June 28 - 153?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 28 – 153?

Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee.  It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. (John 21:1-14)

Have you ever wondered why the number of fish counted is so specific in this Gospel?  There are any number of theories out there.  I just read one that asked you to sum the cube of the digits and you will get 153.  It’s all about the number three.

Another interprets the number as the generations of humanity in existence.  76 before Christ, 76 following Him before He returns. (That’s kind of entertaining to consider.)

There are considerations that He ministered to 153 people in the Gospel of John, but John kind of discounts that in the previous verses when He mentioned that Jesus performed many other signs – probably some of them were ministry to other people.

More than likely the number simply tells us that John was an eyewitness.  And you know those fishermen, they want to know exact details about everything.  The size, weight and the exact number that they brought in.  John was there.  He experienced the miracle and he is telling us about it. 

One other small point made about this passage comes from the fire on the beach.  This was a fire made from coal – not driftwood or anything else.  That’s an interesting detail as well.  The last time we saw a fire made from coal, it was just inside the high priest’s courtyard and Peter was warming his hands over it just as he denied Jesus. 

Peter’s all-consuming, unadulterated joy at seeing Jesus again is shown in his response as he pulled off his outer clothing and jumped into the lake to race the boat to shore.  His redemption is at hand.