Meaning of 153

When Jesus first met Peter at the lake of Galilee, Jesus gave Peter so much fish that the fishing nets broke and even their boats were sinking.

Luke 5: 4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” 6When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; 7so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. (WEB)

At that encounter, Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John. And the Lord's promise to Peter is that He would make him a fisher of men.

If you look at the accounts of Matthew and Mark, you will see that Jesus actually was watching Peter and Andrew casting their nets into the sea. It must have been very early that morning as Peter said they "worked hard all night". The Lord saw them failing in their efforts. Thus, Him using Peter's boat to preach isn't incidental for the Lord. Peter and his friends were chosen. And the Lord called them when they were weak and failing in the very profession they are in. No wonder the Word says that "His power is made perfect in weakness" (2Cor 12:9, WEB). If you feel you are weak in the very area where even your livelihood depends on it, it may not have been obvious to you, but you can be called to serve God at that very moment.

But I digress.

The Lord's promise to Peter to make him a fisher of men is fulfilled at least in symbolism when Jesus died and rose again and met the disciples at the beach by the lake of Galilee to restore Peter (John 21:1-23). In that encounter, again the Lord met them early, just like when He first went to look at Peter and Andrew when He first called them. If you love someone, you would go see the person again at the same place, at the same time of the day, hoping you will catch him/her, reminiscing of when you first met the him/her. Such is the tenderness of our Lord.

Jesus caused them to catch so many fish that they could not draw it in. Then Jesus said to the disciples to bring some of the fish that they have caught. The Lord did not specify which disciple were to do it. Peter volunteered and went to pull the whole net of fish to land, the fish that together the disciples were not able draw into the boat. This signifies that strength has come to Peter's service to the Lord. When you first go forth in your life to serve the Lord at His calling and you found you have the strength to serve the Lord in that area, you know that the Lord has now backed up your service. And that's a big deal. As apart from the Lord we can do nothing (John 15:5). If our service is not sanctified by the Lord, we should pause and re-evaluate our calling.

The number of fish Peter pulled in is one hundred and fifty-three. And the quality of the fish is now mentioned ("great fish") and the net did not break. If you add 1 to 2 to 3 and so on till 17, the total adds to 153. In bible numerics, 17 has the meaning of victory. And in Gematria, the Hebrew expression for "Sons of God" has a numeric value of 153. Thus the hidden meaning of 153 refers to the promise that Jesus made to Peter and Andrew that He will make them fishers of men. To me, it is a picture of a disciple of Jesus bringing people into His kingdom. It will be victorious. The quality will be good. And the means by which we catch them will never again fail us. Thanks to the Lord's death and resurrection.

To me, 153 reminds me of how the Lord first called the first believers to bring souls into His kingdom. It reminds me of the wonderful times I stood at the beach of the Sea of Galilee. It tells me I don't need to be strong to be of use to Him in His kingdom and that in my weakness He is able to call me to serve Him. And it tells me that the Lord will guide us to be effective for Him, ensure that the quality of the catch is good and how He will make us successful in this great work of His.

Our nets will no longer break, ever. Praise the Lord!

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