On long car trips I like to play a game. I like to add up license plate numbers and then figure out divisibility. Give me a shout out below if you like to do the same. It passes the time and numbers are fascinating to me. Anyhow…..someone in the past had mentioned how interesting it is in the last chapter of John how 153 fish are mentioned. Contemplating why in the world would the number of fish be so important to mention in the Gospel of John. I mean John could have said there were so many fish caught that thankfully the net did not break or the net did not break under the pressure of such a large catch. Then I imagined them all there counting how many large fish were caught before they eat just to make sure they could record the right amount. That is hysterical to me…one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish…oooops Dr Seuss. I am pretty sure God wanted this recorded in the gospel of John, yet why? Why 153 fish, why record it, and I am pretty sure Jesus could tell them how many fish were there; so why???Back in September of 2013 the Lord asked me to do something. He reminded me of my car game with numbers and He had me go and read the following account in John 21:
“Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch. ” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work ), and threw himself into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish. So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.” John 21:3-14 NASB
Notice the words I bolded above. Right side, hundred and fifty three, and third time. Also note that these same circumstances happen when Jesus first meets Peter as told in Luke 5:1-11; yet we only know a great quantity was caught. For me this means that a full circle has occurred. We have come “full circle” and we have come this far for a very important reason–JESUS!
Let’s look at the numbers now. This is the picture the Lord gave me:
The number of fish divided by the number of the time Jesus manifested Himself after He was raised from the dead. Like this
153 / 3 = 51
What do these numbers mean in the Bible:
100- God’s election of grace, children of promise, full reward
50- Jubilee, liberty, number of the Holy Spirit
3- Resurrection, divine completeness, perfection
1- Unity, number of God
This number of fish is what the men gathered in the net from the right side of the boat. The right side means our natural self, doing things out of our natural ability. Like when Peter had declared that he too could suffer the things the Christ would but later denied he knew Jesus. (John 13:36-38 and John 18:25-27) Jesus takes a natural story (catching of fish) and covers it in the supernatural (abundance and the perfect number to announce exactly what He did for Peter and for us). What He did for Peter He also did for the whole world. As we believe in Him, He takes our natural side and covers it with Himself. The fish being pulled up confirm and point to what Jesus already did for the whole world through His death and resurrection. He purchased humanity for His bride and proclaimed those that believe Who He is: children of grace and promise; entering into the time of jubilee and liberty through Him; giving the ability to be filled with Him by the Holy Spirit; assuring us of Divine completeness and perfection through Him ; and having full assurance of resurrection with Him. Not only did He proclaim this through a simple catch of fish, he then confirmed Himself by repeating it….look closer—
153/3=51 or 351 is 153 backwards
When I saw that I heard: “I am that I am. I confirm Myself.”. Wow, amazing!
We are all or have been Peter. We want to do things in our own natural ability. Even to the point of obedience to God. Truly though we are saved by Grace alone. Not by anything I have done or not done, will or won’t do, nothing by my merit has or ever will save me, JUST JESUS. The whole world needs this Savior, Jesus. He did it all for us and then confirmed what He did for each of us through the catch of fish pulled in that day, 153, the third time He showed Himself after the resurrection. All of us have tried doing things on our own, through our natural self and Jesus shows us, tells us: I am here just pull Me in. All you have to do is, Believe.