I enjoy writing, and the idea of keeping up with a blog, but I hate searching for a topic. What should I write about? What’s topic or point should I address? And what can I do to keep from that writer’s block each week?
I know. Start a series. But what series?
People get into numbers. Superstitions abound. (Think about 13.) Meaning is given to certain numbers. And people look for meaning and connections in numbers in the Bible.
So…let’s have fun with some numbers. Let’s look at some numbers in the Bible. We’ll look at some interpretations, maybe a few superstitions, some interesting backgrounds and spiritual insights, and some applications. And maybe we’ll learn along the way – I as I do some research, you as I share with you.
Here’s a teaser. Any guesses as to what these numbers might represent, or what I might say about them in coming weeks?
5,000…40…153…3 ½ …144,000…12…666…77…5…2…3…10…50
I’m going to start with 153.
Ring any bells? It’s actually one of my favorite numbers. From the last chapter of John, an appearance of Jesus after his resurrection and a fishing story.
Jesus shows up on a beach after the disciples have been fishing all night and caught nothing. He gives instructions, they follow, and they catch fish…an abundance of fish…”one hundred fifty three large fish.” They bring in the nets and fish (and count the fish?), join Jesus for breakfast on the beach, then Jesus calls Peter to “feed my sheep.”
So why 153? There are some theories.
It has been speculated that 153 was they number of known nations/groups of the world at that time, or that 153 was the total number of known species of fish. Either way, it points to a universality of God’s mission and call.
Some have suggested that there may have been 153 people in John’s community when the gospel was written. All of them are thus included.
Some have tried to add up different numbers to total 153, and explain or affirm something.
Perhaps the reason the gospel tells us there were 153 large fish caught is…well…because there really were 153 fish caught. Large fish. An abundance of fish. Not some secret symbolic number, but some specific record of how overwhelmingly over-the-top God’s grace is.
More numbers to come. But for now, check out John chapter 21, a great fishing and community story. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+21&version=NRSV And think about 153 fish – large fish – and some overwhelmed, abundantly blessed, fishermen wondering what’s next.