An interesting point is that the fishermen do not seem to have dominion over the fish in John 21. The new gardener, Jesus does. In Him, the dominion mandate will be fulfilled, because He possesses all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28).
The Old Covenant was characterized by veils. The veil covered the Shekinah glory of God from view. Moses, for instance, wore a veil when he met with God. Those veils meant separation from God and His glory; it meant death. This veil folded and set aside after the resurrection is proof that the veil has been lifted. Isaiah 25 tells us that on that day the veil of death that is hanging over the nations would be removed. This veil is now set aside. The glory of God is revealed in His beloved and resurrected Son.
Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of large ﬁsh, a hundred and ﬁfty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn ( John 20:11).
Most Bible readers would simply skip over this little precise detail in the text, but we should consider always ask why the Spirit of God puts such a detail in the text. This is not just a round number. The text does not say “approximately 153,” but rather it states emphatically there were 153 fishes in the net. Why this precision? Is it simply to confirm that John’s eye-witness account of the event is accurate and that he was really there? Yes. The number serves this function in the text, but it is only an additional benefit in the text. The significance of the number “153” is symbolic.
Rich Lusk notes that:
While the use of triangulation (17+16+15+14….=153) and gematria (the numerical value of words) seems weird to us, there is almost no doubt these things are present in the passage. The number “153” pops out at you from the text, and cries for an interpretation. There are just too many easy-to-find connections to be merely coincidental.
James Jordan comments similarly:
This is one of those texts in the Bible that many people puzzle over. It is not a puzzle for some. They say this just happens to be the record of the number of ﬁsh that were caught, evidence of a true ﬁsherman’s recounting (e.g., Leon Morris; William Hendriksen). It is true that there were exactly 153 ﬁsh caught, but that is not the reason the precise number is given. It does not occur to such non-literary interpreters that the Holy Spirit often does not give precise numbers, and that if the precise number were not important, the text would only say “many ﬁsh” or “about 150 ﬁsh.”
Far from allegorical coincidence or allegorical abuse (common in the early church), this is a clear and necessary point of the text. John is communicating the completeness and totality of the nations of world; Gentiles and Jews are now coming into the arena of redemption. They are being joined to form one new family, one new creation under One Lord.
There is a lot going on in the first two verses of John 21. Jesus manifests himself to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias. Now, Tiberias is the Roman name for Galilee (see John 6:1). In verse 2, Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee is in this group of fishermen. In John 2, Cana in Galilee is the place where Jesus turns water into wine; lots of wine. Interestingly, the text only tells us of Nathaniel’s origin. In this passage Jesus is manifesting the abundance of His reign. There is a lot of wine in Cana of Galilee, and now a lot of fish.
…one in John 18 where Peter warms himself in the gathering of the unrighteous, and one in John 21 where Peter warms Himself with the One who is Righteous.
It may be thought strange, however, that he does not produce more competent witnesses; for he begins with a woman; but thus the saying is fulfilled, that God chooseth what is weak, and foolish, and contemptible in the world, that he may bring to nought the wisdom, and excellence, and glory, of the flesh.
That women were treated as irrelevant and unreliable in the first century context is a historical fact, and indeed, John has this idea in mind when detailing that women were the first at the empty tomb. As I have noted before, women become the new emissaries of the new world. In this sense, they become the new angelic beings. John is saying that the weak has become the strong. Again, all very conspiratorial. The women are undercover in the old creation, and when the stone is removed, they become open agents of the resurrected Lord.
…”The Spirit was not yet because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
Some have made a sharp distinction between the Spirit’s work in the Older Covenant and His work in the New. John seems to make that clear when he writes that the Spririt was not yet until Jesus was glorified. But as Leithart observes, the difference is not so much between the earthly/functional work of the Older Testament and the spiritual/heavenly work of the New Testament, rather the point is that the Spirit’s presence is more enhanced by “the ‘glorification’ of the Son in His death and resurrection that John can comment that the Spirit “was not yet because Jesus was not yet glorified” (Jn. 7:39).
Leithart concludes brilliantly:
Still, it is a basic error to introduce too sharp an historical discontinuity in the work of the Spirit. A covenantal approach insists, on the contrary, that the pattern of His working in the Old Covenant provides the framework for understanding His working now.
Providence Church (CREC)
Fourth Sunday of Resurrection
May 10th, 2009, 16th sermon
Sermon: The True Vine: Abiding in Christ
Text: John 15:1-8, SERMON AUDIO HERE
Pastor Uriesou T. Brito
Text: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Prayer: Our great Deliverer, You have brought a vine out of Egypt and scattered the nations, so you could plant it and see it bear much fruit. We pray that you would do the same with your people. Plant us that we may we bear much fruit. For this is our prayer, O Lord. Amen.
Sermon: People of God, the gospel of St. John is the perpetual embodiment of signs and symbols. Everywhere we look we see pictures and imageries of our lovely Lord Jesus. In John 1, He is the Word, in John 6, He is the bread of life and now in John 15, He is the Vine. Do we not get a beautiful portrait of the worship of God’s people? The Word preached and the bread eaten! We see Word, Bread and now in chapter 15, the Wine.
The upper room discourse runs from chapters 13-17. There is a supper in this discourse. It is very appropriate then for Jesus to use this symbol for Himself. He says in verse 1 that He is the true, genuine vine. This is Jesus’ seventh and final “I am” statement. Unlike the “I am the true shepherd” statement, which addresses the under-shepherds of the church of Christ primarily, this final “I am” statement is addressed to the church. It is filled with real warnings as we will see.
This imagery of the vine is found many times in the Older Covenant. God refers to Israel as a vine. As the pages of redemptive history reveal to us, Israel was a vine that was not bearing fruit. The idea of a fruitless vine refers to Israel’s lack of fruit; Israel’s failure to produce fruit for the nations. In light of Israel’s failure, a new vine, a greater Israel arrives. The Lord Jesus Christ is the true Israel who is the true vine. Continue reading John 15:1-8; Fifth Sunday of Resurrection: The True Vine: Abiding in Christ
The seventh Iam statement in John 15 is one of completion and perfection. It signals that Jesus has revealed himself completely. For Jesus to be the true vine means that he is the new life of the world; the true Israel who will bear much fruit to feed the nations. This is why John 15 bears such strong sacramental language (C.K. Barret). Jesus is the bread (6) and the wine (15).
Editor’s Note: In this sermon I have taken the interpretation that this pericope has the under-shepherds in mind, rather than individual sheep. The under-shepherds are the ones who go through the door and receive the affirmation from the Great Shepherd. This sermon is about 25 minutes.
Sermon: The Good Shepherd
Text: John 10:11-18, SERMON AUDIO HERE
Pastor Uriesou T. Brito
Text: 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
Prayer: Lord, you are a God of compassion and of all comfort (II Cor. 1:3). May Your Word and the truth of your tender care for your flock comfort Your people. For this our prayer, O Lord. AMEN!
Sermon: People of God, St. John chapter 10 is a familiar passage to many of us. The imagery of a shepherd caring for his sheep is one we have both heard and seen many times. You may have seen pictures of Jesus holding a little lamb. A quick search on google will show you hundreds, if not thousands of churches in the US named: Good Shepherd. The title is a very appropriate one. Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophetic word in Psalm 23. Jesus is the good shepherd and so we shall not want; Jesus is also the fulfillment of Psalm 80. Jesus is the shepherd of Israel and the shepherd of the re-made Israel of God; He is the shepherd of Jew and Gentile in covenant with Him.
This text presents to us our lovely Lord who is our great Shepherd. However tender the text presents itself, there is still some threatening imagery for us to consider this morning. This is not just about the Shepherd and the Sheep living in harmony, this is also about the hired hand and the wolves that are desperately looking for a succulent meal.
John 10 is relatively in the middle of the gospel. One of the negative aspects of chapter divisions is that we tend to think that chapter 10 is starting a whole new thought, but in reality chapter 10 is closely aligned with the previous chapter. Jesus brings sight to the blind man; He brings light into darkness in chapter 9. The narrative continues in chapter 10 with chapter 9 as a background. In other words, Jesus is the great shepherd who comes as light to bring salvation to His people. The great shepherd will do whatever it takes to protect His sheep. Remember in the garden that Adam shepherded the animals and gave them names. Jesus as the second Adam becomes the One who calls the sheep by name. Jesus is also the greater Moses. Moses was a shepherd for 40 years in the wilderness defending his sheep from the enemies. Jesus defends His sheep from the enemies’ attack. In fact, shepherding is a first step to becoming a king. The first two kings of Israel are shepherds before they become king. We see Saul and David as shepherds before they assume the greatest of all roles as kings shepherding a nation. The role of the shepherd is to lead His sheep into victory; into green pastures. Continue reading The Good Shepherd; Sermon on John 10:11-18-Fourth Sunday of Resurrection