sermonette: Why 153?

David C. Grabbe
Given 04-Jan-20; Sermon #1523s; 19 minutes

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The eight signs in the Book of John form a chiasm, where the first element corresponds to the last element, the second element to the second-to-the-last one, etc. The first sign corrected the physical need for wine (a symbol of the New Covenant) in a joyful occasion; the eighth sign corrected a spiritual need on the part of God's people. Christ did not use the 153 fish in the eighth sign (John 21:11) to feed the disciples; He provided their necessary food Himself. Rather, the fish symbolize the disciple's role as fishers of men, a role they had neglected. The number 153 appears linked to the narrative of the three contingents of men sent to fetch Elisha (II Kings 1:1-14). Here, God saves a humble, repentant remnant brought back by faithful fishermen and hunters (Jeremiah 16:14-16). God will regather the people of Israel, one by one, not even the smallest grain falling to the ground. Jesus is looking for His people to fulfill their role as fishers of men.


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