Many of you know that my daughter, Michelle, and I recently returned from Israel. It was a fabulous trip, a pilgrimage I will treasure the rest of my life. There were many special moments. The first occurred while we were visiting a site by the Sea of Galilee that commemorates Peter’s redemption after denying Christ and Christ imploring Peter to feed His sheep. The scripture is found in John 21..
The disciples were doing that which gave them stability, comfort, income and was their occupation – they were fishing. Their minds were no doubt in a whirlwind, they had expected Jesus to be the Messiah, to rescue all the Jews from the hand of earthly oppression. With Jesus crucifixion, this hope was shattered and the disciples had scattered in fear. By this point, Jesus had appeared to them twice, showed them his hands and side, appeared in the midst of them when they were in a locked room! They were joyful, amazed, and beginning to realize that Jesus was more than a military or political leader. I’ve blogged about this scripture before because it is one of my favorite passages, if you missed that post, you may find it here. The disciples are once again ecstatic when they realize it is Jesus on the shore directing them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. They haul in a load of fish – 153 to be exact. The 153 fish and the significance of this number, what Jesus was saying, not only to the disciples, but to those of us who read His word today, is what I want to share with you.
This being one of my favorite passages, you may be sure I’ve read it many times and have heard it preached on multiple times. It was only last year when I blogged on it for the first time, that the fact that the fish were numbered, was revealed to me. That is the way God works and it is also why we call the Bible the Living Word. Every time you read the Bible, God reveals more to you of His truth; but He can only do this if you read, so I encourage you to prayerfully read. When he revealed the 153 to me, I immediately wondered about the significance.
Our much-loved tour guide, Hedva, explained that the Hebrew alphabet has 22 characters and each character has value. The values are as follows: from 1-9, from 10 to 90 (counting by 10’s) and from 100 to 400 (by hundreds), therefore 9+9+4=22. There are many names given to God in the Bible and they reflect different parts of His character and majesty, for example (this is only a small sample):
Jehovah Jireh – the Lord will Provide
Jehovah Shalom – the Lord is Peace
Jehovah Sabaoth – The Lord of Hosts
Jehovah Raah – The Lord my Shepherd
Yahweh – Lord, Jehovah
Adonai – Lord, Master
Elohim – God, Judge, Creator
Ani Elohim – means I am God and in the Hebrew language, its value equals 153 . . . Let that sink in, it rocked my world!
Throughout His ministry on earth Jesus revealed to his disciples that He was the Messiah, but they did not truly understand it until after the Resurrection and it wasn’t until Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came, that their understanding deepened and they realized that God’s plan was so much more than earthly. I believe that the 153 is there for you and me. Certainly, the disciples would have looked back and realized that even in the number of fish, Jesus was proclaiming to them that He is God. How much more important for those of us today who are searching for the truth, both Jew and Gentile, to see that the Messiah has come and His name is Jesus and He will return to ultimately remove all oppression.
I would love to hear of a time when God revealed a truth through scripture to you. If you’re reading this and wondering what all the fuss is about and who Jesus is, or perhaps you have met those who made you think poorly of Christianity and therefore you had no interest in Jesus, I would like to send you the book of John from the Bible. Meet Jesus and decide for yourself. Message me or contact me via my website www.temabannerauthor.com with your name and address. Your request will be kept confidential and I will not keep your contact info nor use it for any purpose other than sending you this information.
Father, empty me of me and fill me up with thee. Amen