009-06-06; 2012-05-15; 2014-12-14)

Back to the top

21:4-7a (But having already become early Jesus stood against (א,* א, A) the beach. Nevertheless the disciples had not knowledge (P66,א,*א), that it is Jesus. Jesus so says to them: “Little boys, have you not any additional food?” They answered Him: “Not/no.” * (א*) He says (א*) to them: “Throw the net into/towards the right part of the boat, and you will find.” But/and (א*) they threw the net, and they were not any longer stable (enough) to draw it from/’owing to’ the multitude of fishes/fish. So the disciple, that one whom Jesus (continually) welcomed, says to Peter: “It is the Lord.”

Word for word: 21:4 (17 words in the Greek text) early but already having-become stood Jesus against the beach. not nevertheless had-knowledge the disciples that Jesus (it)-is. 21:5 (12 words in the Greek text Sinaiticus) says so (to)-them Jesus: little-boys, not any additional-food have-(you)? (they)-answered him: not. 21:6 (26 words in the Greek text Sinaiticus prima manus) (he)-says (to)-them: throw into the right parts/part (of)-the (of)-boat the net, and (you)-will-find. they but threw, and not-any-longer it draw stable from the multitude (of)-the (of)-fishes. 21:7a (14 words in the Greek text) says so the disciple that-(one) whom welcomed the Jesus (to)-the Peter: the lord (it)-is.


The Former Revelation (preliminary translation):

Israel (continually) welcomed Joseph ‘to the side of’/’in comparison with’ all his sons. (Gen 37:3a, Greek OT)

Joseph gained additional knowledge of his brothers, but they did not gain additional knowledge of him. (Gen 42:8, Greek OT)

(The Lord said to Moses:) "You shall to (Aaron) be the things (being) towards God." (Ex 4:16b, Greek OT)

The fishes/fish in the river ‘came to an end’/died. (Ex 7:21a, Greek OT)

(David said: “God is as) an early light ‘to stick up sun/’when the sun sticks up’.” (2 Sam 23:4a, Greek OT)

(Hiram) made two nets to veil/cover around the ‘the put on’/capital of the two (temple) pillars. (1 Kings 7:17a, Greek OT)

(David said: “The Lord) is out of my right (parts), in order that I may not be moved to and fro.” (Ps 16:8b, Greek OT)

(David said to the Lord:) "I have wished the thing to make/do Your will, my God, and (to have) your law in a middle of my belly." (Ps 40:8 alt. 40:9, Greek OT)

(David said: “The Lord) stood by the side of (me), ‘out of ‘/’on the basis of’ (the) right (parts) of a needy to save out of the ones entirely pursuing my soul.” (Ps 109:31, Greek OT)

(The Lord said:) “Days come, and they do not speak: ‘Till/’as long as’ the Lord lives, the One having led up the sons of Israel out of earth/land of Egypt’ however/but: 'You live, Lord, who led up the house of Israel from earth/land of north wind and from all the districts, where they there were marked ‘out out of’/out by boundaries.' And I will restore them into their earth/land, which I gave to their fathers. Behold, I dispatch away the many fishermen… and they will fish them. … And they will have knowledge, that My name (is) the Lord.” (Jer 16:14b-16a,21b, Greek OT)

(Habbakkuk said to the Lord:) “You will make the men as the fishes/fish of the sea and as the creeping animals the ones having not (anyone) being in command.” (Hab 1:14, Greek OT)

Bachides and the firmament/stronghold of the (walled) camp (were) in the right (parts), and all the courageous ones in the heart came together with him. (1 Macc 9:14b)

(Solomon said: ”Lord,) to be greatly stable is always ’by the side of’/’at hand’ for You.” (Wisdom of Solomon 11:21a)

(Solomon said to the Lord:) “In stead of (destruction) You gave Your people morsels (with) nourishment of messengers, and You offered them bread from heaven without bother, (bread) being stable to every enjoyment.” (Wisdom of Solomon 16:20a)

(Solomon said to God: “You) took off/away a multitude of children (of the Egyptians) for Yourself and perished (them) unanimously in ‘an extreme’/’a vehement’ water.” (Wisdom of Solomon 18:5b)

(Wisdom said:) “As a date in/at beaches I was heightened up.” (Sir 24:14a, BS*A)


The Latter Revelation:

(Jesus said to His disciples:) "Who is out of you, a man, whom his son will demand a (piece of) bread, he will not 'give on'/hand him a stone, (will he)? Or and/also will demand a fish, he will not 'give on'/hand him a serpent, (will he)?" (Matt 7:9-10)

(Jesus said to the Pharisees:) “The ones ‘being stable’/’feeling well’ have not need of a physician, however/but the ones ‘having badly’/’being bad’.” (Matt 9:12b)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) "The kingdom of the heavens is like a drag-net having been thrown into the sea and led together (fish) out of every descent, which, when it was completed, having caused (it) to go/come up against the beach and having sat down, they collected the fine ones into receptacles, but the rotten/bad ones they threw outside." (Matt 13:47-48)

(The Son of the Man) will indeed cause the sheep to stand out/’on the basis’ of His right (parts) but the little he-goats out/’on the basis’ of the ’(parts) of a good name’/’left (parts)’. Then the king will speak to the ones out/’on the basis’ of His right (parts): "Come here, the (men) having been (and being) blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom having been (and being) made ready for you from a foundation of an adornment/’adorned world’." (Matt 25:33-34)

Having become early all the priest leaders and the elders of the people took counsel ‘down from’/against Jesus, ‘so that’/- to put Him to death. (Matt 27:1)

(Jesus said to Simon:) "Lead ‘up ... against’/back (the nets) into the depth and let down your nets into/for a catch." ... And having made/done this, they shut/closed together a much/great multitude of fishes/fish, but their nets (continually/repeatedly) broke through/asunder in pieces.” (Luke 5:4b,6)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) "The soul is more than the nourishment." (Luke 12:23a)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) “The Son of the Man comes (at) the hour you do not think.” (Luke 12:40b)

(Jesus said to the lawyers and Pharisees:) ”Who of you, (if) an ass (א,*א) or a cattle/’cow or an ox’ will fall into a well, will he not straightaway pull him up in/on a sabbath day?” And they were not stable (enough) to answer * (א,* א) towards/’in regard to’ these things. (Luke 14:5b-6)

(Jesus said to the many crowds:) “On (someone's) having put/laid a base (of a house) and not being stable (enough) to bring (the house) to an end all who look at (it) may begin to ‘jest with’/mock him saying that/: “This man began to build a house and was not stable (enough) to bring (it) to an end.” (Luke 14:29b-30)

All ’of them’/together of the multitude of the disciples began rejoicing to praise God (with) a great/loud voice on account of all the (works of) ability which they beheld. (Luke 19:37b)

The eyes (of the two disciples) (continually) ‘did not get power of the to gain’/’were prevented from gaining’ additional knowledge of (Jesus). (Luke 24:16)

(Jesus said to the two disciples:) "Have you something consumable hitherward?" (Luke 24:41b)

(Peter said to the Jews:) "Let you be saved from this crooked generation." The ones who indeed so having received his saying from (him) were baptized, and in that day ’as if’/about three thousand souls/persons were ‘put to’/added. (Acts 2:40b-41)

The twelve (called) to the multitude of the disciples. (Acts 6:2a)

(Luke said:) “We were hardly stable (enough) to 'become mastering'/'be able to master' the skiff.” (Acts 27:16b)


The Apostle, the eighth and one of the seven:

Jesus says to (His disciples): “My food is ‘in order that’/that I might make/do the will of the One having sent Me and make His work perfect.” (John 4:34)

(Jesus said to the crowd:) "‘Do not work (for) the consumption perishing, however/but (for) * (א,* א) (the consumption) staying into/for an agelong life, which the Son of the Man gives (א,*א) to you." (John 6:27a)

(Jesus said to the Jews:) “No one is able to come towards Me, if – according to the circumstances – not the Father having sent Me may draw him. And I will cause him to stand up * (P66c,75,א,*א) the last day.” (John 6:44)

(Jesus said:) “And, if – according to the circumstances – I may be heightened out of the earth, I will draw all (nations) (P66,א*) towards Myself." (John 12:32)

There (continually) was one out of His disciples, whom Jesus (continually) welcomed, lying up/’down to table’ in the bosom of Jesus. Simon Peter so nods to this one to inquire who it – according to the circumstances - might be on account of whom He (continually) said/spoke, and he says to Him: “Speak who it is (א,* א) on account of whom He says/speaks?” (On) that one's so * (א,* א, A) having fallen against (P66,א*)’, against the breast of Jesus, he says to Him: “Lord, who is it?” (John 13:23-25)

(Jesus said to the disciples:) "Separate from Me you are not able to make/do nothing/anything." (John 15:5b)

(Mariam) turned round and looked at Jesus standing (there), but she did not know that it was Jesus. (John 20:14b)


Exegetes, evangelists and others:

about 2000 and time before

(Madicken's and Lisabet's) little brother evidently has decided on coming to the world just exactly on Christmas Eve. . . . Father is trotting there and back through the whole house. . . . "Calm oneself", Alva says (to father). "I have had seven small sisters and brothers, so I know. It takes its time, but then it becomes so much more nice." (Astrid Lindgren "Madicken och Junibackens Pims" p 217,220; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

It is notable that never in the Gospels do the disciples catch a fish without Jesus' help. (Raymond E. Brown "The Gospel according to John" p 1071)

In John (6:44; 12:32) (helkyein/draw) is used of men's being drawn to Christ; this suggests that an allegorical interpretation of the incident may have been intended – the fishing expedition is the apostolic mission, the fish are converts. (C.K. Barrett "The Gospel according to St John" p 580)

When the words of Jesus were added, the work of the disciples was succeeded excessively, not before. For He who ordered to throw the net on the right side of the boat, He also knew, that the Lord was at the right hand of Him. (Ps 16:8) (H.M. Melin "Nya Testamentet" p 200; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

Think that it is dad's birthday and we do absolutely not know what we should do! Jansson, having been down at the bridge to fetch the salmon being ordered in Karlstad, he has come back telling that there was not any fish with the steamer. The housekeeper and aunt Lovisa, and mother also, become altogether beside themselves. They are so perplexed, that they must go out to dad, who sits on the stairs with uncle Schenson, telling how badly it is. "Here we are going to have feast for perhaps a hundred persons", aunt Lovisa says, "and we have no salmon." . . . "Keep quiet, you Lovisa!" (dad) says. "Here it will be fish for supper, and we will have it here within an hour." . . . Vicar Lindegren stands out on the little throb bridge . . . sinking down the net. He brings it there and back in the water, but when he draws it up, it is quite empty. And then all the guests of course say, that it was this they had expected. What kind of fish would there be in a pond? "Here lives nothing than frogs", uncle Schenson says. But vicar Lindegren does not give up. He unfolds the creased seine, and Johan and Daniel take off their shoes wading in the dam across to the other side with it. And so they sink the seine and drag it a bit forward over the bottom of the pond. And at once it becomes life in the water. It bubbles, as if it would have boiled. . . . They put up the seine over the surface of water. And along the whole seine one fish shimmering like gold sits beside the other. (Selma Lagerlöf "Ett barns memoarer" p 236-238; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)


Examples of other quoted authors in the Swedish version: Holger Andersson, Margit Assarsson, Oscar Bernadotte, Elisabeth Beskow, Sven Danell, Fjodor Dostojevskij, Emilie Flygare-Carlén, E. Friman, Carl Grimberg, Hjalmar Gullberg, Krister Hanell, Sigfrid Hoas, Viktor Johansson, W.E. Johns, Severin Larsen, Sigurd Lindgren, Martin Luther, Margareta Malmgren, Kerstin Midnäs, Jöran Mjöberg, V.S. Naipul, Bertil Nilsson, Nathan Odenvik, Jeanna Oterdahl, Martin P:n Nilsson, Lewi Pethrus, Olaus Petri, Per Rickardsson, Aug. Rosén, Johan Ludvig Runeberg, Eva Rydberg, Gösta Sandberg, José Saramago, Peter Schalk, John Sjögren, Harry Sjöman, August Strindberg, Helmut Thielicke, Anton Tjechov, Pontus Wikner, Anna Ölander.


My own comments and speculations:

Jesus, being "the seventh", here also reveals Himself as "the eighth" after the seven disciples mentioned in John 21:2. Jesus is the seventh (John 4:18) and the eighth (John 21:4; cf. also Rev 1:13a). When the disciples were seven they got no draught, but in company with the eighth (being also the first and the seventh), the Lord Jesus, they get a multitude of fish into an agelong life (cf. John 15:5). In a restoration perspective we can compare with David who is the eighth (1 Sam 16:10-11) and the seventh (1 Chron 2:13-15). As the eighth Jesus also is the first and as the seventh He is the last. Compare Rev 1:8a (the Alpha and the Omega, a beginning and an end, Sinaiticus prima manus) and Rev 1:17b (the First and the Last). Compare also My own comments and speculations to John 4:16-18 and 13:23-25.

Exegetes, evangelists and others often maintain that the Gospel of John describes seven of the many signs which Jesus made. These then are written down in the following texts: John 2:1-11; 4:46-54; 5:1-18; 6:1-15; 6:16-21; 9:1-41 and 11:1-45. If we suppose that John 21 belongs to the original gospel, however also the miraculous draught of fishes in John 21:1-14 should be included as an eighth sign. This would well agree with the Johannine number symbolism which often concentrates upon the numbers six (= the imperfect), seven (= the holy and perfect) and eight (= beginning of a new time).

If we study the three last signs, we find that the sixth sign in John 9:1-41 does not manage to convince anybody else about who Jesus is than the one who had been healed. Jesus is seen as a misser (of the mark of God) (9:16,17,24) and the parents of the healed one do not dare to confess the name of Jesus (9:22). The seventh sign in John 11:1-44 means the victory of life and light over death and darkness. Many Jews believe (11:45), the house of the raised one is filled by the smell of nard (12:3) and the adornment/’adorned world’ goes after Jesus (12:19). The eighth sign in John 21:1-14 is done by the risen and glorified Jesus after the Spirit has been given and with seven disciples present, of which one is the twin Thomas, he who also can be numbered as two. The disciples live and work in a borderland, where they with their perishable bodies remain in the old adornment/’adorned world’ at the same time as they by the presence of the Spirit participate in the agelong life of the new time.

Here we should remind ourselves, that signs for John also can be other things than what we usually call wonders. These things can be both words and works, such as we read about in for example John 2:14-17 and 13:5-15. And perhaps also these signs should be received as wonders. Actually all words and works of Jesus are signs, in order that we may believe in Him as Christ and the Son of God.

On Joseph as a type of John, see My own comments and speculations to John 13:23-25. Joseph/John recognizes what the other brothers/disciples don't recognize. Both here and in John 13:23-25, 19:25-27, 20:3-10 (א*) we see how the (continually) welcomed disciple is described as the disciple who stands in a nearer relation to Jesus than what Peter does.

On Simon Peter and his restoration in the Gospel of John, see My own comments and speculations to John 1:40-42.

The translation "additional food" is a more literal rendering than the usual "fish". Jesus speaks of spiritual food rather than of natural food. It is the task of the disciples to be catching men rather than ordinary fish. Cf. Luke 5:11.

In a restoration perspective we see how the dead fish in the Nile now are restored in a large quantity of fish in the "dead" sea.

The Greek word for “multitude” here is “plêthos”. This word sometimes is used about Jesus' disciples (Luke 19:37) and the members of the Christian (assembly) of called out (Acts 6:2,5; 15:12,30; 19:9; 21:22). The disciples cannot themselves draw in the net, but they must have the help of the Father, who draws His (assembly) of called out. In Greek we have the same word for “draw” in John 21:6 and John 6:44.

The Greek word “ischyô” I translate by “(be) stable” in stead of by the more usual “strong”, because I judge that “strong” is more connected with the Greek word “sthenô”.

I have written to you, little boys (and girls), because you have (and have gained) knowledge of the Father. ... I have written to you, youths, because you are stable and the saying of God stays in you, and you have conquered (and conquer) the evil one. (1 John 2:14)


Greek words:

aigialos (beach) Sir 24:14(BS*A); Matt 13:48; John 21:4 – Judges 5:17(A); Matt 13:2; Acts 21:5; 27:39-40.

diktyon (net) (in the NT) Luke 5:4,6; John 21:6 – Matt 4:20-21; Mark 1:18-19; Luke 5:2,5; John 21:8,11.

ischyô (be stable) (in the NT + examples in the Apocrypha) Wisdom of Solomon 11:21; 16:20; Matt 9:12; Luke 14:6,29-30; John 21:6; Acts 27:16 – Esther 4:17z(C30); Wisdom of Solomon 13:1,9; Sir 7:6; 29:6; 30:14; 43:15,28; 50:29; Epistle of Jeremiah v 57; Susanna v 39; Matt 5:13; 8:28; 26:40; Mark 2:17; 5:4; 9:18; 14:37; Luke 6:48; 8:43; 13:24; 16:3; 20:26; Acts 6:10; 15:10; 19:16,20; 25:7; Gal 5:6; Phil 4:13; Heb 9:17; Jas 5:16; Rev 12:8.

ichthys (fish) (in the NT + examples in the Apocrypha) Matt 7:10; Luke 5:6; John 21:6 – Tobit 6:2-5(3-6),7-8,17; 8:2-3; 11:8,11; Matt 14:17,19; 15:36; 17:27; Mark 6:38,41,43; Luke 5:9; 9:13,16; 11:11; 24:42; John 21:8,11; 1 Cor 15:39.

prosfagion (additional food) John 21:5. This word does not occur in the rest of the Bible. Sometimes such a word can signifiy something wholly new. Here heavenly food (cf. Wisdom of Solomon 16:20) is given as a result of the saying of Jesus. Cf. My own comments and speculations to John 21:10-11.

prôïos/prôïa (early) (in the NT + one example in the Apocrypha) Matt 27:1; John 21:4 – Sir 47:10.


Additional studies:

Matt 13:2; 21:18; Mark 16:7; John 18:28; 19:26; 20:2,18; 21:20; Acts 6:5; 15:12,30; 19:9; 21:22; 1 John 2:18; Rev 1:13,16-17; 2:1; 5:1; 10:5; 14:1; 18:17-19.


G. Grefbäck "Fiskens symbol och det kristna dopet. En studie i fornkristen symbolik."; Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok 15 (1950): 62-80.


(Original version 2007-12-01; revised version 2009-06-06; 2012-05-17; 2014-12-15; 2014-12-20)

Back to the top

21:7b Having so heard that/: “It is the Lord” Simon Peter girded himself throughout (with) the outer garment – for he (continually) was naked – and threw himself into the sea.

Word for word (20 words in the Greek text): Simon so Peter having-heard that the lord (it)-is the outer-garment (he)-girded-himself-throughout, (he)-(continually)-was naked, and (he)-threw-himself into the-sea.


The Former Revelation (preliminary translation):

And the two (continually) were naked, both Adam and his woman. (Gen 2:25a, Greek OT)

(When the first men had missed the mark of God) the eyes of the two were opened throughout, and they gained knowledge, that they (continually) were naked. And they sewed leaves of a fig tree and made themselves (clothes) girded (them) around. ... And the Lord God called to Adam and spoke to him: "Adam, where are you?" And he spoke to Him: "I heard the sound of You walking about in the ‘place by the side of apprehension’/Paradise, and I feared, because I am naked. And I hid myself." (Gen 3:7,9-10, Greek OT)

(The Lord said to Moses:) “You shall gird (Aaron and his sons with) girdles ... And it will be a priestly office to them for Me into the (coming) age.” (Ex 29:9a, Greek OT)

. . . (Moses) set/clothed (Aaron) in the outer garment. (Lev 8:7a, Greek OT, Alexandrinus)

Moses ‘set out’/’stripped off’ Aaron his garments and set them in/on his son Eleazar. And Aaron died upon the top of the mountain. (Num 20:28a, Greek OT)

(David said to the Lord:) “You have broken through/asunder my sack/sackcloth in pieces and girded me around (into) cheerfulness.” (Ps 30:11b or 30:12b, Greek OT)


The Latter Revelation:

(Jesus) spoke (to Peter): “Come!” Having descended from the boat Peter walked about against the waters to come (א*). He so (א*) came towards Jesus. (Matt 14:29)

Peter says to (Jesus): "Rabbi, behold, the fig tree which You cursed has been (and is) dried." And ‘having answered’/’Jesus answered and’ says to (the disciples): "If (א,*א) you have a faith of God, amen I say to you, that the one who – according to the circumstances – may speak to this mountain: 'Be lifted and be thrown into the sea', and may not doubt in his heart however/but may believe, that what he talks becomes/’comes about’, it will be/’come about’ for him.” (Mark 11:21b-23)

A certain youth being (and having been) wrapped up in a linen sheet upon (the) naked (body) (continually) followed together with (Jesus). And they ‘get power (over)’/seize him. But having left the linen shirt entirely/behind he fled naked. (Mark 14:51-52)

(Simon Peter) fell towards Jesus' knees, saying: “’Come out’/’go away’ from me, because I am a male ‘(being) a misser (of)’/missing (the mark of God), Lord!” For amazement had surrounded (Simon Peter) and all the ones (being) together with him on/’for the sake of’ the catch of the fishes/fish, the one (א,* א, A) which they had ‘taken together’/collected. (Luke 5:8b-9)

(Jesus said to His diciples:) "Let your hips be being (and having been) girded around. … Happy (are) those slaves whom, on (their) lord's having come, he will find being awake. Amen I say to you, that he will gird himself around and cause them to ‘lean back’/’lay down (at table)’. * (א*).” (Luke 12:35a,37)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) ”Let (now) the one having not (money) sell his garment and buy a dagger.” (Luke 22:36b; cf. the dagger of the Spirit, which is the word of God, see Eph 6:17)


The Apostle, the eighth and one of the seven:

But Simon Peter (continually) was standing and warming himself. They so spoke to him: “Are not and/also you out of His disciples?” That One denied and spoke: “I am not.” One out of the slaves of the priest leader – being a relative of whom Peter had cut off the ear lobe – says: “Did I not behold you in the garden in company with Him?” Peter so denied again. And straightaway a rooster ‘raised its voice’/crowed. (John 18:25-27)


Exegetes, evangelists and others:

about 2000 and time before

Love is the forbidden fruit, the original sin, and Venus of the Nordic countries never lets her fig-leaf fall. People draw on themselves so much clothes for the sake of the cold, that they at last feel terror before the nakedness. (August Strindberg "Brev från Stockholm" p 259; Revue Universelle Internationale 1886, probably 1886-05-16; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

(Christopher) Columbus made the observation, that the women in an Indian tribe, who went naked, were chaste and modest. They rejected with aversion bids, which supported by tempting gifts, were made to them by his seamen. His acquaintance with other Indian tribes led him to this conclusion, that the more they were clothed, so much greater their frivolousness was. (Viktor Rydberg "Om nakenhet och klädessätt" p 99-100; Ekeliden, Djursholm 1895-04-27; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)


Examples of other quoted authors in the Swedish version: Henrik Berg, Folke Carlsnäs, Joseph Alfred Conwell, Stig Dagerman, Hilding Fagerberg, Bo Frid, Nikolaj Gogol, Carl Grimberg, Alf Henrikson, Folke Hyltén-Cavallius, Ragnar Järhult, Wilhelm Möller, Harald Rasmussen, Eva Rydberg, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jesper Svartvik, Einar Thomassen, Anton Tjechov, Rudolf Vrba, p. Waldenström, P.A. Westlind, Eva Österberg.


My own comments and speculations:

When the first male had sinned (missed the mark of God), the Lord drove him out of the garden. Now in a restoration perspective we will soon see how Jesus invites the male Peter, who had missed the mark of God, and the other disciples to a meal. Adam's fig leaf has dried up and are changed for the outer garment of the priest leader.

We see how Aaron and Eleazar are types who correspond to Peter. The Greek word for "outer garment" only occurs here in the N.T. And in the Pentateuch we have this word only in the Alexandrinus' reading of Num 20:28. Compare also My own comments and speculations to John 18:25-27.


Greek words:

gymnos (naked) (in the NT + examples in the Apocrypha) Mark 14:52; John 21:7 – Tobit 1:17; 4:16(BA); Matt 25:36,38,43-44; Mark 14:51; Acts 19:16; 1 Cor 15:37; 2 Cor 5:3; Heb 4:13; Jas 2:15; Rev 3:17; 16:15; 17:16.

ependytês (outer garment) Lev 8:7(A); John 21:7 – 1 Sam 18:4(A); 2 Sam 13:18.


Additional studies: Ex 28:42-43; Matt 6:28-30; 10:9-10; 21:18-22; Mark 6:8-9; 13:16; Luke 9:3; 12:33; John 13:4-5,38; Rev 3;17; 16:15.


(Original version 2007-12-01; revised version 2009-06-07; 2012-05-19; 2014-12-16; 2014-12-20)

Back to the top

21:8-9 But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they (continually) were not far from the earth/land, however/but as from two hundred cubits, dragging the net of/with the fishes/fish. As they so stepped off ‘into the earth’/’upon land’, they see a charcoal heap lying, and a little titbit lying on (it) and a (piece of) bread.

Word for word: 21:8 (24 words in the Greek text) the but other disciples (in)-the little-boat came, not for (they)-(continually)-were far-away from the earth however as from cubits two-hundred, dragging the net (of)-the (of)-fishes. 21:9 (14 words in the Greek text) as so (they)-stepped-off into the earth (they)-see (a)-charcoal-heap lying and (a)-little-titbit lying-on and (a)-(piece-of)-bread.


The Former Revelation (preliminary translation):

The fishes/fish in the river ‘came to an end’/died, and the river 'smelt on'/tainted. (Ex 7:21a, Greek OT)

(Moses said to the Lord:) "Will every titpit of the sea be led together for (the grumbling people), and will it be enough for them?" ... And a spirit came out from the side of the Lord, and it conveyed across a mother of a quail from the sea. ... The pieces of the meat (continually) were still in the teeth (of Israel), 'before or'/'before it would' 'leave out'/disappear, and the Lord was passionate into/’for the purpose of’ the people, and the Lord hit the people (with) an extremely great blow. (Num 11:22b,31a,33, Greek OT)

(The Lord/Moses said concerning Israel:) “Teeth of little wild animals I will dispatch away into/among them, dragging (them) in company with passion upon earth/land.” (Deut 32:24b, Greek OT)

(David said:) “Taste and behold that the Lord (is) beneficial.” (Ps 34:8a or 34:9a, Greek OT)

(The Lord said to Babylon: "The ones having helped you) will all be burnt down as bushes upon fire, and their souls may not/certainly not be taken out for themselves out of a flame, because you have coals of fire to ‘make sit down’/place against them." (Is 47:14, Greek OT)

(The Lord said:) ”Hear Me and eat good things, and your soul will revel in good things.” (Is 55:2b, Greek OT)

The very little boy (Tobias) ‘got power over’/seized the (great) fish and carried it up against the earth/land. ... (Then Tobias and the messenger) roasted (a part of) the fish. ... (And in the wedding night) Tobias put/laid (the liver and the heart of the fish) against, against the ashes of the incense. The scent of the fish hindered (the little demon) and (he) ran away. (Tobit 6:3b-5a; 8:2b-3a or 6:4b-6a; 8:2b-3a, S)

(The people in Joppe) let (the Jews), being not less than two hundred, sink (in the sea). (2 Macc 12:4b)

(Solomon said:) “Out of a red sea (there was) an unimpeded way and out of a violent billow a plain wearing/wore a young verdure. ... (And the Israelites) demanded (with) desire food courses of delicacy.” (Wisdom of Solomon 19:7b,11b)


The Latter Revelation:

(John the Baptist said: "The One coming behind me) will baptize you in holy spirit and fire." (Matt 3:11b)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) “Do not care (in) your soul what you may eat * (א,* א) … Which out of you caring is able to put to one cubit against/over his bodily growth?” (Matt 6:25b,27)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) "Who is out of you, a man, whom his son will demand a (piece of) bread, he will not 'give on'/hand him a stone, (will he)? Or and/also will demand a fish, he will not 'give on'/hand him a serpent, (will he)? ... Your Father in the heavens (will) give good things to the ones demanding Him." (Matt 7:9-10,11b)

(Jesus said to the scribe having answered prudently: “You are) not far from the kingdom of God. ...” (Mark 12:34b)

It became/’came about’ in the crowd ‘to lie’/’that they pressed’ on (Jesus) and/to hear the saying of God. (Luke 5:1a)

Having stepped off from (the boats) the fishermen (continually) cleansed the nets. (Luke 5:2b)

(The disciples) shut/closed together a much/great multitude of fishes/fish, but their nets (continually/repeatedly) broke through/asunder in pieces. (Luke 5:6b)

Tongues being divided asunder as if (they were) of fire were beheld to (the 120 disciples), and they (א*) sat down against ‘one everyone’/’each one’ of them. (Acts 2:3)

(Paul said to the Athenians: “God is) not far from ‘one everyone’/anyone of us.” (Acts 17:27b)


The Apostle, the eighth and one of the seven:

Philip so answers * (א*) (Jesus): “Breads/bread of/for two hundred denarii are/is not enough for them, in order that everyone may take ‘something short/’a little’.” One out of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, says to Him: “It/there is a very little boy here, who has five breads/loaves of barley and two little titbits. However, these ones, what is it into/for so many?” Jesus spoke: “Make/have the men to ‘fall up’/’lie back’.” … Jesus so took the breads/loaves and ‘was thankful’/’gave thanks’ and gave (א,* א) to the ones lying up/’down to table’ , likewise and/also out of the little titbits as much as they (continually) wanted. (John 6:7-10a,11)

There was no other little boat there, ‘if not’/except one, that one in which (Jesus') disciples had went on board (א*) … . (John 6:22b)

The young girl, the (female) doorkeeper, so says to Peter: “Are not and/also you out of the disciples of this Man? That one says: “I am not.” But the slaves and the rowers/servants having made (and making) a charcoal heap stood (there), because it (continually) was a cold, and they (continually) warmed themselves. But and/also Peter, standing and warming himself, (continually) was in company with them. (John 18:17-18)


Exegetes, evangelists and others:

Examples of quoted authors in the Swedish version: UllaBritt Berglund, John Ortberg, Allan Rydén.


My own comments and speculations:

On the translation "titpit", see My own comments and speculations to John 6:8-13. In a restoration perspective we see how the deadly titpits in the wilderness have been changed to the flesh of agelong life. Cf. John 6:54-56. And in a restoration perspective we also see how the foul fish in the Nile is changed for the titpits in the sea (cf. John 21:10).

The connection between John 6:1-13 and John 21:1-13 we also have a feeling of in the number 200. In John 6:7 it is more than 200 denarii to Jesus' bread (and titpits). In John 21:8 it is about 200 hundred cubits to Jesus' bread (and titpit), the bread of agelong life. What the disciples thought they couldn't cope with in John 6, they now have faith enough to manage. In John 6 the disciples had 200 hundred denarii (but not a “cubit” more; cf. Matt 6:27; Luke 12:25), which the disciples thought was not enough to satisfy the people. Neither now the disciples could cope with more than 200 cubits to take the fish to the beach. But now they go towards the Lord, believing He will help them to the heavenly beach, even if the situation borders to what is impossible or surpasses what is possible (“about 200 cubits”). And to add a cubit to 200 denarii is as possible as adding a cubit to a time of life (cf. Matt 6:27; Luke 12:25).

Men who worship gods made by wood warm themselves at the charcoal heaps of this adornment/’adorned world’ and satisfy themselves with the food of this adornment/’adorned world’. The Lord (and His disciples) above all warms other men at His charcoal heap and satisfy them with His spiritual food. A titpit/fish on the fire is a disciple touched by holy spirit and fire (Acts 2:3). The disciples are given each other to welcome each other, to satisfy each other with flesh and bread. And they are given to each other by Him who is the bread (and flesh) of life.

Concerning Tobias as a type of Jesus, compare My own comments and speculations to John 4:16-18.


Paul said to the believers in Rome: "I call you, brothers, to the side of through the ‘compassionate things’/compassion of God, to cause your bodies to stand by the side of (as) a living sacrifice, holy to God, well-pleasing, your divine service belonging to the saying." (Rom 12:1)


Greek words:

apobainô (step off) (in the NT) Luke 5:2; John 21:9 – Luke 21:13; Phil 1:19.

makran (far) (in the NT + examples in the Apocrypha) Mark 12:34; John 21:8; Acts 17:27 – Esther 9:20; 1 Macc 8:4,12; Wisdom of Solomon 14:17; Sir 9:13; 15:8; 24:32; 30:23; Susanna v 51; Matt 8:30; Luke 7:6; 15:20; Acts 2:39; 22:21; Eph 2:13,17.

pêchys (cubit) (in the NT + examples in the Apocrypha) Matt 6:27; John 21:8 – Esther 5:14; 7:9; Judith 1:2-4; 2 Macc 13:5; Luke 12:25; Rev 21:17.

syrô (drag) (in the NT + one example from the OT) Deut 32:24; John 21:8 – Acts 8:3; 14:19; 17:6; Rev 12:4.


Additional studies: Mark 6:37; Luke 3:16; 12:22-25; John 21:13.

J. Duncan M. Derrett "'Artos' and the Comma (Jn 21:9)"; Filologia Neotestamentaria 10 (1997): 117-128.


(Original version 2007-12-01; revised version 2009-06-08; 2012-05-21; 2014-12-17)

Back to the top

21:10-11 Jesus says to them: “Carry (some) from the little titpits which you now have seized/caught. “ Simon Peter so ascended and drew the net ‘into the earth’/’upon the land’, filled up (with) great fishes/fish, a hundred and fifty-three. And being so many the net was not split/torn.

Word for word: 21:10 (11 words in the Greek text) says (to)-them the Jesus: carry from the little-titbits (av)-vilka (you)-seized now. 21:11 (24 words in the Greek text) ascended so Simon Peter and drew the net into the earth filled-up (of/with)-fishes great (a)-hundred fifty three. and so-many being not was-split the net.


The Former Revelation (preliminary translation):

(All the men of male sex of the Levites were) 22 of the number of one thousand. ... (The Lord said to Moses:) "You shall take the Levites for Me, I (am) the Lord, instead of all of the (first-born) of the sons of Israel." ... (And all the first-born of male sex of the sons of Israel were) 22 of the number of one thousand and 273. (Num 3:39b,41a,43b, Greek OT)

(The Lord said:) ”Hear Me and eat good things, and your soul will revel in good things.” (Is 55:2b, Greek OT)

(The Lord said:) “Behold, I dispatch away the many fishermen… and they shall fish (the sons of Israel.” (Jer 16:16a, Greek OT)

(The plain) (continually) was filled up (with) human bones (which became living). (Ezek 37:1b, Greek OT)

(Habbakkuk said to the Lord:) “You will make the men as the fishes/fish of the sea and as the creeping animals the ones having not (anyone) being in command.” (Hab 1:14, Greek OT)

The very little boy (Tobias) ‘got power over’/seized the (great) fish and carried it up against the earth/land. (Tobit 6:3b or 4b, S)

In the year 153 ... (it was 'arranged on'/ordered) to take ‘entirely for themselves’/down the wall of the inner court of the holy ones. (But the work was not completed.) (1 Macc 9:54a)

(Solomon said to the Lord:) “You have arranged every thing throughout (with) measure and number and standing-place/balance.” (Wisdom of Solomon 11:20b)


The Latter Revelation:

Walking about to the side of the Sea of the Galilee, (Jesus) beheld two brothers, Simon, the one being said/called Peter, and Andrew his brother, throwing a casting-net into the sea, for they (continually/-) were fishermen. And He says to them: "Come here behind Me and I will make you fishermen of men." (Matt 4:18-19)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) “You may not adopt as a law that I came to loosen down/up the law or the prophets. I did not come to loosen down/up however/but to complete.” (Matt 5:17)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) “The kingdom of the heavens is like a drag-net having been thrown into the sea and led together (fish) out of every descent. ... When it was completed, causing (it) to go/come up against/on the beach ‘and having’/they sat down.” (Matt 13:47-48a)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) “This good little message of the kingdom will be proclaimed in the whole (inhabited) world into/’for a purpose of’ a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will arrive.” (Matt 24:14)

(The disciples) shut/closed together a much/great multitude of fishes/fish, but their nets (continually/repeatedly) broke through/’asunder in pieces’. (Luke 5:6b)

The lord spoke towards the slave: “Come/go out into/to the ways and enclosures and urge (men) to come in, in order that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23)

In these days having stood up in a middle of the brothers Peter spoke, both/and a crowd of names (continually) were against/at the same (place) as if 120. (Acts 1:15)

In the 'to be completed'/'completing of' the day of the 50th * (א*) (the disciples) (continually) were together against/by the same (place). ... (Proselytes) from every nation of the ones (being) underneath the heaven (said): "... We hear them (in) our tongues talking of the great things of God". (Acts 2:1,5b,11b)

All the souls/persons in the boat (continually) were 276. ... It became, (that) all (the prisoners) be/are saved throughout against/’up to’ the earth/land. (Acts 27:37,44b)


The Apostle, the eighth and one of the seven:

(Jesus) says to His disciples: “Lead together the the fragments having been over and above, in order that anything may not perish.” And they so led together and filled twelve large baskets of/with fragments out of the five breads/loaves of barley which was/were (א,* א, A) over and above for the ones ‘having eaten down (and eating down)’/’having eaten (and eating)’. (John 6:12b-13)

(Jesus said:) “And, if – according to the circumstances – I may be heightened out of the earth, I will draw all (nations) (P66,א*) towards Myself.” (John 12:32)


Exegetes, evangelists and others:

about 2000 - about 1500

Whitsuntide also is called ”harvest feast”, because it coincides with the wheat harvest. (Göran Larsson "Tid för Gud, Judiska och kristna perspektiv på de judiska högtiderna." p 36; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

Jubilees and some of the Qumran texts give the Levites alternative tasks. While the Aramaic Levi claims that all Levites are priests (or ought to be), it is maintained i Jubilees that two groups originated with Levi – priests and Levites. ... The heavenly journey (in the Testament of Levi) gives weight to the view that Levi and all of his seed are carriers of the priesthood. ... I think that it is a group of Levites, separate from the Aaronic priesthood, who lies behind the text about Levi's heavenly journey. Because of Levi's heavenly journey, they claimed that all of Levi's seed ought to be priests, not only Aaron's, who now served in the Second Temple. (Leif Carlsson ”Round trips to heaven” p 120,122)

We know that figures had a part to play, even in the environment in which the Gospelmaterial took shape. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that numerical data may have a symbolic meaning in Johannine texts, judging by the use of the figure 153 in Jn 21:11. (Birger Olsson "Structure and Meaning in the Fourth Gospel" p 49)

Peter, You shall fish men, and not go down to the office of a fisherman. (August Strindberg "August Strindbergs brev XV april 1904-april 1907" p 56; letter 1904-08-15 to Nils Andersson; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)


about 1500 and time before

This would be the greatest of miracles, that without any miracles, the whole world should have eagerly come to be taken in the nets of twelve poor and illiterate men. (Chrysostom, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers XI:5)

In Rome at the Tiber and Rome at the Bosporus, in all the towns thronging of people in the great kingdom of the world the Christians already were the ones to the number superior. . . . There at last the innumerable needy ones had not been able to reject the present of a dress and twenty golden coins, which constituted the ground bait, with which Constantinus, a new fisher of men, drew up souls out of the depth of heathenism. (Viktor Rydberg "Den siste atenaren I" p 27-28; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

The comparison of men with fishes is a common Jewish (illustration). (Alfred Edersheim "The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah Part I" p 597)


Examples of other quoted authors in the Swedish version: Sivar Ahlrud, Ann-Charlotte Alverfors, UllaBritt Berglund, Erik Bernspång, Sven Danell, Bo Frid, Bo Giertz, Peter Halldorf, Lars Hartman, Olov Hartman, Verner von Heidenstam, Ernest Hemingway, Alf Henrikson, Irenaeus, Viktor Johansson, Gustaf F. Johnson, Per Lindberg, Martin Luther, Wilhelm Möller, Fredrik Nielsen, Karl Palmberg, Sven Edvin Salje, Ragnar Samuelsson, Gösta Sandberg, Anfin Skaaheim, John Stott, Jesper Svartvik, Ester Svensson, Fred Törnqvist, Derek Walcott, Gunnar Wetterberg.


My own comments and speculations:

A fish/titpit can signify a man. Cf. Luke 5:1-11 where Jesus in connection with Peter's miraculous draught of fishes exhorts him to catch men. In times of old men were drowned in the flood. Now they are saved to life. Compare My own comments and speculations to John 21:1-3.

After the Ascension of Christ 120 believing Jews were together (Acts 1:15). The other saved men – “Gentiles” or/and Jews (cf. Jer 16:16) - are represented by the 153 fishes/titpits here in John 21:11. Together they will fill the absence of the failing 273 Levites in the wilderness. The number 120 also can allude to the fragments of bread in the twelve baskets (with ten fragments in each basket?) mentioned in John 6:13. There were also fish left over, 153 of them. Cf. also the 276 in Acts 27:37. If we reduce by Paul and his probably two fellow-travellers (Silas and Luke) the number becomes 273. Furthermore compare the possible allusions to the Levites in John 6:16-21 (see My own comments and speculations) and John 8:57.

We can also notice, that the number 153 = 3 times 51, where 3 is the number of God and 51 is a number belonging to a future and new age. Compare My own comments and speculations to Rev 17:9b-11.


Additional studies: Matt 5:16; Mark 2:21; 13:10; Luke 5:36; John 6:9,11; 21:13; Rev 1:6; 6:9,11.

Richard J. Bauckham "The 153 Fish and the Unity of the Fourth Gospel"; Neotestamentica 36 (2002): 77-88.


(Original version 2007-12-01; revised version 2009-06-08; 2012-05-23 2014-12-18; 2014-12-20)

Back to the top

21:12-14 Jesus says to them: “Come here (and) breakfast.” But ‘no one’/none of the disciples, knowing that it is the Lord, (continually) took courage to search Him out (by asking): “Who are You?” Jesus comes and takes the bread and gives (it) to them and likewise the little titpit. But (א,* א) having been raised out of dead (bodies) this (was) already the third time, that Jesus was made visible to the disciples.

Word for word: 21:12 (21 words in the Greek text) says (to)-them the Jesus: come-here eat-breakfast. no-one but took-courage (of)-the (of)-disciples (to)-search-out him: you who are? knowing-(and-having-known) that the lord (it)-is. 21:13 (14 words in the Greek text) comes the Jesus and takes the bread and gives (to)-them and the little-titbit likewise. 21:14 (12 words in the Greek text) this but already third-(time) was-made-visible the Jesus (to)-the disciples having-been-raised out-of dead.


The Former Revelation (preliminary translation):

(The sons of Israel) made the gifts ready till the thing 'to come Josep'/'that Joseph would come' at noon, for they had heard, that they are about to breakfast there. (Gen 43:25, Greek OT)

Joseph spoke towards his brothers: “I am Joseph.” … Does my father still live?” And the brothers were not able to answer him, for they were troubled (at his presence). (Gen 45:3, Greek OT)

It became as/when Solomon had brought ‘to build’/’the building of’ the house of the Lord to a consummation ... , (that) the Lord was beheld to Solomon a second time. (1 Kings 9:1-2a, Greek OT; cf. John 21:14)

(The Lord said:) ”Hear Me and eat good things, and your soul will revel in good things.” (Is 55:2b, Greek OT)

(Tobit said:) “In the 50th day in the feast of (my wife and my son and I) ... it was become/arranged a fine breakfast to me, and we ‘fell up’/’lay back’ to the thing to breakfast.” (Tobit 2:1b, S)


The Latter Revelation:

(Jesus said to Simon Peter and Andreas:) “Come here behind Me, and I will make you fishermen of men.” (Matt 4:19)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) “Into which city or village you – according to the circumstances – may come into, search out who is worthy in it.” (Matt 10:11a)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) “Amen I say to you that/: ‘(There) are some of the ones standing here, whoever/who may not/certainly not taste death till – according to the circumstances – they may behold the Son of the Man coming in/with His kingdom.’” (Matt 16:28)

(The slaves of the king said to the ones having been called:) “Come here into the wedding banquets!” (Matt 22:4b)

No one was able to answer (Jesus with) a saying, nor did anyone longer take courage from that day to question Him. (Matt 22:46)

When the Son of the Man – according to the circumstances – may come in His glory ... (He will say:) "Come here, the ones having been (and being) blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom having been (and being) made ready for you from a foundation of an adornment/’adorned world’." (Matt 25:31a,34b)

Having taken the five breads/loaves and the two fishes/fish (and) having seen/looked up into the heaven He blessed and ‘fragmented down’/’broke off’ the breads/loaves and gave * (א ,*א, B*) to the disciples in order that they might put (it) by the side of them. And He divided the two fishes/fish into portions (with) all. (Mark 6:41)

Amazement had surrounded (Simon Peter) and all the ones (being) together with him on/’for the sake of’ the catch of the fishes/fish, the one (א,* א, A) which they had ‘taken together’/collected. … (Jesus said to Simon Peter:) “From the now (on) you will be catching men alive.” (Luke 5:9,10b)

... A Pharisee asked (Jesus), in what way He might breakfast by the side of him. (Luke 11:37a)

(Jesus said to His diciples:) "Let your hips be being (and having been) girded around. … Happy (are) those slaves whom, on (their) lord's having come, he will find being awake. Amen I say to you, that he will gird himself around and cause them to ‘lean back’/’lay down (at table)’. * (א*).” (Luke 12:35a,37)

In 'the thing to lean down Him'/'His having laid down at the table' in company with (the Emmaus disciples and) taken the bread Jesus blessed and having fragmented/’broken (it) to pieces’ He (continually) gave (א,* א) them. But their eyes were opened throughout, and they gained additional knowledge of Him. (Luke 24:30b-31a)

Having feared (א,* א) and becoming frightened (the eleven and the other disciples) (continually) thought ‘to look’/’that they looked’ at a spirit. (Luke 24:37)

(The Emmaus disciples) 'gave on'/handed (Jesus) a part/piece of roasted fish. (Luke 24:42)

(The ones having received Peter's saying continually) ‘were being patient’/adhered to the teaching of the apostles and the communion, to the fragmenting/breaking of the bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42)

(The Lord said:) “I (am) the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.” But having become quivering Moses (continually) did not take courage to ‘understand entirely’/’take to heart’. (Acts 7:32)


The Apostle, the eighth and one of the seven:

Jesus took the loaves and gave thanks and gave (א,*א) them to the ones who were seated; likewise also the titbits as much as they (continually) wanted. (John 6:11)

After these things Jesus again made Himself visible to the disciples upon the Sea of Tiberias. (John 21:1a)

As (the disciples) so stepped off ‘into the earth’/’upon the land’, they see a charcoal heap lying, and a little titbit lying on (it) and a (piece of) bread. (John 21:9)


Exegetes, evangelists and others:

about 2000 and time before

Fish was a favorite dish, and never wanting at a Sabbath-meal. (Alfred Edersheim "The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah Part II" p 209)


Examples of other quoted authors in the Swedish version: Carl Jonas Love Almqvist, Barthold Carlson, Joni Eareckson, Carl Grimberg, Lennart Gustavsson, Peter Halldorf, C.S. Lewis, Abraham Rundbäck, Gustaf Vikner, Thecla Wrangel.


My own comments and speculations:

The third time that Jesus was visible to the disciples, after He had been raised out of dead (bodies) can be compared with the situation in Gen 45:3 which was the third time that Joseph was revealed to his brothers, after he was sold to the Egyptians. And this was the time when the brothers recognized Joseph, the leader over all the land of Egypt (Gen 45:8). Now some of the disciples have a foretaste of the Son of the Man coming in His kingdom with all the failing men from every nation (compare My own comments and speculations to John 21:10-11).

See also My own comments and speculations to John 21:4-7a and John 21:7b.


And the life was made visible, and we have beheld (and behold) and we are witnesses and bring a message to you (about) the agelong life, whichever/which (continually) was towards the Father and was made visible to you. (1 John 1:2)


Greek words:

aristaô (verb: breakfast) Gen 42:25; Tobit 2:1; Luke 11:37; John 21:12 – 1 Sam 14:24; 1 Kings 13:7; John 21:15.

exetazô (search out) (in the NT + examples in the Apocrypha) Matt 10:11; John 21:12 – Esther 1:1o(A14); Wisdom of Solomon 6:3; 11:10; Sir 3:21; 11:7; 13:11; 18:20; 23:10; Matt 2:8.

tolmaô (take courage) (in the NT + examples in the Apocrypha) Matt 22:46; John 21:12; Acts 7:32; – Esther 7:5; Judith 14:13; 2 Macc 4:2; Mark 12:34; 15:43; Luke 20:40; Acts 5:13; Rom 5:7; 15:18; 1 Cor 6:1; 2 Cor 10:2,12; 11:21; Phil 1:14; Jude v 9.


Additional studies: Matt 14:19; 15:36; Mark 8:6; Luke 9:16; 11:11; 12:31; 24:43; John 4:27; 6:9,11; 8:25; 20:18-19,26; 21:15; Acts 1:3; 10:41; Rev 7:13; 19:17-18.

Alan Shaw "The Breakfast by the Shore and the Mary Magdalene Encounter as Eucharistic Narratives"; Journal of Theological Studies 25 (1974): 12-26.


(Original version 2007-12-01; revised version 2009-06-08; 2012-05-25; 2014-12-19)

Back to the top

21:15 When they so had breakfasted, Jesus says to Simon Peter: “Simon * (א*), do you welcome Me more (than) these?” He says to Him: “Yes, Lord, You know, that I am friends with You.” He says to him: “Tend My little rams.”

Word for word (29 words in the Greek text): When so (they)-breakfasted/'had-breakfasted' says (to)-the Simon Peter the Jesus: Simon, welcome-(you) me more (of/than)-these? (he)-says (to)-him: yes lord, you 'know-(and-have-known)'/know that (i/I)-am-friends-with you. (he)-says (to)-him: tend the little-rams my.


The Former Revelation (preliminary translation):

(Jacob said to the men he called his brothers:) "Tend the sheep having watering (them and) having gone away." (Gen 29:7b, Greek OT)

(The Lord said to Mose: “The paschal lamb) shall for you be a perfect, male sheep, one year old. You shall take it from the rams and the he-goats.” (Ex 12:5, Greek OT)

... (Aaron) built a sacrificial altar entirely opposite (the molten young bull). (Ex 32:5a, Greek OT)

(The messenger of the Lord said to Gideon:) “You shall save Israel. ... Behold, I have dispatched you out.” And Gideon spoke towards him: “... Behold, my ‘number of one thousand’/family has been weak in Manasseh, and I am the less/least one in the house of my father.” And the messenger of the Lord spoke towards him: “The Lord will be in company with you.” (Judges 6:14b-16a, Greek OT, B)

(Israel said:) “Tend your house, David.” … (1 Kings 12:16b, Greek OT)

(The prophet said:) ”I was as an innocent little ram being led of the thing to be sacrificed (and) I had not knowledge.” (Jer 11:19a, Greek OT)

(The Lord said:) "O, shepherds of Israel, not shall shepherds tend themselves, (shall they)? Shall not the shepherds tend the sheep?" (Ezek 34:2, Greek OT)

The elders of the Jews ... dispatched away (to the Roman king) from Simon, the priest leader, and the popular assembly of the Jews. (1 Macc 15:17)

(Jesus, the son of Sirach, said: “David) welcomed the One having made him.” (Sir 47:8b)


The Latter Revelation:

(Jesus said to His disciples:) "You are the salt of the earth." (Matt 5:13a)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) "Let your saying be 'Yes, yes', 'Not, not'. But (what is) over and above these things is out of the evil." (Matt 5:37)

(Jesus said to the twelve:) "Every/everyone whoever will confess in/with Me in front of the men, I will and/also confess in/with him in front of My Father, the One (being) in * (P19, א,* א) heavens.” (Matt 10:32)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) "You may not adopt as a law 'in order that'/that I came to throw/bring a peace against the earth. I did not come to throw/bring a peace however/but a dagger." (Matt 10:34)

(The ones taking the two-drachma tax said to Peter:) “Does not your teacher end/pay * (א*) two-drachma (coins)?” He says: “Yes”. (Matt 17:24b-25a)

(Peter said to Jesus:) “If they all are caused to stumble in/at You; I will nor/’not in any case’ at any time ‘be caused to stumble’/stumble.” Jesus uttered to him: “Amen, I say to you, that in this night before a rooster ‘raise/raises its voice’/crows, you shall three times deny away Me.” Peter says to Him: “And if – according to the circumstances – I may have to die together with You, I will not/certainly not deny away You.” (Matt 26:33b-35a)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) “(The one) who – if according to the circumstances – may be ashamed of Me and My sayings in this generation, the adulteress and a misser (of the mark of God), the Son of the Man will and/also be ashamed of him, when – according to the circumstances - He may come in the glory of His Father in company with the holy messengers.” (Mark 8:38)

(One of the scribes questioned Jesus:) "Of what kind is a first commandment of all?" Jesus answered that/: "First is 'Hear, Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord. And you shall welcome the Lord your God out of whole/all your heart and out of whole/all your soul and out of whole/all your mind and out of whole/all your stability.' A second oneis (א,* א) this: 'You shall welcome your neighbour as yourself.' Greater than these ones is not another commandment." (Mark 12:28b-31)

(Jesus) spoke towards (the toll collectors): “Do not practise/collect anything more to the side of than the thing being (and having been) throughout arranged to you.” (Luke 3:13)

(Jesus said to the Pharisee:) “Simon, I have something to speak to you.” But/and he utters: “Teacher, speak.” “Two debtors (continually) 'was to'/had a certain money-lender: the one (continually) was indebted (with) five hundred denarii, but/and the other fifty. But (P3,א,*א,A) on their having not (means) to give back he graciously gave/remitted to both. So which of them will welcome him more?” But (P3,א,*א) ‘having answered Simon’/’Simon answered and’ spoke: ”I ’take from below’/suppose that/: ’The one to whom he graciously gave/remitted more.’” But/and He spoke to him: “You have judged uprightly.” (Luke 7:40b-43)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) “I dispatch you away as rams in a middle of wolves.” (Luke 10:3b)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) "Do not fear, small/little, little flock, because your Father has been pleased with giving you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32)

(The Lord said to His disciples: “Be) like men ‘receiving towards’/welcoming their lord, when he may 'loosen up'/’set out’ ‘out of’/from the wedding banquets in order that, having come and knocked, they may straightaway open to him. Happy (are) those slaves whom, on (their) lord's having come, he will find being awake. Amen I say to you, that he will gird himself around and cause them to ‘lean back’/’lay down (at table)’. * (א*).” (Luke 12:36b-37)

(A man in a far district sent the younger son to) his fields to tend pigs. (Luke 15:15b)

(Jesus said to Simon:) “Once having turned yourself next to (Me), ‘set fast’/confirm your brothers.” (Luke 22:32b)

In these days having stood up in a middle of the brothers Peter spoke, both/and a crowd of names (continually) were against/at the same (place) as if 120. (Acts 1:15)


The Apostle, the eighth and one of the seven:

(Jesus said to His disciples:) "Little children, a small/little time (א,*א) longer I am in company with you." (John 13:33a)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) "Let not your heart be troubled, but/and let it not be cowardly." (John 14:27b)

The young girl, the (female) doorkeeper, so says to Peter: “Are not and/also you out of the disciples of this Man? That one says: “I am not.” (John 18:17)


Exegetes, evangelists and others:

about 2000 and time before

One day Lovis turned the robbers out in the snow to wash and get rid of the worst dirt. . . . Without forbearance she drove them out in the snow, and soon naked, wildly howling robbers everywhere rolled in the snowy hills down towards Wolf Pinch. . . . Only Skull-Per restively refused to roll himself in the snow. "Die I can do in any case", he said. "and this I want to do with the dirt I have." "Gladly for me", Lovis said, "but before that you at least can tend hair and beard on the other wild rams." This Skull-Per gladly did, he said. He was skilful with the wool shears, when sheep and lambs would be shorn, so no doubt he could get any wild ram into shape. (Astrid Lindgren "Ronja Rövardotter" p 101-102; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

(Lisabet) thinks that it is a little to much noisy round about (her new-born little sister and "thing of blessedness") Kajsa (being born in the morning of Christmas Day), and sometimes in the evenings, when she comes over in Madicken's bed lying on her arm, it happens that she asks: "Do you like Kajsa more than me?" Then Madicken says that she absolutely does not. It is only a little different. She likes Kajsa in one way and Lisabet in another way, much much much! (Astrid Lindgren "Madicken och Junibackens Pims" p 232; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

Peter's three denials are here offset by three protestations of his love for Christ. (C.C. Ryrie "The Ryrie Study Bible" p 1642)

(A pastor) must be trained to be a real shepherd, who has the interest of the church members. To take such an attitude to his fellowman is not easy for any Indian pastor, because his background, reason, logic, and mentality are against such an attitude. Only through Christian influence can such a quality be produced. The term pastor signifies a shepherd, and well indicates the nature of the relations to the church, that of teaching, feeding, guiding and guarding the flock committed to his care. No greater blessing can be granted by God to a church than a capable, pious pastor; and no greater calamity can befall one than to have an incompetent, unfaithful, secularized and worldly minded pastor. (Frank B. Rehnstrom "An Outline of Missionary Enterprise in India, Nepal & Pakistan" p 198)

The angry ram from Norrgården (Northyard) . . . stood there with his big, curved horns looking insidious. For he leaps over all fences and butts all he sees. . . . Ulrik is the name of this ram. . . . Now he certainly was more angry than usually. He bent down his head and came running against us. . . . Ulrik did not look as if he thought he would get tired of watching over us. (Astrid Lindgren "Bara roligt i Bullerbyn" p 77-79; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

The clods of earth lay gray in long rows, but in a slope (the mother and the child) suddenly saw the clods moving, and it was the backs of a flock of sheep. Sheep are, as we know, nice animals, especially the lambs, but the ram is not to to be trifled with, but he is a naughty one, gladly attacking the ones having done nothing evil. And now he came in the middle of the way, jumping over the ditch. He bent his head going backwards. - I am so afraid, mother, the little one said and her heart was pounding. - Oh god merciful in heaven help us, the mother sighed, and looked praying upwards the blue vault. And there a little lark rested, flitting as a butterfly; and when she began to sing, the ram disappeared among the gray clods. (August Strindberg "I midsommartider" p 90-91; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

I am born under the sign the Ram. Its sign represents the Sacrifice. . . . But it also means: Spring, something new. . . . The ram is the planet Mars with Martial destruction. . . . "Out of his mouth a two-edged sword went out . . . " . . . Have You seen any man so baited as I? The ram the scapegoat! (August Strindberg "August Strindbergs brev XI maj 1895-nov 1896" p 281-282; letter 1896-07-20 to Torsten Hedlund; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

Now since I myself have grown old (and conservative) I have begun to be in sympathy with the man (the author Carl Gustaf af Leopold); as I now prefer Voltaire to Schelling and Musset to Jean Paul; as I now love Venus more than Minerva, the strong Zeus more than the weaknessworshipping Christ, so Leopold is me more dear than Atterbom. Also because my ideals coincide with Leopold's. (August Strindberg "Utveckling" p 292; Politiken 1887-05-23; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

We hurry out . . . to meet dad. First we go to the stable fetching the big stableram, the one Johan brought in to us last Christmas, and we harness it before the sledge, in order that it will look solemn. . . . (So we meet dad with the horse-drawn conveyance.) We have barely time to draw and shove and push the ram, so that he comes away from the way, for he is not so broken in that he turns aside, when he meets a horse, but then he places himself by preference on his hind legs and pushes his head forward wanting to drive the horse in the ditch. . . . (So dad) passes us. . . . The turning (of the ram) is allowed to occur in that way, that we place us all four on the one side of him and push till he understands what the matter is. (Selma Lagerlöf "Ett barns memoarer" p 25-26; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

(Parson Ekenstedt) confessed for (Mrs. Sundler), that he neither wanted to be dean nor rector. . . . He wished a little parish, where he would have time to devote himself to the cure of souls. . . . She felt devotion deeply into her soul. . . . Oh, what men would love him! (Selma Lagerlöf "Charlotte Löwensköld" p 135; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

What then was it which caused this especial love? To my thinking, it was ... (this that Christ) first placed lowliness of mind. Without this a man cannot possibly be saved. (Chrysostom, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers XIV:117)


Examples of other quoted authors in the Swedish version: Eric Axelsson, Stig Cederholm, Axel Eile, Sefan Einhorn, E.J. Ekman, Albert Engström, Erik Gustaf Geijer, O.W. Genander, Bengt Gierup, Nikolaj Gogol, Graham Greene, Carl Grimberg, Sven Gustafsson, Peter Halldorf, Fredrik Hammarsten, Dick Harrison, Bengt Hellekant, Elisabeth Hjortvid, Homeros, Curt Härenstam, Johannes V. Jensen, Swening Johansson, Karl Knutsson, Inge Kvarnström, Jonas Lie, C.F. Lundström, Martin Luther, Patrick Mondiano, Orhan Pamuk, Lewi Pethrus, Hilding Pleijel, Harald Rasmussen, Gösta Sandberg, Martha Sandwall-Bergström, Anfin Skaaheim, Rune Storck, Gunnar Särnmark, Einar Thomassen, Anton Tjechov, Aleksej Tolstoj, Leo Tolstoj, F. Voltaire, Ernst Wigforss, Karl Williams.


My own comments and speculations:

Simon answers "Yes" to Jesus' question but chooses to use his own words in his answer. His confession ("saying the same saying" in Greek) to Jesus, to Him who is the Saying, has a touch of disbelief. Compare Peter's and the other disciples' aversion to accept Jesus' words in Matt 26:34-35. We can also observe that this is the fifth time in the Gospel Peter uses the Greek word “kyrios” (lord). Cf. John 6:68; 13:6,9,36. The number five characterizes something which is incomplete and insufficient.

In a restoration perspective we see how Simon's three denials will be changed to three confessions. Compare My own comments and speculations to John 1:42. We can also observe that Simon Peter in the gospel of John is named as number three of the twelve apostles. In Jewish number symbolism the number three is the number which characterizes God.

Jesus' question can also be understood in the light of Mark 12:28-31. Is it so that Simon welcomes Jesus more than what he welcomes His disciples (cf. Brown 1103-1104 and A Fridrichsen: Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok 1940, p 152-162)? Does Simon understand that Jesus is more than a lord, that He is the Lord, the One who shall have the first welcome? Does Simon understand what John has said about Jesus: “It is the Lord” (cf. John 21:7)?

In Rehkopf: Septuaginta-Vokabular the Greek word “arnion” is translated by the German word “Widder” (= ram). This seems to be a probable translation also bearing in mind that the lamb in Rev 5:6 is said to have horns. Because “arnion” is diminutive of “arên” I translate more literal by “little ram”.

The disciples are as little rams led to slaughter (Jer 11:19) in a middle of wolves (Luke 10:3). But in a middle of the disciples Jesus is (Matt 18:20), the little Ram who Himself has been slaughted as a paschal lamb (Ex 12:5; Rev 5:6).


Paul said: “I am the least of the apostles, (one) who is not fit to be called an apostle. … (I am) less than the least of all holy ones. … (Of missers of the mark of God) I am first.” (1 Cor 15:9a; Eph 3:8a; 1 Tim 1:15b)


Greek words:

arnion (little ram) Jer 11:19; John 21:15 – Ps 114:4,6; Jer 50:45; Rev 5:6,8,12-13; 6:1,16; 7:9-10,14,17; 12:11; 13:8,11; 14:1,4,10; 15:3; 17:14; 19:7,9; 21:9,14,22-23; 22:1,3.

boskô (tend) (in the NT) Luke 15:15; John 21:15 – Matt 8:30,33; Mark 5:11,14; Luke 8:32,34; John 21:17.

pleon (more) (in the NT) Luke 3:13; John 21:15 – Acts 15:28.


Additional studies:

Deut 6:5; Sir 19:13; Matt 12:36-40; 13:51; 26:69-70; Mark 14:29-31,66-68; Luke 7:44-48; 12:8; 22:54-57; John 11:27; 13:37; 14:21; 21:12; 22:18-19; Rev 2:4; 5:6; 16:7.


Majella Franzmann - Michael Klinger "The Call Stories of John 1 and 21"; Saint Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 36 (1992): 7-15.

D. Edmond Hiebert "Counsel for Christ's Under-Shepherds: An Exposition of 1 Peter 1:4."; Bibliotheca Sacra 139 (1982): 330-341.

K.L. McKay "Style and Significance in the Language of John 21:15-17"; Novum Testamentum 27 (1985): 319-333.


(Original version 2007-12-01; revised version 2009-06-09; 2012-05-26; 2014-12-20)

Back to the top

21:16 Again He says to him * (א*) : “Simon of John, do you welcome Me?” He says to Him: “Yes, Lord. You know, that I am friends with You.” He says to him: “Be a shepherd to My sheep.”

Word for word (22 words in the Greek text Sinaiticus prima manus) again (he)-says (to)-him: Simon (of)-John, welcome-(you) me? (he)-says (to)-him: yes lord, you 'know-(and-have-known)'/know that (i/I)-am-friends-with you. (he)-says (to)-him: be-a-shepherd (to)-the sheep my.


The Former Revelation (preliminary translation):

(The Lord said to Moses:) "You shall to (Aaron) be the things (being) towards God." (Ex 4:16b, Greek OT)

(The Lord said to Moses:) "Aaron, your brother, shall be your prophet." (Ex 7:1b, Greek OT)

Mariam and Aaron talked ‘according to’/concerning Moses. ... They spoke: "Not has the Lord talked (and talks) alone/only (with) Moses? Has He by no means and/also talked (with) us?" (Num 12:1a,2a, Greek OT)

(The tribes of Israel said to David:) "The Lord spoke towards you: 'You shall be a shepherd to My people Israel.'" ... (2 Sam 5:2b, Greek OT)

(David said:) “I (continually) was small in/among my brothers and younger/youngest in the house of my father. I was a shepherd for the sheep of my father.” (Ps 151:1b, Greek OT)

As a shepherd (the Lord God) will be a shepherd for His little flock. (Is 40:11a, Greek OT)

(The Lord said:) "I shall cause shepherds to stand up for (the whole rest of My people), (shepherds) who will be shepherds for them." (Jer 23:4a, Greek OT)

(Judith said to Israel: “Remember) as many things as it became/’came about’ to Jacob ... being a shepherd to the sheep of Laban ... , because entirely as (that) one was not caused to glow into/’for the purpose of’ the pain of (his) heart, and (the Lord) has not procured justice of us, however into/’for the purpose of’ a bringing to mind the Lord whips the ones drawing near Him.” (Judith 8:26b-27)

Simon beheld his son John, that he is a male, and he put him being in command of all the abilities/’military forces’. (1 Macc 13:53a)

The Jews and the priests have been pleased with Simon being their commander and priest leader into the (coming) age till a faithful prophet (will) stand up. (1 Macc 14:41b)

Simon called his two sons, the elders Judas and John. (1 Macc 16:2a)

(Solomon said to the Lord:) “You have arranged every thing throughout (with) measure and number and standing-place/balance.” (Wisdom of Solomon 11:20b)


The Latter Revelation:

(The Lord said:) “Out of (Bethlehem) a commander will come out, whoever/who will be a shepherd to My people Israel.” (Matt 2:6b)

(Jesus said to Simon Peter:) "Happy are you, Simon, a son of Jona." (Matt 16:17a)

(Jesus said:) “What does it seem to you, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take ends/toll or tax, from their sons or from the aliens?” (Matt 17:25b)

Again having gone away (Jesus) prayed ‘having spoken’/speaking the same saying. (Mark 14:39)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) "Do not fear, small/little, little flock, because your Father has been pleased with giving you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32)

(The Lord said to His disciples: “Be) like men ‘receiving towards’/welcoming their lord, when he may 'loosen up'/’set out’ ‘out of’/from the wedding banquets in order that, having come and knocked, they may straightaway open to him. Happy (are) those slaves whom, on (their) lord's having come, he will find being awake. Amen I say to you, that he will gird himself around and cause them to ‘lean back’/’lay down (at table)’. * (א*). And if he – according to the circumstances – may come in the second watch ... and he may find (them) in this way, they (א*) are happy.” (Luke 12:36b-38)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) “Who out of you having/has a slave ... being a shepherd?” (Luke 17:7a)

(Paul said to the elders of Ephesos:) “The Holy Spirit has put/made you inspectors to be shepherds (over) the (assembly) of called out of God, which He ‘made about Himself’/acquired through the own blood.” (Acts 20:28b)


The Apostle, the eighth and one of the seven:

(Jesus said:) "You are Simon, the son of John; you will be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter (= rocking-stone)." (John 1:42b)

(Jesus said:) “The one coming into/in through the door is (the) shepherd of the sheep. To this one the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he raises his voice (towards) his own sheep ‘according to name’/’after their names’, and he leads them out. When he – according to the circumstances – may throw/bring the own ones * (א*) out, he goes in front of them, and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice.” (Joh 10:2-4)

(Jesus said:) “I am the fine shepherd. The fine shepherd gives (P45,א*) His soul in favour of the sheep.” (John 10:11)

(The Son Jesus said to His disciples:) "My (א*) Father is greater than I." (John 14:28b)

But Simon Peter (continually) was standing and warming himself. They so spoke to him: “Are not and/also you out of His disciples?” That One denied and spoke: “I am not.” (John 18:25)


Exegetes, evangelists and others:

about 2000 and time before

He who loveth Christ loveth also His flock. (Chrysostom, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers XI:545)


Examples of other quoted authors in the Swedish version: Werner Aspenström, Erik Bernspång, Verner von Heidenstam, Lars Levi Laestadius, Mathilda Malmvall, Carl Olof Rosenius, Yngave Rudberg, John Stott, Allan Wickström, Ewert Wrangel.


My own comments and speculations:

The relationship between the brothers Aaron and Moses is a type of the relationship between the spiritual brothers Simon and John. Simon is the priest leader of God (until a faithful prophet stands up for the age, cf. 1 Macc 14:41b above) and the prophet of John, he who is a prophet of God. Compare Moses as a prophet in Deut 18:15,18 and John as the author of a prophecy according to Rev 1:3.

Here Peter for the sixth time uses the Greek word “kyrios” (lord). The number six represents what is imperfect. Cf. My own comments and speculations to John 21:15.

On John's precedence over Peter in the Gospel of John, see for instance My own comments and speculations to John 18:15-16, 20:3-10 and 21:4-7a. This precedence has no connection with any personal qualification in John, which would be founded in his own ability. He did not seek to make a name to himself like the men in Babel (Gen 11:4). The precedence is founded in the name given to him by his parents. Cf. John 10:3. The name John means joybringing (grace) or mercy and points to the salvation through joybringing (grace) in Jesus Christ. This name "joybringing (grace)", which characterizes its bearer according to prevalent Jewish outlook, is a very good name, the best one any of the disciples had. Compare also John's relationship to the priest leader Anna (= grace) and My own comments and speculations to John 18:15-16.

Concerning “Simon of John”, see My own comments and speculations to John 1:42.


Paul said to the believers in Ephesos: "(With) joybringing (grace) you are (and have been) saved through faith; and this is not out/’on the basis’ of you, (it is) the gift of God." (Eph 2:8)

A certain one does not take the honour to himself, however/but (is as one) being called by God, entirely just as and/also Aaron. (Heb 5:4)

Peter said to the elders among the believers: "Be shepherds to the little flock of God in/among you." (1 Pet 5:2a)


Greek words:

poimainô (be a shepherd) (in the NT + one example in the Apocrypha) Judith 8:26; Matt 2:6; Luke 17:7; John 21:16; Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 5:2 – 1 Cor 9:7; Jude v 12; Rev 2:27; 7:17; 12:5; 19:15.


Additional studies:

1 Chron 11:2; Ps 23:1; 78:71; Jer 23:2; Ezek 34:23; 1 Macc 2:1; 16:1-2; Matt 26:71,72; Mark 14:69-70; Luke 22:58; Rev 22:18-19.


Majella Franzmann - Michael Klinger "The Call Stories of John 1 and 21"; Saint Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 36 (1992): 7-15.

K.L. McKay "Style and Significance in the Language of John 21:15-17"; Novum Testamentum 27 (1985): 319-333.


(Original version 2007-12-01; revised version 2009-06-09; 2012-05-26; 2014-12-21)

Back to the top

21:17 He says to him the third time: “Simon of John, are you friends with Me?” Peter was sorrowful, because He spoke to him the third time: “Are you friends with Me?” And he says to Him: “Lord, You know all things. You have knowledge, that I am friends with You.” * (א,*א) He says to him: “Tend My sheep.”

Word for word (36 words in the Greek text Sinaiticus): (he)-says (to)-him the third-(time): Simon (of)-John, are-(you)-friends-with me? was-sorrowful the Peter, because (he)-spoke (to)-him the third-(time). are-(you)-friends-with me? and (he)-says (to)-him: lord, all-(things) you 'know-(and-have-known)'/know, you have-knowledge that (i/I)-am-friends-with you. (he)-says (to)-him: tend the sheep my.


The Former Revelation (preliminary translation):

Moses spoke to Aaron: “What has this people made/done to you, because you have led a great miss (of the mark of God) against, against them?” ... And Moses spoke towards the people: “You have missed (and miss) (the mark of God) a great miss (of the mark of God).” ... And (Moses) spoke: " ... Lord, this people has missed (and misses) (the mark of God) a great miss (of the mark of God), and they have made to themselves golden gods." (Ex 32:21,30b-31, Greek OT)

The Lord talked towards Moses, saying: "Take the rod and assemble the synagogue of called out, you and your brother Aaron, and you shall talk towards the rock opposite them, and it will give its waters." ... And Moses and Aaron assembled out the synagogue of called out opposite from the rock ... And having lifted against/up his hand Moses hit the rock (with) his rod twice. And it came out much water. ... And the Lord spoke towards Moses and Aaron: "Because you did not believe Me ... you shall not lead this synagogue into the earth/land which I have given (and give) them." (Num 20:7,8a,10a,11a,12, Greek OT)

Moses spoke towards the Lord: "Let the Lord, the God of the spirits and every flesh, inspect a man upon/’with regard to’ this synagogue, whosover/who will come out before their face and whoever/who will come into before their face and whoever/who will lead them out and whoever/who will lead them into/in, and the synagogue of the Lord will not be as if (they were) sheep, for which it is not a shepherd." (Num 27:15-17, Greek OT)

(Hannah said:) “The Lord (is) a God of knowledge ...” (1 Sam 2:3, Greek OT)

(Israel said:) “Tend your house, David.” … (1 Kings 12:16b, Greek OT)

The Lord will not thrust/push away into the age, because having humbled He will pity according to the multitude of His mercy. (Lam 3:31-32, Greek OT)

(The king) made (the priest leader) to be in command (as one) of the first of friends. (1 Macc 11:27b)

(Solomon said to the Lord:) “You have arranged every thing throughout (with) measure and number and standing-place/balance.” (Wisdom of Solomon 11:20b)

(Jesus, the son of Sirach, said: “God) heightened Aaron (being) holy like (Moses) ... He ‘caused ... to stand’/appointed him to an agelong covenant and gave to him a priestly office of a people.” (Sir 45:6a,7a)


The Latter Revelation:

(Jesus said to His disciples:) “You may so not care, saying: 'What may we eat?' or 'What may we drink?' or 'In what may we wrap up ourselves?' For the nations seek after all these things. For your heavenly Father knows that you of these things need all of them.” (Matt 6:31-32)

(Jesus said to the Pharisees:) “Every miss (of the mark of God) and blasphemy will be ‘let be’/left (alone) to the men ... And who – if according to the circumstances – may speak a saying ‘down from’/against the Son of the Man, it will be ‘let be’/left (alone) to him ... in this age (or) in the (one) being about (to come).” (Matt 12:31b-32)

Peter spoke to (Jesus): “Lord, if You are, exhort me to come towards You against the waters.” But/and He spoke: "Come!" Having descended from the boat Peter walked about against the waters to come (א*). He so (א*) came towards Jesus. But seeing the * (א,* א; B*) wind, he feared, and having begun to plunge entirely into the sea, he shouted, saying: "Lord, save me!" But/and having straightaway stretched out the hand Jesus took upon/’hold of’him, and He says to him: "(You) of few/’a few’ faith, into/for what did you doubt?" (Matt 14:28b-31)

(Jesus said:) “What does it seem to you, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take ends/toll or tax, from their sons or from the aliens?” But/and (Peter) uttered: “From the aliens.” But/and He spoke (א,*א): “From the aliens.” (Matt 17:25b-26a)

(The mother of the sons of Zebedee) says to (Jesus): ”Speak in order that in Your kingdom these my two sons may sit down, one ‘out of’/at * (א,*א,B) 'right (parts)'/'the right (hand)' and one ‘out of’/at ‘Your (parts) of a good name’/’Your left’.” … (Jesus said:) ”To sit down ‘out of’/at My right (parts/hand) and ‘out of’/at ‘(parts) of a good name’/the left * (א,*א,B) is not Mine to give, however/but (it is) to what ones it has been (and is) made ready by My Father.” (Matt 20:21b,23b)

Being extremely sorrowful (the disciples) began to say to Him, one everyone/’by one’: "Surely not I am, Lord?" (Matt 26:22)

(Jesus) prayed ‘out of’/for a third (time) speaking the same saying. ... (Matt 26:44a)

(Jesus) comes the third time and He says to (Peter, James and John): “Do you sleep entirely/soundly ...?” (Mark 14:41a)

(The Lord said to His disciples: “Be) like men ‘receiving towards’/welcoming their lord, when he may 'loosen up'/’set out’ ‘out of’/from the wedding banquets in order that, having come and knocked, they may straightaway open to him. Happy (are) those slaves whom, on (their) lord's having come, he will find being awake. Amen I say to you, that he will gird himself around and cause them to ‘lean back’/’lay down (at table)’. * (א*). And if he – according to the circumstances – may come ... in the third watch and he may find (them) in this way, they (א*) are happy.” (Luke 12:36b-38)

The Lord spoke (to Peter): “Who is consequently the faithful (and) sensible householder, whom the lord will ‘stand down’/set upon his attendance/servants to ‘give asunder’/distribute (א*) the bread-stuff measure in a seasonable time?” (Luke 12:42)

The faithful one in a least thing is faithful and/also in a much/great thing. (Luke 16:10a)

Having turned the Lord saw/’fixed His eyes’ in Peter. And Peter reminded the word of the Lord, as He had spoken to him that/: “Before a rooster ‘raise its voice’/crows today, you will deny away me three times.” And having come out outside he wept bitterly. (Luke 22:61-62)

A voice became/came towards (Simon Peter): “Having stood up, Peter, sacrifice and eat.” But Peter spoke: “Not at all, Lord, because I nor at any time have eaten every/anything common and unclean.” And a voice again ‘out of a second’/’a second time’ (spoke) towards him: “Do not make common what/the things God has made clean!” This became/’came about’ against/- three times. (Acts 10:13-16a)


The Apostle, the eighth and one of the seven:

(Jesus said:) "You are Simon, the son of John; you will be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter (= rocking-stone)." (John 1:42b)

Nathanael says to (Jesus): "From where have You knowledge of me?" Jesus answered and spoke to him: "Before Philip ‘to raise’/raised his voice (towards) you being underneath the fig tree, I beheld you." (John 1:48)

(Jesus) had knowledge of all (men) and ... He (continually) had not need ‘in order that’/that anyone might be a witness on account of the man, for He Himself had (continually) knowledge of what (continually) was in the man. (John 2:25)

But already being in the middle of the feast Jesus ascended into the sanctuary and taught. The Jews so (continually) wondered saying: “How does this One, having not learnt (and not learning), know letters (of the alphabet)?” (John 7:14-15)

Peter said to (Jesus): “You may not/certainly not wash my feet into/in the age!” Jesus answered him: “If – according to the circumstances – I may not wash you, you have not part in company with Me.” (John 13:8)

(Peter said to Jesus:) “My soul I will put/inter in favour of You.” Jesus answers: “Will you put/inter your soul in favour of Me? Amen, amen, I say to you: ‘A rooster may not/certainly not ‘raise its voice’/crow, till (the time in) which you will deny away (א,* א, A) Me three times.’” (John 13:37b-38)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) “Amen, amen, I say to you that/: ‘You will weep and wail, but the adornment/’adorned world’ will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, however/but your sorrow will become into/’for the purpose of’ joy.’” (John 16:20)

(The disciples said to Jesus:) "Now we know, that You know all things and have not need ‘in order that’/that anyone may ask you. In/’by means of’ this we believe, that You have come out from God." (John 16:30)

One out of the slaves of the priest leader – being a relative of whom Peter had cut off the ear lobe – says: “Did I not behold you in the garden in company with Him?” Peter so denied again. And straightaway a rooster ‘raised its voice’/crowed. (John 18:26-27)


Exegetes, evangelists and others:

about 2000 and time before

The sorrow which befalls (Peter) at Jesus' third question replaces his weeping, according to the Synoptics, after his third denial. (René Kieffer "Johannesevangeliet" p 489; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

(Borka) took hold of one of Mattis' ears and pulled it. "Two ears, do you need more than one", he asked pulling once more, so that the ear came a little loose from its hold. . . . When the struggle was over, Mattis stood there as a chief, bloody in the face . . . but still a chief in every inch. . . . (He) gladly wanted to say (Borka) some words of consolation. "The name of a chief and honour you keep in all your days of life, and with your men you yourself can run riot. But do not forget that Mattis is the most powerful chief in all mountains and woods, and my word has more weight than yours from now on, this you know!" Borka nodded dumbly, especially talkative he was not just for the moment. (Astrid Lindgren "Ronja Rövardotter" p 221-222; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

True love searches love in return and is not satisfied with anything else; as a loving bride would not be satisfied even with a kingdom in stead of the love of his bridegroom. (Karl Palmberg "Ur livskällan. Första årgången." p 226; Karl Palmberg /1842-1920/ was from 1883 a Lutheran clergyman in Månsarp in the diocese of Växjö and president in Jönköpings Missionsförening (Missionary Society) 1886-1911; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

The Dutchman: Do we not live in The New Covenant, where peace will be to those having a good will? The mother: Bend! The Dutchman: Before the Very Highest, before the duty, before the beauty and good I have bent; but against the evil and against the humiliation I have risen and I shall always rise, as long as I am sure of my soul's entitled demands for cleanliness! . . . My intents were so holy that I never hesitated to take the oath of allegiance before God, the All-knowing who read my heart. (August Strindberg "Holländarn" p 243; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

My beloved Sheep! . . . Dearest Sheep . . . Naughty Sheep. (August Strindberg "August Strindbergs brev IX 1892-jan 1894" p 245; letter 1893-07-17 and two letters 1893-07-25 to Frida Uhl; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

Not to the priests only is this (”Feed my sheep”) said, but to every one of us also, who are also entrusted with a little flock. For do not despise it, because it is a little flock: For “my Father,” He saith, “ hath pleasure in them.” (Luke xii.32) Each of us hath a sheep, let him lead that to the proper pastures. (Chrysostom, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers X:468)


Examples of other quoted authors in the Swedish version: Algot Ahlbäck, Carl Jonas Love Almqvist, Honoré de Balzac, August Berg, UllaBritt Berglund, Erik Bernspång, Elisabeth Beskow, Carl Boberg, Donald A. Carson, Winston Churchill, Sven Danell, Karl Frandell, Bo Giertz, Carl Grimberg, Torsten Gunnarsson, Peter Halldorf, Dick Harrison, Carin Lundberg, H.M. Melin, Vilhelm Moberg, John Ortberg, Lewi Pethrus, Harald Rasmussen, Carl Olof Rosenius, Göran Sahlberg, Sven Stolpe, John Stott, Einar Thomassen, Anton Tjechov, Bertil Torekull, Kerry Usher, Cornelis Vreeswijk, P. Waldenström, John Wesley, Eric Wärenstam.


My own comments and speculations:

Jesus does what Simon himself should have done. He changes His choice of words, so that Simon no longer can persist in formulating himself otherwise than his Lord. Compare with Matt 17:26-27 where Jesus repeats Simon's words: ”From the aliens.” The agreement between the words of Jesus and Simon is as greatest the third time like the difference was as greatest the third time (cf. My comments and speculations to John 18:25-27).

This is the seventh time, the perfect time, Peter call Jesus ”kyrios” (herre) (cf. My own comments and speculations to John 21:15 and John 21:16). This is Peter's true confession to Jesus, a confession which is connected to Jesus' joybringing (grace) and mercy. This last “of the questioner expected” confession can be contrasted to Peter's last “of the questioner no expected” denial. And the two first “of the questioner no expected” confessions can be contrasted to Peter”s two first “of the questioner expected” denials. See John 18:25-27 and My own comments and speculations to these verses.

Compare with how Jesus in Matt 20:21,23 changes the choice of words in His repudiating answer to John's mother Salome. Her “one at the right hand and one at Your ‘(hand) of a good name’/’(hand) of a good name’/left” is met by Jesus' answer “My right hand and at ‘(the hand) of a good name’/’the left’”.

Compare also John 13:37 where Jesus confesses Himself to Peter's words (about lying down his soul to Him) by answering with the same words. Compare the continued resemblance between John 13:38 and John 21:18-19.

Concerning “Simon of John”, see John 21:16 and My own comments and speculations to John 1:42.

Concerning the Greek word “Simon” we can see that this word as a name of Peter here occurs for the 24th and last time in the Gospel of John. In the other writings of John the name Simon as a designation of Peter does not occur. In the three Synoptic Gospels taken together “Simon” as a name of Peter also occurs 24 times. In the writings of John the number 24 represents the totality of the people of God in the Old and the New Testament (cf. Rev 4:4 and 21:12-14). So the conclusion can be, that John means that “Simon Peter” represents this totality of the people of God.

Concerning the resemblance between the Synoptics and John, see also My own comments and speculations to John 1:51a, where we see how Jesus in the Gospel of John uses the word “Amen” twice at 25 occasions. The number 25 represent Jesus together with the people of God (see for example My own comments and speculations to John 6:16-21). It is important for John, that the use of the name Simon is limited to 24. Simon is – with his confession “You are the christ/'anointed one', the Son of the living God” – the representative of the people of God before its Lord. If the name Simon had occurred a 25th time, it could have been interpreted as if he would represent the people of God together with its Lord (cf. My own comments and speculations to Rev 7:4-8). Simon Peter is the representative of the twigs in the vine but not the representative of the vine – Jesus Christ – itself.

Furthermore, notice Peter's words to Jesus: “Lord, You know all things.” With this the apostle John wants to say, that Peter now confesses that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31). In John 6:69 Peter has confessed, that Jesus is a man like Aaron (“the holy one of God”). In John 21:15 Peter still finds it difficult to see Jesus as ”the Lord”. First now Jesus for Peter stands out as the One who is “the Holy One of Israel”, as the One who is the Lord God Himself.


In this we shall have knowledge, that we are out of the truth, and in front of Him we shall persuade our hearts (א,*א,A), that, if – according to the circumstances – our heart may have a downhearted knowledge, that God is greater (than) our heart and has knowledge of all things. (1 John 3:19-20)


Additional studies:

Deut 6:5; 1 Macc 2:1; 13:53; 16:1-2; Matt 26:33-35,73-75; Mark 14:29-31,70-72; Luke 12:32; 19:17; 22:59-60; John 14:21; 16:6; 21:15-16; Acts 11:7-10; 1 John 3:20; Rev 22:18-19.


Majella Franzmann - Michael Klinger "The Call Stories of John 1 and 21"; Saint Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 36 (1992): 7-15.

K.L. McKay "Style and Significance in the Language of John 21:15-17"; Novum Testamentum 27 (1985): 319-333.


(Original version 2007-12-01; revised version 2009-06-09; 2012-05-28; 2014-12-21)

Back to the top

21:18-19 “Amen, amen, I say to you. When you (continually) were younger, you (continually) girded yourself and (continually) walked about whereat/where you (continually) wanted. But when you – according to the circumstances – may grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and others (א,*א) will gird you and make/do (with) you as many things as (א*) you do not want.” But this He spoke giving a sign of what kind death he will/would glorify God. And having spoken this, He says to him: “Follow Me!”

Word for word: 21:18 (30 words in the Greek text Sinaiticus prima manus) amen amen (i/I)-say (to)-you: when (you)-(continually)-were younger, (you)-(continually)-girded yourself and (continually)-(you)-walked-about whereat (you)-(continually)-wanted. when-according-to-the-circumstances but (you)-may-grow-old, (you)-will-stretch-out the hands your, and will-gird others you and (they)-will-make (with)-you as-many-(things)-as not (you)-want. 21:19 (16 words in the Greek text) this but (he)-spoke giving-a-sign (of)-what-kind death (he)-will-glorify the god. and this having-spoken (he)-says (to)-him: follow me.


The Former Revelation (preliminary translation):

(The Lord said to Moses:) “You shall gird (Aaron and his sons with) girdles ... And it will be a priestly office to them for Me into the (coming) age. And you shall make the hands of Aaron and the hands of his sons perfect.” (Ex 29:9, Greek OT)

(The Lord said to Moses and Aaron:) "Let Aaron be put/added to, towards his people, because he may not/certainly not come into, into the earth/land which I have given (and give) to the sons of Israel, for the reason that you provoked Me upon/'with regard to' the water of the insult. Take Aaron and his son Eleazar and cause them to go up into/to the mountain Hor opposite ‘every the’/’the whole’ synagogue. And ‘set out’/’strip off’ Aaron his dress and ‘set in’/clothe his son Eleazar. And having been put/added to (his people) let (him) die there." (Num 20:24-26, Greek OT)

(David said:) ”I have become/been younger, and for/so I have grown old.” (Ps 37:25a, Greek OT)

The Lord spoke towards (the prophet): "Do not say that/: 'I am younger, because towards all to whom – if according to the circumstances – I have dispatched you out, you shall go. ... Gird your hip around." (Jer 1:7a,17a, Greek OT)

(Simon said to Israel:) “My brothers have all perished in grace/favour of Israel, and I have been left entirely/behind alone. And oh, that it may now not become to me, (that) my soul be/is spared in every seasonable time of oppression.” (1 Macc 13:4b-5)

(Jesus, the son of Sirach, said:) “Rich and glorious and beggarly, their ‘object of boast’/boast (is) fear of the Lord.” (Sir 10:22)

(Jesus, the son of Sirach, said:) “The ‘object of boasting’/boast of (old persons is) fear of the Lord.” (Sir 25:6b)

(Jesus, the son of Sirach, said: ”God) girded (Aaron) around (with) a dress of glory round about. He set/clothed him in 'an object of boasting'/'a boast' of consummation.” (Sir 45:7b-8a)

(Jesus, the son of Sirach, said:) “Moses completed/fyllde the hands and anointed (Aaron) in/with holy olive oil. It became for him into/’purposed for’ an agelong covenant and for his seed in days of heaven to perform public service together (with) him and to be priests and bless the people (of the Lord) in the/His name.” (Sir 45:15)


The Latter Revelation:

(Peter cried out:) “Lord, save me!” But/and having straightaway stretched out the hand Jesus took upon/’hold of’ him.” (Matt 14:30b-31)

Jesus spoke to His disciples: "If anyone wants to come behind Me, let him deny away himself and lift his cross and follow Me.” (Matt 16:24)

Having stretched out the hand one of (the ones being) in company with Jesus pulled away/out his dagger and having hit the slave of the priest leader, he took off his ear lobe. Then Jesus says to him: “Turn/put your dagger away/back into its place, for all the ones having taken a dagger will perish in/with a dagger.” (Matt 26:51-52)

(Jesus said to His diciples:) "Let your hips be being (and having been) girded around." (Luke 12:35a)

Having led together all of it (א,* א, A) the younger son went abroad into a far district, and there he scattered his being/property asunder, living debauched. (Luke 15:13b)

(Simon) spoke (to Jesus): "Lord, in company with You I am ready to go and/both into watch/custody and into death!" (Luke 22:33)

Having beheld the things having become/’come about’ (concerning the death of Jesus) the “leadership of a hundred (men)” glorified God. (Luke 23:47a)

(Cleopas said to Jesus:) “You alone inhabit by the side of Jerusalem and has not gained knowledge of the things having become/’come about’ in (the ciry) in these days?” And He spoke to them: “Of what kinds?” (Luke 24:18b-19a)

A voice became/came towards (Simon Peter): “Having stood up, Peter, sacrifice and eat.” (Acts 10:13)

Having hit the rib of Peter (the messenger of the Lord) raised him. ... (Acts 12:7b; cf. the meaning of “patassô” in Ex 2:12; Num 14:12; Judith 2:27; 6:3; 9:3,10; 13:8,15; 16:6; 1 Macc 7:41; Matt 26:31; Luke 22:49-50; Acts 7:24; 12:23; Rev 11:6. I have not found any example elsewhere in the Bible where “patassô” could mean “hit to wake”. It is worth noting, that Peter in the Acts after the twelfth chapter only is mentioned in Acts 15:7-11. Cf. also Gen 32:22-32.)

The messenger spoke towards (Peter): “Gird yourself and bind under your sandals.” But/and he made/did in this way. And he says to him: “Wrap up (yourself) in your garment and follow me.” (Acts 12:8)

Having lifted the girdle of Paul and bound his feet and hands (the prophet) spoke: “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘The male whose girdle this is, in this way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind (him) and and give ‘to side of’/over into the hands of nations.’” (Acts 21:11b)


The Apostle, the eighth and one of the seven:

(Jesus said:) “I am the fine shepherd. The fine shepherd gives (P45,א*) His soul in favour of the sheep.” (John 10:11)

(Jesus said:) “If – according to the circumstances – anyone may render service to Me, let him follow Me. And whereat/where I am, there will and/also My servant be. If – according to the circumstances – anyone may render service to Me, the Father will honour him.” (John 12:26)

(Jesus said to the crowd:) “And, if – according to the circumstances – I may be heightened out of the earth, I will draw all (nations) (P66,א*) towards Myself. But/and He (continually) said this giving (so) a sign (with) what kind of death He (continually) was about to die. (John 12:32-33)

Simon Peter says to (Jesus): “Lord, where do You withdraw?” Jesus answered: “Whereat/where I withdraw, you are not able to follow Me now, but you will follow afterwards.” Peter says to Him: “* (א*) Because of what am I not able to follow You just now? My soul I will put/inter in favour of You.” (John 13:36-37)

The Jews so (א,*א) spoke to (Pilate): “It is not permitted for us to kill ‘no one’/anyone”, in order that the saying of Jesus might be completed, which He had spoken giving a sign of what kind death He (continually) was about to die.” (John 18:31b-32)

Having so heard that/: “It is the Lord” Simon Peter girded himself throughout (with) the outer garment – for he (continually) was naked – and threw himself into the sea. (John 21:7b)


Exegetes, evangelists and others:

about 2000 - about 1500

To follow Jesus, whether or not it means martyrdom in blood, is to deny oneself in complete obedience. (C.K. Barrett "The Gospel according to St John" p 586)

"Good night, little girls", Rundqvist's expiring voice was heard. "Dream of me, so you are nice. . . . If I only could be so nice - as - you! . . . Yes, Lord God, one becomes old and so one is not allowed longer to get one's own way, and then it only is a bad way with life." (August Strindberg "Hemsöborna" p 17; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

The king (to the councillor Herman Israel from Lübeck): "I observe that you want to lead me somewhere where I do not want; you have some intentions which I do not understand. Speak out, old man, otherwise you do me furious! You want to coax me to sign something on a paper. What is it?" Herman Israel: "The trade- and friendshiptreaty, nothing else! Nothing else!" (August Strindberg "Gustav Vasa" p 145; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)


about 1500 and time before

Everywhere (the apostle John) gives up the first place to Peter, both in addressing the people, and in working miracles, in the Acts of the Apostles. (Chrysostom, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers X:401)

Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labours; and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. (Clement of Rome ot the Corinthians, The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol I, p 6)


Examples of other quoted authors in the Swedish version: UllaBritt Berglund, Anatole France, André Gide, Olov Hartman, Bengt Hägglund, C.S. Lewis, Sven Lidman, Staffan Ljungman, Martin Luther, H.M. Melin, Gösta Sandberg, William Shakespeare, Erik Sollerman, Erik Sonesson, Morris West.


My own comments and speculations:

First now Peter hears Jesus' call ”Follow Me”, the call which he in the Gospel of John – in contrast to other disciples (cf. John 1:38,40,43) – did not get at his first meeting with Jesus (John 1:42).

Peter has the clothes which characterized the priest leader Aaron (cf. the words in Acts 10:13: “sacrifice and eat”). And at last he will like Aaron be brought into a situation which he has not wanted, but where he will glorify the Lord (cf. Sir 10:22; 25:6; 45:7-8). Compare My own comments and speculations to John 21:7b.

Concerning "amen, amen", see John 1:51a with My own comments and speculations.

See also My own comments and speculations to John 21:16.


Peter said to the believers: "Let the one (who suffers as ‘a beneficial’/’an honest’ א* man) glorify God in this name." (1 Pet 4:16)

(Peter said:) "’Having known’/’I knew’ that the putting away/aside of my dwelling-tent is swift, (as) * (א,*א) Jesus Christ manifested to me." (2 Pet 1:14)


Greek words:

gêraskô (grow old) (in the NT + examples in the Apocrypha) John 21:18 – Judith 16:23; 1 Macc 16:3; Heb 8:13.

ekteinô (stretch out) (in the NT + examples in the Apocrypha) Matt 26:51; John 21:18 – Esther 4:11; 8:4; 1 Macc 6:25; 7:47; 12:42; 2 Macc 15:32; Sir 4:31; 15:16; Matt 8:3; 12:13,49; 14:31; Mark 1:41; 3:5; Luke 5:13; 6:10,10(א,*א); Luke 22:53; Acts 4:30; 26:1; 27:30.

zônnymi (gird/gird oneself) (in the NT + one example in the Apocrypha) John 21:18; Acts 12:8 – 1 Macc 6:37.

neos (young) (in the NT + examples in the Apocrypha) Luke 15:13(neôteros); John 21:18(neôteros) – Tobit 1:4; 1 Macc 11:57(neôteros); 13:31(neôteros); 2 Macc 5:13,24(neôteros); 6:28,31(neôteros-younger);; 15:17; Wisdom of Solomon 8:10; 19:11; Sir 9:10; 51:13(neôteros); Baruch 3:20(neôteros); Susanna v 45(neôteros); Matt 9:17; Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37-39; 15:12(neôteros); 22:26(neôteros); Acts 5:6(neôteros); 1 Cor 5:7; Col 3:10; 1 Tim 5:1-2(neôteros),11(neôteros),14(neôteros); Tit 2:4,6(neôteros); Heb 12:24; 1 Pet 5:5(neôteros).


Additional studies:

Is 65:2; 2 Macc 6:27; Matt 8:22; Mark 1:17; 8:34-35; John 1:43; 15:8; 21:22; Acts 11:7; Rev 1:1; 6:9; 15:6.


J. Duncan M. Derrett "zônnymi. ferô. allos. The Fate of Peter (Jn 21:18-19)"; Filologia Neotestamentaria 8 (1995): 79-84.

Majella Franzmann - Michael Klinger "The Call Stories of John 1 and 21"; Saint Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 36 (1992): 7-15.


(Original version 2007-12-01; revised version 2009-06-09; 2012-05-29; 2014-12-21)

Back to the top

21:20-23 But (א,* א) having turned himself next to (Jesus) Peter sees the disciple whom Jesus (continually) welcomed * (א*), who and/also had ‘fallen up’/’lain back’ against His breast at the chief meal, and spoken: “Lord, who is the one giving you ‘to the side of’/over?” Having so beheld this one Peter spoke (א,*א) to Jesus: “Lord, but what (about) this one?” Jesus says to him: “If – according to the circumstances – I may want him to stay till I come, what (is that) towards/’in regard to’ you? You follow Me!” This saying so came out into/among the brothers that/: “That disciple does not die.” But Jesus did not speak to him that/: “He does not die”, however/but “If – according to the circumstances – I may want him to stay till I come * (א*).”

Word for word: 21:20 (29 words in the Greek text) Having-turned-himself-next-to but the Peter sees the disciple whom (continually)-welcomed the Jesus who and/also fell-up in/at the chief-meal against the breast his and spoke: lord, who is the-(one) giving-to-the-side-of you? 21:21 (12 ord i den grekiska texten) this-(one) so having-beheld the Peter (he)-spoke (to)-the Jesus: lord, this-(one) but what? 21:22 (16 words in the Greek text) says (to)-him the Jesus: if-according-to-the-circumstances him (i/I)-may-want (to)-stay till (i/I)-come, what towards you? you me follow. 21:23 (30 words in the Greek text Sinaiticus prima manus) came-out so this the saying into the brothers that the disciple that not dies. not spoke but (to)-him the Jesus that not (he)-dies however if-according-to-the-circumstances him (i/I)-may-want (to)-stay till (i/I)-come.


The Former Revelation (preliminary translation):

(The Lord) buried (Moses) in Gai in 'an earth'/'a land' of Moab near a house of Phogor. And no one knows 'not nothing'/anything of his burial place till this day. (Deut 34:6, Greek OT)

(Solomon said to the Lord:) “You have arranged every thing throughout (with) measure and number and standing-place/balance.” (Wisdom of Solomon 11:20b)

(Jesus, the son of Sirach, said:) “The things having been commanded to you, ‘understand . . . throughout’/consider these things, for it is not need to you of the hidden things.” (Sir 3:22)

(Jesus, the son of Sirach, said:) “If – according to the circumstances – (the one understanding the law of the Highest One) may stay in/on, he will entirely leave a name (greater) than (of) a thousand, and if – according to the circumstances – he may be brought to rest (the Highest One) ‘makes ... out’/releases him. (Sir 39:11)

(Jesus, the son of Sirach, said: “The) judicial verdict (of death is) from the side of the Lord to every flesh, and why may you disown/not agree in/with a satisfaction/wish of a Highest One?” (Sir 41:4a)


The Latter Revelation:

(Jesus said to one of His disciples:) "Follow Me; and let the dead (bodies) be to bury their dead (bodies)." (Matt 8:22b)

(Jesus said to the twelve:) “Search out who in (a place) is worthy, and stay there till you – according to the circumstances – may go out (from the place).” (Matt 10:11b)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) “Amen I say to you that/: ‘(There) are some of the ones standing here, whoever/who may not/certainly not taste death till – according to the circumstances – they may behold the Son of the Man coming in/with His kingdom.’” (Matt 16:28)

(Judas said to the priest leaders and elders): “Having given ‘to the side of’/over unpunished/innocent blood I have missed (the mark of God).” But they spoke: “What (is that) towards/to us?” (Matt 27:4a)

The hearsay of (Jesus) * (א*) came out * (א*) into the whole district round about Galilee. (Mark 1:28)

The Lord spoke (א,*א,A): "Simon, Simon, behold, the adversary has demanded ‘out you’/’your surrender’ to sift (you) as the bread-stuff. I have ‘been in need of’/’strived after’ on account of you, in order that your faith may not ‘leave out’/cease. And you, once having turned yourself next to (Me), ‘set fast’/confirm your brothers." (Luke 22:31-32)

(The crowds) (continually) called Barnabas ‘(the) brilliant one’/Zeus but/and Paul, Hermes, ‘already since’/since he (continually) was ‘the one in command of the saying’/’the chief speaker’. ... Barnabas (continually) and/also wished to take John, the one being called Mark, to the side of (himself and Paul) together with (them). (Acts 14:12; 15:37)

(Paul said to Barnabas:) “Having presently turned ourselves next to (them) we may inspect the brothers ... how they have (it).” (Acts 15:36b)


The Apostle, the eighth and one of the seven:

(Jesus said to His disciples:) “Amen, amen, I say to you, that one out of you will give Me ‘to the side of’/over.” ... There (continually) was one out of His disciples, whom Jesus (continually) welcomed, lying up/’down to table’ in the bosom of Jesus. Simon Peter so nods to this one to inquire who it – according to the circumstances - might be on account of whom He (continually) said/spoke, and he says to Him: “Speak who it is (א,* א) on account of whom He says/speaks?” (On) that one's so * (א,* א, A) having fallen against (P66,א*)’, against the breast of Jesus, he says to Him: “Lord, who is it?” (John 13:21b,23-25)

(Jesus said to the disciples:) “I come again and I will take you towards Myself to the side of (Me), in order that whereat I am, you may and/also be.” (John 14:3b)

(Jesus said to Mariam from Magdala:) “Go towards the (א*) brothers and speak to them: “I ascend towards 'the Father My'/'My Father' and your Father and My God and your God.” (John 20:17b)


Exegetes, evangelists and others:

about 2000 and time before

We may remember that Moses was thought to have seen heavenly things on Mount Sinai and to have been admitted into heaven after his death. (Raymond E. Brown "The Gospel according to John" p 145)


Examples of other quoted authors in the Swedish version: Elisabeth Beskow, Bo Frid, Bo Giertz, Anders Hultman, Lars Levi Laestadius, H.M. Melin, Fredrik Nielsen, Anders Nohrborg, Eva Norberg, J. Nyrén, Harald Rasmussen, Carl Olof Rosenius, Gösta Sandberg, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jesper Svartvik, Einar Thomassen, Ragnar Thoursie, Edvin Wirén.


My own comments and speculations:

Moses lived longer than Aaron. But also Moses died, even if it was some uncertainty concerning the circumstances at his death. This is a type of the relationship between John and Peter. Peter died before John, and there were some uncertainty concerning John's death. Would he die before Jesus' coming or not?

That the author John is mentioned in 3rd person singular is nothing surprising bearing in mind that also the author Moses spoke about himself in 3rd person singular. Sometimes also the Lord can speak about Himself i 3rd person singular. See for instance Num 12:8.

The Greek word “kyrios” (lord) here occurs for the 47th and the 48th time in the Gospel, a number which do not reach the complete numbers 49 and 50. But here in John 21:21 Peter for the eighth time uses the word “kyrios”, and with this confession Peter and all other true believers already belong to the new age. In the end of the Gospel we so have a situation which includes something belonging to an old age as well as something belonging to a new age (cf. John 17:14-16). Cf. also My own comments and speculations to John 21:1-3.


Greek words:

epistrefô (turn /oneself/ next to) (in the NT + examples in the Apocrypha) Luke 22:32; John 21:20; Acts 15:36 – Esther 6:12; Tobit 3:17; 6:13; 13:6; 14:5; Judith 5:19; 6:6; 7:30; 8:11; 1 Macc 1:20; 4:24; 5:54,68; 7:25; 9:16,50,57; 10:66,87; 11:7,51,73-74; 12:26,35,45; Sir 5:7; 17:25; 21:6; 48:10; Baruch 2:30; 4:2,28; Susanna v 47(Theod). Matt 10:13; 12:44; 13:15; 24:18; Mark 4:12; 5:30; 8:33; 13:16; Luke 1:16-17; 2:39; 8:55; 17:4,31; Acts 3:19; 9:35,40; 11:21; 14:15; 15:19; 16:18; 26:18,20; 28:27; 2 Cor 3:16; Gal 4:9; 1 Thess 1:9; Jas 5:19-20; 1 Pet 2:25; 2 Pet 2:22; Rev 1:12.

Additional studies:

Matt 16:24; Luke 9:27; John 1:43; 6:64; 19:26; 20:2,17; 21:7,19; Acts 1:15; 6:3; 1 Cor 4:5; 11:26; 15:6; Phil 1:25; 1 Thess 2:19; Jas 5:7; 3 John v 5; Rev 1:7; 2:25.


Majella Franzmann - Michael Klinger "The Call Stories of John 1 and 21"; Saint Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 36 (1992): 7-15.


(Original version 2007-12-01; revised version 2009-06-09; 2012-05-30; 2014-12-21)

Back to the top

21:24(-25) This is the disciple being a witness on account of these things and having written these things. And we know that his evidence is truthful. * (א*).

Word for word: 21:24 (19 words in the Greek text Sinaiticus prima manus) This is the disciple the-(one) being-a-witness on-account-of these-(things) and having-written these-(things), and (we)-'know-(and-have-known)'/know that truthful is the evidence his. 21:25 (0 words in the Greek text Sinaiticus prima manus)


The Former Revelation (preliminary translation):

Moses wrote the words of this law into a scroll. (Deut 31:9a, Greek OT)

At the time when Moses had brought writings of all the sayings of this law to a consummation into a scroll till into an end . . . he enjoined the Levites …: "Having taken this scroll of the law put it out of/from sides/'the side' of the chest/ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and it will there be into/’purposed for’ a testimony in (Israel)." (Deut 31:24-26, Greek OT)

(The prophet said to the king:) “The great God has given a sign to the king (about) the things which will be upon/’with regard to’ the last days, and the vision (is) exact, and the judgment of this one (is) faithful.” (Dan 2:45, Greek OT)

(The wicked say:) “We may behold if the sayings (of the righteous are) truthful.” (Wisdom of Solomon 2:17a)


The Latter Revelation:

(Luke said: ”I have written) to you, most powerful Theofilos (what eyewitnesses and rowers/servants of the saying have given by the side of us), in order that you may have additional knowledge on account of the security of which/the sayings you have 'been resounded'/heard.” (Luke 1:3b-4)

(The ones having received Peter's saying continually) 'were being patient'/adhered to the teaching of the apostles. (Acts 2:42a)

As (Paul) had beheld the vision, we straightaway sought to come out into Macedonia, concluding that/: "God has called (and calls) us to bring a good little message to them." (Acts 16:10)


The Apostle, the eighth and one of the seven:

It became a man having been (and being) dispatched away from the side of God. A name to him (continually) was (א*) John. This one came into/’for the purpose of’ an evidence, in order that he might be a witness on account of the light, in order that all might believe through him. That one was (continually) not the light, however/but (he became) in order that he might be a witness on account of the light. It (continually) was the true light, which gives light to every man coming into the adornment/'adorned world'. (John 1:6-9)

(Jesus said to the Jews:) “If – according to the circumstances – I am a witness on account of Myself, My evidence is not truthful. It/there is Another being a witness on account of Me, and you (א*) know, that the evidence (to) which He is a witness on account of Me is truthful.” (John 5:31-32)

The Pharisees so spoke to Him: “You are a witness on account of Yourself. Your evidence is not truthful.” Jesus answered and spoke to them: “And if I – according to the circumstances – am a witness on account of Myself, My evidence is truthful, because I know from where I came and where I withdraw. * (א,*א) You do not know from where I come and (א,*א) where I withdraw.” (John 8:13-14)

(Jesus said to His disciples:) "When – according to the circumstances – the One being called to the side of (you) may come, which I will send to you from the side of the Father, the Spirit of the truth, which goes out from the side of the Father, that One will be a witness on account of Me. But and/also you are witnesses, because you are in company with Me from a beginning." (John 15:26-27)

The one who has beheld he has been (and is) a witness, and his evidence is true. And that one knows, that he says/speaks truthful, in order that and/also you may (א*,B) believe. (John 19:35)


Exegetes, evangelists and others:

about 2000 - about 1500

I believe that the primary reason for Paul's use of the third person is the distance he has put between the experience and his present situation. (Leif Carlsson ”Round trips to heaven” p 173 commenting 2 Cor 12:1-2)

John not only portrays the figure and the preaching of Jesus as a believer, but consciously forms the picture from the faith of the community. (Werner Georg Kümmel "The Theology of the New Testament" p 265)

The Fourth Gospel (John) cannot be treated in the same way as the first three, and no artificial attempt should be made to harmonize its account of the life of Jesus with theirs. This Gospel holds firmly to the historic manifestation of God in Jesus Christ; but it is primarily a theological restatement of the meaning of that manifestation, in which the details of the presentation are all controlled by the significance for the faith of the believer which the writer has found in the events which he selects for record. (Stephen Neill "The interpretation of the New Testament 1861-1961" p 340)

One from the Middle Ages known legend tells that the other apostles on loose leaves had written down a great deal of the words and works of Jesus. When so all apostles except John had died, the leaders who had been educated by them could not keep together and arrange the material delivered to them. So they delivered it to the old John and he arranged it in three gospels, which we now possess, gave to each of them the names they now have and he himself wrote a fourth one. The details in (this) legend obviously are imaginary, but the important thing, that John have had a vital importance to bring the four gospels together is doubtless true. It seems indisputable that John, when he as an old man wrote his gospel, had known the other three. I his book “Hur Nya Testamentet blev till” (C. Skovgaard-Petersen "Hur Nya Testamentet blev till" p 119-120; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

It is not to be wondered that Luther called the Gospel of John "the only sweet right principal gospel". (Edvin Wirén "När han öppnade boken" p 235; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

John once was in wandering and came to a wood. In an old tree he found a bird's nest with seven eggs resembling the ones of the swift. But this bird only lays three eggs, so it was not the nest of this one. Because John was a great connoisseur in eggs, he soon understood that these were the eggs of the hoopoe, and he said to himself: the hoopoe must be near here, although the books say that it is not to be found here in the district. After a while he quite right heard the famous opp, opp, opp of the hoopoe, and then he knew that it was there. He hid himself behind a stone and soon he saw the speckled bird with its yellow crest. When three days laten he came home, he told his teacher that he had seen the hoopoe on Siarö (Seer Island). The teacher did not believed it but exacted proof. "Proof? Do you mean witnesses?" Yes!" "Well, I have twice two witnesses and they are in accord: my two ears heard him, and my two eyes saw him." "Maybe, but I did not see him", the teacher answered. John got the name The arrant liar, because he could not prove that the hoopoe had been there, although it was an unusual case there in the district. (August Strindberg "En blå bok I" p 9; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)

It is unnecessary to remind Protestant readers that legend and fact are not to be taken as the same thing and that, as far as the reliability is concerned, there is an enormous difference between what we know about the apostles through their own letters, such as they are before us in the new testament, and what has come to our time as old church hearsays. (Viktor Rydberg "Apostlarnes död" p 79; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)


about 1500 and time before

The writings (of John) shine brighter day by day. ... (His) doctrines are clearer than the sunbeams. ... It is plain, that nothing of this man's is human, but divine and heavenly are the lessons which come to us by this divine soul. (Chrysostom, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers XIV:6)

Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, ... refers to the apostle John, and calls him a 'disciple of the Lord', which is the same title used by Papias for the seven apostles/elders, Aristion and 'the elder John'. ... Dionysius (of Alexandria in the third century) had a reason for wanting to distinguish two Johns: he was determined to find a John other than the apostle to whom he could attribute the Book of Revelation, which he did not like. ... It is probable that Eusebius adopted the theory of two Johns for the same reason as Dionysius, namely that he disapproved of the Revelation for its supposed millenarian views and wanted to ascribe it to an author other than the apostle John. He therefore proposed 'John the elder' and quoted Papias and Dionysius in support of such a person. It must be admitted that grounds for believing in a second John, 'the presbyter', are extremely scanty. (Alfred) Plummer does not hesitate to write: 'there is no independent evidence of the existence of a second John. Papias, as interpreted or misinterpreted by Eusebius, is our sole witness. ... We, therefore, give up the second John as unhistorical.' (John Stott "The Epistles of John" p 37-39)

(According to the Rabbis) even the concluding verses in Deuteronomy had been dictated by God to Moses, and he wrote them down. (Alfred Edersheim "The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah Part II" p 685)


Examples of other quoted authors in the Swedish version: Lars Micael Adrian, Eskil Albertsson, Deborah Alcock, Åke Almgren, Ewert Amnefors, Honoré de Balzac, Elisabeth Beskow, Natanael Beskow, Olof von Dalin, Sven Danell, Elis Düring, LarsOlov Eriksson, Linné Eriksson, Hilding Fagerberg, A.P. Franklin, Anton Fridrichsen, Birger Gerhardsson, Billy Graham, Carl Grimberg, Axel Gustafsson, KG Hammar, David Hedegård, John Hedlund, Rudyard Kipling, Edvin Larsson, Aug. E. Lernberg, Ingeborg Lindqvist, J.E. Lundahl, Per Lundberg, C. Fr. Lundin, Filip Malmvall, H.M. Melin, Vilhelm Moberg, Ingun Montgomery, Fredrik Nielsen, Birger Olsson, John Ongman, Efraim Palmqvist, Hilding Pleijel, Bertrand Russel, Josef Simeonsson, Enock H. Skooglund, Kari Syreeni, Ture Sällberg, P. Waldenström, Paul Wern, O. Wieselgren, Stig Wikström, Edvin Wirén.


My own comments and speculations:

For Martin Luther the Gospel of John was the principal one among the four gospels. On the other hand it was difficult to him to think that the apostle John was the author of the Revelation. However, if this was the case, this book, according to Luther, should be regarded as a guiding principle just as the Gospel of John. We can wonder, if the Revelation had been received in a more positive way by Luther, if he had had access to the text Sinaiticus, prima manus, a text unknown at his time. Perhaps he even very well could had said that the Gospel of John and the Revelation were the principal writings among the New Testament writings.

Concerning “being a witness ... evidence”, see also John 1:6-8.


And the life was made visible, and we have beheld (and behold) and we are witnesses and bring a message to you (about) the agelong life, whichever/which (continually) was towards the Father and was made visible to you. (1 John 1:2)


Additional studies:

Gen 41:38-39; Deut 34:9; Joshua 8:32; 1 John 1:1; 3 John v 12; Rev 1:2,9,11,19; 2:13; 3:14; 6:9; 10:4,11; 14:13; 19:9; 21:5; 22:6,8.


Stephen Barton "The Believer, the Historian and the Fourth Gospel"; Theology 96 (1993): 289-302.

Richard J. Bauckham "Papias and Polycarpes on the Origin of the Fourth Gospel"; Journal of Theological Studies 44 (1993): 24-69.

Richard J. Bauckham "The Beloved Disciple as Ideal Author"; Journal for the Study of the New Testament 49 (1993): 21-44.

F.F. Bruce "Some notes on the Fourth Evangelist"; The Evangelic Quarterly 16 (1944): 101-109.

Donald A. Carson "Understanding Misunderstandings in the Fourth Gospel"; Tyndale Bulletin 33 (1982): 59-91.

Leo G. Cox "John's witness to the historical Jesus"; Bulletin of the Evangelical Theological Society 9.4 (Fall 1966): 173-178.

James D. Dvorak "The Relationship between John and the Synoptic Gospels"; Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 41.2 (June 1998): 201-203.

H. Eklund "Nytestamentlig och modern verklighetssyn"; Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok 13 (1948): 1-8.

E. Earle Ellis "Background and Christology of John's Gospel: Selected Motifs"; Southwestern Journal of Theology 31 (1988): 24-31.

E. Esking "Johannesevangeliet och historien"; Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok 10 (1945): 165-185.

N. Flanagan "The Gospel of John as Drama"; Bible Today 19 (1981): 264-270.

Robert T. Fortna "Jesus and Peter at the High Priest's House: A Test Case for the Question of the Relation Between Mark's and John's Gospels"; New Testament Studies 24 (1978): 371-383.

M. Glasswell "The Relationship Between John and Mark"; Journal for the Study of the New Testament 23 (1983): 99-115.

Michael D. Goulder "From Ministry to Passion in John and Luke"; 29 New Testament Studies (1983): 561-568.

Robert McQueen Grant "The origin of the Fourth Gospel"; Journal of Biblical Literature 69.4 (Dec. 1950): 305-322.

R. Gyllenberg "Johannesevangeliet som historisk källa"; Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok 43 (1978): 74-86.

B.E. (Bertil) Gärtner "Den historiske Jesus och trons Kristus"; Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok 37/38 (1972/1973): 175-184.

Everett F. Harrison "Historical Problems in the Fourth Gospel"; Bibliotheca Sacra 116:463 (1959): 205-211.

Howard M. Jackson "Ancient Self-Referential Conventions and Their Implications for the Authorship and Integrity of the Gospel of John"; Journal of Theological Studies 50 (1999): 1-34.

Robert Kusar "The Background of John's Gospel: Critique of Historical Methods." Canadian Journal of Theology 10 (1970): 250-255.

Andreas J. Köstenberger "Early doubts about the Fourth Gospel's Johannine authoship in the modern history of interpretation"; European Journal of Theology 5.1 (1996): 37-46.

Thomas D. Lea "The Reliability of History in John's Gospel"; Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 38.3 (Sept. 1995): 387-402.

E. Kenneth Lee "The Drama of the Fourth Gospel"; Expository Times 65 (1953): 173-176.

Andrew T. Lincoln "The Beloved Disciple as Eyewitness and the Fourth Gospel as Witness"; Journal for the Study of the New Testament 24.3 (2002): 3-26.

Barnabas Lindars "Discourse and Tradition: The Use of Sayings of Jesus in the Discourses of the Fourth Gospel"; Journal for the Study of the New Testament 13 (1981): 83-101.

Barnabas Lindars "John and the Synoptic Gospels: A Test Case" New Testament Studies 27 (1981): 287-294.

Barnabas Lindars "Word and Sacraments in the Fourth Gospel"; Scottish Journal of Theology 29 (1976): 49- .

J.P. Louw "On Johannine style"; Neotestamentica 20.1 (1986): 5-12.

O. Löfgren "Fakta och dokument angående det apokryfiska Johannesevangeliet"; Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok (1942): 110-140.

Francis J. Moloney "The Fourth Gospel and the Jesus of History"; New Testament Studies 46.1 (2000): 42-58.

W. Nicol "The history of johannine research during the past century"; Neotestamentica 6.1 (1972): 8-18.

John F. O'Grady "Recent Developments in Johannine Studies"; Biblical Theological Bulletin 12 (1982): 54-58.

Pierson Parker "Two Editions of John"; Journal of Biblical Literature 75 (1956): 304.

R. Wade Paschal "Sacramental Symbolism and Physical Imagery in the Gospel of John"; Tyndale Bulletin 32 (1981): 151-176.

John M. Perry "The Evolution of the Johannine Eucharist"; New Testament Studies 39 (1993): 22-35.

Eric Plumer "The Absence of Exorcisms in the Fourth Gospel"; Biblica 78 (1997): 350-368.

R.D. Potter "Topography and Archaeology in the Fourth Gospel"; Texte und Untersuchungen 73 (1959): 329-337.

Vemon K. Robbins "The We-Passages in Acts and Ancient Sea Voyages"; Biblical Research 20 (1975): 5-18.

Colin Roberts "John 20:30-31 and 21:24-25"; Journal of Theological Studies 38 (1987): 409-410.

E.F. Seigman "St. John's Use of the Synoptic Material"; Catholic Biblical Quarterly 30 (1968): 182-198.

Moisés Silva "Approaching the Fourth Gospel"; Criswell Theological Review 3 (1988): 17-29.

R. Smith "Exodus Typology in the Fourth Gospel"; Journal of Biblical Literature 81 (1962): 329-342.

David Wenham "A Historical View of John's Gospel"; Themelios 23.2 (February 1998): 5-21.


(Original version 2007-12-01; revised version 2009-06-09; 2012-05-30; 2014-12-21)

Back to the top

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict