John 21:7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved (that is: John, the gospel writer) saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. 8 And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. 9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. 10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. 11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. 12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
This was an appearance which Jesus made to His disciples at Galilee.
Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James and John, and two other disciples had gone fishing overnight. They had caught nothing. Jesus calls to them from the shore. He tells them to cast the net on the right side of the ship. They do and immediately the net fills with fish. John realises it is Jesus on the shore. Peter, as impetuous as ever, can’t wait for the boat to reach the shore, so puts on his coat and swims ashore to be the first to meet Jesus. The others don’t drag the net on board, rather they drag it ashore. They count the fish -153. We might reasonably suppose that they were all good, none to be rejected. Further, the net was unbroken. They eat of the breakfast which Jesus has prepared.
We are probably meant to compare this with the previous haul of fish made at Jesus’ instruction at the beginning of his ministry, we see a marked difference:
Luke 5:1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
We note that the catching of fish was to be replaced by the catching of men.
We are probably also meant to see the event in the light of the parable where the kingdom of God is likened to a fishing net.
Matthew 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 51 Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.
What are we then to understand?
Jesus had given his life in sacrifice and had now been raised to the divine nature. The preaching of gospel by the apostles was to begin in earnest with the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Their preaching would be marked with great success. At Peter’s first preaching, 3000 people believed the gospel and were baptised.
Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
The draught of the great fishes without damage to the net would seem to represent successful ‘fishing of men’.
E. W. Bullinger in his book, "Number in Scripture" suggests that the significance of the number 153 is the sum of the Hebrew letters that make up the phrase ‘Sons of God’
Bet (×?) = 2
Nun (× ) = 50
Yod (×?) = 10
Hey (×?) = 5
Aleph (×?) = 1
Lamed (×?) = 30
Hey (×?) = 5
Yod (×?) = 10
Mem (×?) = 40
Total = 153
Whether this is the correct understanding I do not know.
I hope you find this helpful.