The blessing of 153
In today’s passage, this is the 3rd time He appeared to His disciples after the resurrection before He ascended up to heaven, at the Sea of Galilee.
John 21:12 (ESV) Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
What kind of breakfast is Jesus offering? What kind of morning is this?
1. This is the morning when Jesus comes to find me
In Matthew 26:32, Jesus promised His disciples that He will suffer and be killed by the religious leaders, but after He’s raised up, He will be in Galilee before them. Just as He promised, this morning Jesus was in Galilee to find His disciples.
John 21:2 tells us of the 7 disciples fishing together. For 3 years, the disciples gave up everything to follow Jesus, with great hopes and vision and excitement to be part of Jesus’ ministry, all that came to a sudden halt when they ran away from Jesus at His crucifixion. They heard and even witnessed that Jesus resurrected, but they were back to their old life.
They were in darkness. Jesus appears in today’s passage, and they did not recognise Him. They didn’t know who He was, the man standing on the shore and throwing the net to the other side. To these people who were defeated and did not remember His promise, Jesus came.
How about us? Did we try to clean up our own darkness and it didn’t work? We need the Lord to come find us in the midst of our mess and darkness. When the Lord comes, that darkness becomes morning.
2. This is the morning when Jesus changes the failure to success, defeat to victory
In the bible, God uses this contrast between darkness and light to sometimes show us the spiritual state. The disciples fished at night but when Jesus arrived, it was daybreak. When we let the Lord come into us and from that moment darkness will depart from us (John 21:4-5).
There is nothing to give to the Lord; that was the spiritual state of the disciples. Rather than rebuking them, Jesus gave them the answer and direction they needed: throw the net on the right side. It is not about which side of the water, it is about obeying the Word of Jesus. The Lord says: Cast the net on the right hand side. They did, and caught so much fish that they could not haul it in. Later they counted. The bible records it was 153 fish.
What does 153 mean to those people back then in the Hebrew culture and biblical sense?
153 has 2 kinds of calculations that we can think of.
a) Add 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5… + 17 = 153.
b) 9 x 17 = 153
Number 17 in the bible appears when God overcame things and His enemies and allows His people to gain victory in the end.
• God overcame the sins of the rebellious people by sending the flood during Noah’s time. The flood began on 17th day of 2nd month, and after 150 days, Noah’s ark rested upon Mount Ararat on 17th day of 7th month.
• Joseph was 17 years old when he had 2 famous dreams about victory.
• Psalm 83, God lists the enemies of Israel and there are 17 enemies. Overcoming those enemies means complete victory.
• In Daniel 7, we see beasts coming up. The beasts have 7 heads and 10 horns, 7 + 10 = 17.
• Revelation 13 we see beasts coming up to mislead the believers; the beast with 7 heads and 10 horns.
• Jesus Christ according to their understanding, gained a complete victory over death in the grave when Father resurrected Him near sunset on Nisan 17th.
• Day of Atonement falls on 10th day of 7th month. 10 is the number of fullness, 7 is the number of completion. Fully complete, of God’s work and His victory and our victory.
153 = 17 x 9
9 is the number of the fruits of the Spirit. The work of the Spirit that gives us complete victory is expressed in the number 153. Therefore, the blessing of 153 is the blessing of complete victory.
Another blessing is that the net was not torn. If the net breaks open, you lose it all. The greatest blessing is not only does He give you, He allows you to keep it.
Peter’s eyes were covered and he was in spiritual darkness that he could not recognise who that Man was standing at the shore. When Peter experienced the divinity power, he said “Lord!” When we recognise the Lord, opens our eyes, what happens:
(i) Firstly, darkness goes away, we enter into the light.
(ii) Secondly, from our nakedness we put on our garments. God made the garment of skin to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness and shame, that represents Jesus’ sacrifice. When Jesus comes into us, our shame will be taken away.
(iii) Thirdly, night became morning. Darkness became light.
Thirdly he came in from the sea to the land, where the Lord is standing. Sea is the sinful world and land is where our Lord is standing right now. May we come up to land. That is the blessing of 153.
3. It’s the morning where the Lord gave the fish and the bread which the Lord had prepared
There are 2 kinds of fish we see in this passage. The fish that the disciples caught and the fish that Lord prepared.
When the Lord multiplied the fish and bread in John 6. Jesus says to the disciples, you follow ME because I gave you fish and bread, that’s not the point. The point is for you to recognise Me. But they ran away. Jesus is giving them another chance now. I believe the Lord is giving us another chance, eat the fish and bread He prepares, and follow Him all the way.
In John 6, Peter said “Where would we go? We will follow You.” But Peter didn’t. This time Jesus asked Peter to tend His sheep and follow Him (John 21:15-17). Are we ready Zion Church? Are we ready to tend God’s sheep? To tend His house? To follow Him? Let us hear His voice this morning “Do you love Me?”