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153 – One Hundred and Fifty-Three


During the miraculous catch of fish by seven apostles with the guidance of the Risen Lord, the number of fish was 153 (Jn 21:11).

The scholars attempted to give meaning to number 153:

1. According to Saint Cyril of Alexandria, 153, which is a sum of 100, 50, and 3 have specific meanings. Hundred, a number indicating fullness, represents the Gentiles. The full flock of sheep of a shepherd was 100 as given in Jesus’ parable (Mt 18:12), and the full yield of good seed according to the Bible was hundredfold (Gen 26:12; Mt 13:8). Fifty stands for the remnant of Israel that God would gather (Jer 23:3). And three stand for the Holy Trinity.

2. Saint Augustine gives another interpretation. There are Ten Commandments and seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. The sum of both is 17. The sum of 1 through 17 (1 + 2 + 3 + …) is 153. So, 153 fish stand for all who attain salvation by keeping God’s commandments and blessed by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

3. According to Saint Jerome, there were 153 species of fish in the lake. So, the number shows all kinds of people in the world whom the disciples would accommodate in the church.

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