Lay Reflections

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A Ley Driven Blog.


January 4th, 2020

One of the most mysterious verses in the Bible to me is John 21:11. “So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn.” This takes place after the Resurrection and just after Jesus asks the disciples to cast their nets to catch fish. But, why such a precise number? One hundred fifty-three is such an odd number as well. It had to have significance. The Bible uses numbers to express meaning. For example, anytime you read the number forty it means a complete cycle or transition while anytime you read the number twelve it references the tribes of Israel or the Disciples. Also, I understand fishing is a metaphor for evangelism. Obviously the one hundred fifty-three caught fish brought to Jesus must have a message for us involving evangelism. I was still stumped on the number. Then one morning I was listening to a sermon by Father Richard Rohr. He is a Franciscan priest who I cannot recommend highly enough. Please look up his books and podcasts. You will not be disappointed! Anyway, he says that according to Jewish scholars at the time it was believed that there were one hundred fifty-three nations in the world. Wow, the puzzle piece fell right into place for me at that moment. Jesus is asking the Disciples to bring before him the entirety of the world’s nations. What a commission! This has a lot of meaning to me because of the contrast to today’s world. We live in a world with growing xenophobia and racism and polarization. Jesus is not asking us to hide from the world and build walls but to go out into the world and unite the nations in a net that cannot be torn.

David Birchfield