METAPHYSICAL INTERPRETATION OF JOHN CHAPTER 21
21:1After these things Jesus manifested himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and he manifested himself on this wise. 21:2There was together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.21:3Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also come with thee. They went forth, and entered into the boat; and that night they took nothing. 21:4But when day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach: yet the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. 21:5Jesus therefore saith unto them, Children, have ye aught to eat? They answered him, No. 21:6And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. 21:7That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his coat about him (for he was naked), and cast himself into the sea. 21:8But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from the land, but about two hundred cubits off), dragging the net full of fishes.
21:9So when they got out upon the land, they see a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. 21:10Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now taken. 21:11Simon Peter therefore went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fishes, a hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, the net was not rent. 21:12Jesus saith unto them, Come and break your fast. And none of the disciples durst inquire of him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. 21:13Jesus cometh, and taketh the bread, and giveth them, and the fish likewise. 21:14This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
WHEN THE DISCIPLES had toiled all night in their fishing boats without results, Jesus suddenly appeared on the shore and called to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and ye shall find." The result was 153 large fishes, so heavy that the net could not be lifted into the boat, yet it did not break. Man's mind is the net that catches thoughts, which are the basis of external conditions. The sea is the mental realm in which man exists. Toil of all kinds is a combination of mental and physical exertion. When the mind is exalted toil is easy. By using his mind man invents machinery that relieves him from wearying muscular labor. In a larger way the spiritual man uses his mind and takes advantage of divine guidance to lighten his toil.
The net of man's thought works hard and long in the darkness of human understanding and gains but little, but once the Christ Mind is perceived and obeyed the net is cast on the "right side," and success follows. The "right side" is the side on which man realizes the truth that inexhaustible resources are always present and can be made manifest by those who exercise their faith in that direction.
Whoever seeks supply through Spirit and submits his cause to the law of justice and righteousness always succeeds. The reason why men fail to demonstrate the many promises of divine support is that they cling to some selfish or unjust thought. "Seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." The bread and fish that Jesus provided on the
shore represents the supply of Spirit for the needs of the body. Not only does the Father provide for man in the natural world, as by the draught of fishes, but in the invisible world of substance are elements that correspond to the material things. Bread symbolizes the substance of the omnipresent Christ body and fish the capacity of increase that goes with it. Fish are the most prolific of all living things and aptly exemplify the ability of increase inherent in the Christ substance.
21:15So when they had broken their fast, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 21:16He saith to him again a second time, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Tend my sheep. 21:17He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 21:18Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 21:19Now this he spake, signifying by what manner of death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
21:20Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; who also leaned back on his breast at the supper, and said, Lord, who is he that betrayeth thee? 21:21Peter therefore seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? 21:22Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me. 21:23This saying therefore went forth among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, that he should not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
21:24This is the disciple that beareth witness of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his witness is true. 21:25And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that should be written.
Three times Jesus asked Simon Peter, "Lovest thou me?" Peter's spiritual advancement hinged on his possession of love, and the test of love is its willingness to serve. It is quite evident that Jesus was trying to teach Peter that if he loved truly he would serve.
Faith must be established in love and must work by love; and every faculty of man must be established in love and work by love if perfect harmony and good are to be realized. Faith established in love and working by love will remain steadfast at all times, under all circumstances; it will be our sustaining power during our every hour of need.
In verse 18 of this chapter Jesus explains further what He meant by His questioning. Faith (Peter), when it first begins to awaken to the Christ ideal, sees the unlimited possibilities that are presented in this new life; it realizes that it can bring into manifestation anything that may be desired. In its more
mature state it realizes the necessity for service in a universal sense. The giving up of the personal self (with the consequent working from a universal standpoint) is the death whereby we are to glorify God. However, laying hold of Spirit and its power should accompany the denial of self.
Faith (symbolized by Peter) is the faculty on which depends continuous supply; hence Peter is challenged with the thought of love toward Christ three times. Faith must be in loving communion with the Christ Mind in order to draw down to the thoughts (sheep) the necessary supply. Man does not live by bread alone but by words and thoughts from God. These come into consciousness through mental and spiritual laws. Peter's three successive affirmations of love represent fulfillment of the close Christ union in spirit, soul, and body. Faith at the beginning is wistful, vigorous, vacillating, but in its maturity it gives itself wholly to Spirit and is willing to die to self. This is the "manner of death" by which faith glorifies God: being absorbed into the Divine Mind.
Through repeated affirmations of love toward Christ, man develops a consciousness of divine love that abides at the heart center and fills the whole body with ecstasy. This consciousness is "the disciple whom Jesus loved."
Jesus revealed the mind of the Father. This mind is the life and intelligence of man as well as the substance that provides for all his needs. This providing power of the Father, Jesus brought out prominently, and He showed in various ways how
easy it is to obtain supply by trusting God. This teaching is not an encouragement to man to be idle, but rather to be active and trustful, constantly looking to Spirit instead of matter as the source of his good.
The actual resurrection of Jesus in a body that corresponds to the physical is not a subject open to debate by the followers of Jesus Christ. The historical evidence is ample to convince any unprejudiced mind. However, the study of the constituent parts of man, his spirit, soul, and body, reveals man's innate capacity to overcome the disintegrating effects of error thinking and living, and his ability, by conforming to the standards laid down by Jesus, to destroy the seeds of death and implant health and eternal life in his body.
To the oft-repeated question "If Jesus resurrected His physical body why is He not visible here among us?" we would say that Jesus overcame the sins that caused our original fall from the perfect body of the Adamic man to the diseased and dying body in which the race is now existing. When we have purified our mind and body and cast out every evil thought, our body will become transparent to human sight, as is Jesus' body. The idea that a transparent body is thin air, a ghost, is wholly wrong. Science says that the invisible electrical units composing the atom are millions of times more powerful than any visible thing. When the atomic energy in the atomic bomb was released great cities were destroyed. Jesus told His followers that when they were gathered in that upper room in Jerusalem the
Holy Spirit would descend upon them with power; and they were transformed from ignorant men into linguists of unbelievable ability.
Paul says, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." When we accomplish this transformation we shall see Jesus as He is and as we must all be in the resurrection from the dead and dying body in which we are now functioning. This is not to be accomplished by a great miracle at some appointed time in the future, but day by day we shall be resurrected out of the darkness of sense into the glorious light of Spirit.