The 153 Fish
Knowing that all scripture in the Bible has a meaning and is not wasted, the account of the 153 fish in John 21:3-12 has been a mystery as to its meaning.
After a night of unsuccessful fishing by the disciples, Jesus Christ, who is standing on the shore, calls out to them to cast the net on the right side of the boat, which they did. They then caught so many fish they could not drag the net into the boat.
They drew the net of fish to the shore, counted them, and found a total of 153. What's curious is why the disciples bothered to count the fish at all, and why the Bible records the number precisely at 153. The Bible could have instead rounded off the number to "about 150," or to simply have said "many fish," or "a multitude of fish." But it specifies the specific number of 153.
There have been theories as to what this number represents. The most interesting theory in my opinion is found in Grant Jeffrey's book Unveiling Mysteries of the Bible. The book says that a Christian army officer, the Lt.Col. F Roberts, made a discovery more than a century ago. He too was curious about the odd number of 153 fish.
Roberts discovered that the four Gospels record precisely 153 individuals who were specifically blessed by Jesus Christ. These divine blessings through their personal encounters with Jesus Christ included salvation, divine healings, resurrections, as well as those persons who were personally blessed through witnessing Christ supernaturally bless their friend or loved one (such as Jairus and his daughter).
Mr. Jeffrey goes on to list the 153 people who received a direct blessing from Jesus Christ, including the 70 disciples, 11 apostles, 10 lepers, 4 brethren of the Lord, the palsied man and bearers, the Centurion, Lazarus, Mary, Martha, the blind men, the demon-possessed man, Nicodemus, Peter's mother-in-law, etc.
The list also can be found the book Number in Scripture: Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance, by E.W. Bullinger.
Between the 4 Gospels, the total of these blessed people supposedly adds up to 153. If true, perhaps this number of 153 is more than a mere coincidence. It would coincide with the fact that the Lord numbers and watches over every individual who places his faith and trust in Him.
As Jesus states in Matthew 10:29-31: "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:29-31 NIV).
By George Konig
May 17, 2003
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