What Do You See?
A couple days ago, someone asked me a question about why specific numbers are mentioned relating to some fish. It was a very good question. Then I thought, gee, I wonder how my readers and subscribers would answer that question. Want to take a shot at the question?
I will give you the question and the verse from whence the question comes. But before you answer the question I want you to picture the question in your mind. Another words, think about if you were there, what would you see. Then ask yourself, what do I see?
Here is the question and my answer. If any of you want to add your thoughts about the question, feel free. Post your comment. The verse that birthed the question – John 21:11 KJV “Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.”
The question – Why did God say specifically 153 fish were in the net? God could have said the net was overflowing but he didn’t, he said specifically 153 fish, why? How would you answer that question? So here was my answer.
This is pure speculation on my part because scripture does not give us a clear and specific reason why specific numbers are used. But we know God gives us numbers for a reason. Some reasons, to tell us future events (prophecy), some to chronicle history and some to show his power and glory. Elijah comes to mind. ( 1 Kings 18 )
God also uses symbols. Just like scorpions and snakes in Luke 10:17-20. This does not mean we will step on real scorpions or snakes but evil powers, and Jesus tells us that when he said, all power of the enemy. God will take something in this world that we know and understand, like seeds. Then he uses things from this world to make a “spiritual” point. Remember, we live in the spirit not the flesh. Just as the seed represents God ‘s word Luke 8:10-15, the fish represents souls, souls of man.
In John 21 there is a focus on Peter. The chapter starts with Peter making a decision, in his flesh, to do something in this world (a carnal action – fish for fish).
We know Judas hung himself so there are 11 major disciples left. But 6 of the 11 were with Peter that day, and 4 were missing. Peter had to be some kind of a leader with leadership skills because when he decided to go fish, the other 6 decided to follow him.
Why specifically mention 153 fish in John 21:11 KJV ?
The same reason you mention 5 loaves and 2 fish in Matthew 14:16-21KJV
If we add the numbers together 1+5+3=9. 9 is the number for fruit in scripture. There are 9 fruit of the Holy Spirit as Galatians 5 tells us. So symbolically, 153 = fruit. And what did Jesus tell Peter? 3 times, do you love me, feed my sheep. Why 3 times? Three is the number of the Godhead aka trinity. It is like saying – Peter – God has called you to feed sheep, fish for souls, (people) not fish for fish, carnal things you want to do.
I believe, my speculation, the 153 represent God’s power and glory just as the 5 loaves and 2 fish in Matthew. I believe Jesus was trying to get Peter to stop making decisions based on what Peter wanted and to trust God working through Peter and the only way that can happen for a saved person is to crucify the flesh and lusts of the flesh and live and walk in the spirit man. Peter was already saved and received the Holy Spirit as John 20: 21-23 tells us. But Peter was living for his wants and what he wanted to do
Jesus was making a point with Peter by giving 153 fish. It was a miracle. So it would be like saying –
God has saved you and called you to be a fisher of men (souls) do this and once we do it, God gives us a miracle. Why? To teach us to let go of our wants and feed God’s sheep. And if you do, you will see miracles, like seeing 153 fish.
Peter was somewhat prideful and confident in himself. He struggled to let go of things in this world and ask God then trust God if you get what you want, or not. Jesus showed Peter he was not who he thought he was when Peter denied him and in Acts when the sheet of unclean animals appeared. Both were to get the pride out of Peter, and teach him to look deeper.
When a person gets saved they try to bring God into their life and change. But later they realize, they can’t. That’s why when someone gets saved, the old them dies, is dead, is gone. The way they were is never again, they are a completely new creature in Christ. A whole new person with a new life. Peter was trying to keep part of his old life and control and Jesus was trying to show him if you let go and follow me, feed my sheep, I will do incredible things through you ( hence 153 fish, a miracle – represents souls).
Only what we do for Christ we take to heaven with us, nothing else. And it has to be from a pure heart and motive. Jesus finishes explaining this to Peter by telling him, when you were young you went where you wanted but the time is coming when you will not be able to do what you want.
People get so caught up in things and in things of this world, even believers. Paul is the disciple to the church age, and Paul was teaching the church how to live in the spirit man not the flesh. That is what Jesus was trying to show Peter, do spiritual work, feed my sheep, fish for souls.
As you know I was in sales and music when I got saved. Yes, I could have prospered greatly in this world and had a much better life. But I chose, willingly, to learn about God, to sacrifice things in this world so I could stay home and study God’s word. Learn God’s ways.
God has proven to me over and over I can trust him. I don’t expect others to understand. One of the keys God has taught me is don’t look at what I see or what I want, but look from a spiritual sense. When you close your eyes, you are in God’s realm, when you open your eyes, you see the world. Learn to live with your eyes closed to things of this world and open to the things of God.
And that was my answer.