One hundred and fifty-three fish (Jn 21:11-21:11)


Simon Peter

Went aboard.

They hauled

The net ashore,

Full of large fish,

A hundred and fifty-three of them.

There were so many,

But the net was not torn.”

ἀνέβη Σίμων Πέτρος καὶ εἵλκυσεν τὸ δίκτυον εἰς τὴν γῆν μεστὸν ἰχθύων μεγάλων ἑκατὸν πεντήκοντα τριῶν· καὶ τοσούτων ὄντων οὐκ ἐσχίσθη τὸ δίκτυον.

John uniquely indicated that Simon Peter (Σίμων Πέτρος) went aboard (ἀνέβη) the boat.  They hauled (καὶ εἵλκυσεν) the net (τὸ δίκτυον) ashore to the land (εἰς τὴν γῆν), full of large fish (μεστὸν ἰχθύων μεγάλων), 153 of them (ἑκατὸν πεντήκοντα τριῶν·).  Even though there were so many fish (καὶ τοσούτων ὄντων), the net (τὸ δίκτυον) was not torn (οὐκ ἐσχίσθη).  John was the only canonical gospel to use this term εἵλκυσεν that means to drag, draw, pull, or persuade.  Funny, how they were able to count 153 fish, so that obviously this has some symbolic value.  Many ideas have been put forward, mostly dealing with future activities of these disciples.  St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE) said that if you add up all the numbers from 1-17 the result is 153.  St. Jerome (342-420 CE) said the Greek zoologists believed that there were 153 different kinds of fish.  The symbolism indicated that these disciples would be fishers of men in the whole world not just in Israel.  Here John used the common normal term for fish (ἰχθύων) that became a symbol for Jesus Christ (Χριστὸν).  Have you ever counted the number of fish that you caught?

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