John 21:1-14 – Unlike some of the other gospels, John doesn’t speak of all the times Yeshua appeared to people after his resurrection. He doesn’t give us a narrative of Yeshua’s ascension to heaven. What he does do is tell us about one last miracle that Yeshua performs as he is commissioning the men who will be his emissaries to the world. This last miracle was like the first that they witnessed (Luke 5:1-11), bringing their journey with Yeshua full circle.
After a night of fishing without catching any fish, with one word, Yeshua brings an abundance of fish for the disciples. To me, though there are almost certainly layers and nuances of meaning, Yeshua surely meant to send a message to Peter and John: Apart from me, you will gain nothing, but if you follow my command, you will reap in abundance. He was not speaking of material blessings, but spiritual ones.
King Solomon knew this: “Unless the L-RD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the L-RD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (Psalm 127:1) Paul also understood and passed on this concept to the Corinthians: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the L-rd, knowing that in the L-rd your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
John’s goal for his narrative of the life is Yeshua was to continually make connections between G-d and Yeshua, revealing his deity and identity as the promised Messiah. But as he closes out his narrative, he feels that this lesson for us is most important as we go forward as disciples of Yeshua. Anything we put our hands to – but especially things we do as we work for the L-rd – will be fruitless if it is not directed by him. When we move under his direction, we cannot begin to fathom the spiritual blessings that will come.