In this final chapter of John’s Gospel, we find seven of the disciples back in their old familiar fishing locality on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias, also known as the Sea of Galilee. They have, in a geographical sense, come full circle since their journey with Jesus began.
Jesus has brought these disciples back to where it all began when he called them to his mission. In both Jesus’ and the disciples’ minds, fishing was a symbol for their mission. And, with Jesus now raised from the dead and his ascension approaching, the hour of that mission is at hand. So, Jesus has brought them back to where they answered that first call to ‘follow him’ and become ‘fishers of men’.
This incident is then a parable of the disciples impending work, and ours; because when he calls us to follow him, we too are called to carry on his mission - to become ‘fishers of men’, or as Jesus commanded in his last words before his ascension, to ‘go and make disciples ...’
But before we can be effective in that mission there are a number of requirements that we must satisfy, and these are illustrated for us in verses 15-19 where we have recorded a confrontation with Simon Peter.
To be effective in our mission as followers of Jesus Christ, we must remove any barrier of sin between us and God, we must accept our responsibility to both Jesus and his church, and we must be prepared to deny ourselves and carry our cross.