Jesus’ return home part II: Jesus’ appearance at the Sea of Galilee in John 21

Jesus’ return home part II: Jesus’ appearance at the Sea of Galilee in John 21

In part 1 of this little series I have tried to show that the Emmaus apparition story in Luke, which is quite bizarre when Emmaus is located in Judaea, is historically more solid if Emmaus is interpreted as the Galilean village of Hammath 2,5 km south of the Galilean capital Tiberias. In this interpretation Jesus is approaching his home town, and the Emmaus story describes Jesus’ first contact in his native region after an absence of three years. As we have seen Emmaus and Hammath are linguistically similar to each other in Greek. This Galilean setting of the Emmaus narrative creates the opportunity to look at other apparition stories and to see if these stories might also have a Galilean connection. Such a Galilean apparition story is present in one of the other gospels, concretely in John 21. As is to be expected in the gospels with their quasi-deleted chronology, it is not possible to connect the Emmaus story and Jesus’ apparition at the Sea of Galilee in John 21 historically on the basis of any chronological clue in the text. Nevertheless there is an interesting time connection between both stories. While the Emmaus narrative plays in the evening, the story in John plays during the night and the morning. This allows for an attractive speculation, in that these two stories give an account of one uninterrupted time period, the evening of day 1, the night between day 1 and 2 and the morning of day 2. Some support for this speculation can be found in the verses following the Emmaus story in Luke, which connect in turn to the story in John. One comprehensive story of Jesus’ first experiences on arriving home again might have been cut in three, with the first and last part present in Luke and the middle part inserted into the gospel of John. The middle part is about fishing, in the third part Jesus is eating a piece of prepared fish.


Schematically these fragments connect as follows:

Jesus return home

Luke 24:13-35 Jesus’ apparition on the road to Emmaus



John 21:1-13 Jesus’ apparition at the Sea of Galilee

Luke 24:36-43 An apparition of Jesus to the disciples