John 21:1 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We are going with you also." They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?" They answered Him, "No." 6 And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. 9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught." 11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken.

  The Purpose of chapter 21 The Conclusion Or Epilogue

This Chapter is here for 5 reasons:

  1. Helps us understand Peters prominent position in the church
  2. How are we to relate to the risen Christ
  3. Give us a Balance between Nurturing the saved and winning the lost
  4. Refutes the false rumor that Jesus coming back before John died
  5. Clear expression of how to love Christ. If you love me keep my commandments

We are blessed by Laboring with the Lord.  The disciples have learned how to cooperate with one another and how to obey Jesus. What examples for us to follow as we seek to “catch fish” for Jesus Christ! There are “fish” all around us. If we obey His directions, we will catch the fish.

The expression, "By hook or by crook," originated from the 21st chapter of the Gospel of John. A hook is the symbol of a fisherman, while a crook is the symbol of a shepherd. Here then in this chapter are symbolized the two ministries of the church: fishing and shepherding. That is how the work of God goes forward.

Chapter 21 contains instruction for those who have come to faith in Him and explains how they are to serve Him as they carry out their mission (20:21-23). Many of the prominent themes in the rest of the Gospel recur here.

"Some critics have argued that this chapter is anticlimactic after the great conclusion in chapter 20, and therefore was written by another (anonymous) writer. But the language evidence does not support this notion. In addition, other great books of Scripture have appendixes after reaching a grand climax (cf. e.g., Rom. 16 following Rom. 15:33). Thus John 21 is neither without value nor out of harmony with other Bible books."

The structure of this chapter is similar to the rest of the Gospel. John first narrated an event (vv. 1-14) and then related Jesus' teaching based on that event (vv. 15-23). Finally he concluded his Gospel (vv. 24-25).

In many ways, “frustrating” also describes what it must have been like for the disciples during that 40-day interval between Jesus’ resurrection and His ascension. With few exceptions, the disciples had spent three wonderful years with Jesus. They traveled together, ate together, camped out at night together, and shared a common purse. Their private, relaxing times together were exceedingly few and far between, but at least they were continually in close contact during the time of our Lord’s earthly ministry.

The last few hours our Lord spent with His disciples before His arrest were private and uninterrupted. After the horror of our Lord’s arrest, trials, and crucifixion, it would be tempting to think of this 40-day interval as a time of wonderful fellowship for our Lord and His disciples, but this was not really the case. For one thing, the disciples expected Jesus to immediately commence His kingdom, but it quickly became evident that this wasn’t happening. For another thing, the disciples were not really seeing a great deal of their Lord. After Jesus appeared to them, and they were convinced that He was alive, they were filled with joy. But if the disciples were thinking they would now be spending a lot of time with Jesus once again, they were wrong. Things had changed. This change was first indicated to Mary by our Lord, when He appeared to her after His resurrection:

John 20:16-17 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’” (NIV).

Jesus informs Mary that things are no longer going to be as they once were. Jesus was not going to be with His disciples on earth much longer, but was returning to His Father, as He had indicated earlier. He promised that after His ascension, He would dwell among them, and in them, through the Holy Spirit, but at the time they had no idea what He meant.

And so the disciples found themselves relating to Jesus in an entirely different way during this 40-day period of time. They were formerly with Him day and night. Now, they only saw Him from time to time. Eight days passed from the time Jesus first appeared to His disciples (John 20:19-23) to the time of His second appearance (John 20:26). He appeared to them only a handful of times in those 40 days (see 1 Corinthians 15:5-7). He came and went in such a way that they never knew when to expect Him. And He did not always look exactly the way He once did—there was something different about Him, which sometimes caused them to wonder whether or not it was really Him (see Mark 16:12; Luke 24:16, 31; John 21:12). I’m sure the disciples wished for the “good old days,” when they enjoyed much more intimate fellowship with Him. Jesus, however, was “weaning” them from those days, because He would no longer dwell among them as He once had. He was soon to ascend into heaven to be with His Father.

There were other things that made this time difficult. These were perilous days. The tomb of Jesus had been sealed and was under Roman guard, by order of Pilate. When Jesus was raised from the dead, the Jews and the Roman soldiers agreed on a cover-up. They sought to explain the resurrection and the empty tomb by circulating the story that Jesus’ disciples had stolen His body. This would have been a serious crime. The disciples could have been the targets of a manhunt. No wonder they were hiding out in a locked room when Jesus came to them (John 20:19, 26).

In addition to this, there was really very little the disciples could do during these 40 frustrating days. They were told to wait until they were given power from on high. The Holy Spirit had not yet come, because Pentecost was still a few days away. These men were not yet transformed, nor were they supernaturally empowered to heal the sick, raise the dead, or proclaim the gospel. The kingdom was on hold, there was little for them to do, and Jesus was seldom seen or heard from.

It was not an easy time for the disciples at all. I can imagine that Peter could have gone home, only to find Mrs. Peter standing in the doorway, with her hands on her hips. “Peter,” she might have said sharply, “we’ve got bills to pay and mouths to feed. When are you going back to work? How long are you going to wait around, wondering what to do with yourself?” All of the disciples must have been thinking similar thoughts. They had families to support. They had to do something. They couldn’t just wait around …

Why would we be surprised that it was Peter who decided to do something? Why would we find it unusual for Peter to speak out? This is precisely where the final chapter of John’s Gospel takes up.

  1. Command - vs 1-6- Manifested or Revealed Himself to the Seven Disciples

1 ¶ After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself:

John recorded still another post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to His disciples. It undoubtedly occurred during the 32-day period between Thomas' confession (20:28) and Jesus' ascension (Acts 1:9).

Same as the sea of Galilee.  Called different names depending on where they are, Emperor Tiberius officially named it that. Evidently most of his original readers would have known it by this Roman name.

They were to learn something new about Him from this revelation.

 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Mt 4:21; Joh 1:45

The exact number may be another detail designed to add credibility to the account,  or  John  may  have  been  hinting  that  a  complete  number  of disciples was present. Seven was a number that symbolized completeness to the Jews (cf. Gen. 2:2-3; et al.). He may have been implying that the lesson that Jesus taught here was applicable to the full complement of disciples.

Book starts with 6 disciples and ends with 7? Anything to do with the completeness now of the work being done?

Peter is always named first

His name expresses the grace of God, He was impetuous, vacillating, moody, sees us as who we can be

Thomas called the Twin

Nathanael of Cana in Galilee

The sons of Zebedee – James and John

and two others of His disciples - Probably Andrew and Phillip

 3 Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We are going with you also." They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.

Some expositors have interpreted Peter's words as a renunciation of his calling as Jesus' disciple. They believe he meant that he intended to return to his former occupation as a fisherman permanently. However there is no basis for this conclusion in the text. Indeed when Peter learned that Jesus was standing on the shore he jumped into the water to get to Jesus as quickly as he could (v. 7).

Mt 26:32 "But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee."

Mt 28:7 "And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you."

 Mt 28:10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me."

 Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them.

Mr. 16:7 "But go, tell His disciples--and Peter--that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you."

For the third time in John’s Gospel, our Lord appears to His disciples. This time He reveals Himself to seven of His disciples as they are fishing on the Sea of Tiberias — the Sea of Galilee (John 6:1). Most of these men were fishermen by trade. When Peter informed them that he was going fishing, they knew he was not planning to go out and do a little fly fishing on the Sea of Galilee, hoping to catch a fish or two. They understood that Peter was going back to work as a fisherman. They all must have had financial obligations they needed to meet. In addition, they needed to eat. And so those who were with Peter agreed to go fishing with him. There seemed to be nothing better to do. I do not find this decision to go fishing something unbefitting for a disciple. It was better for them to be doing something productive than nothing at all.

The first miraculous catch of fish came fairly early in the ministry of our Lord. Jesus was teaching beside the Sea of Galilee, and the crowds were pressing in on Him. There were at least two boats pulled up on shore nearby. One belonged to Peter and his brother Andrew, the other to James and John (and apparently their father—see Luke 5:2-11). These men had been out fishing all night, unsuccessfully, and were now washing their nets. Jesus got into Simon Peter’s boat and asked him push out from shore, so that He could use the boat as His speaker’s platform. When Jesus finished teaching, He told Peter to launch out into deeper waters and to lower the nets for a catch. Peter gently protested, informing Jesus that they had just spent the entire night fishing, without success. Nevertheless, Peter did as his Master instructed. As the nets were drawn in, it was evident that they had a huge catch of fish, so large that the nets were beginning to tear. Peter and his brother gestured to their partners, James and John, who came alongside with their boat. They filled both boats so full with the fish that they began to sink. Peter fell at Jesus’ knees (they were still in the boat) and said, “Go away from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord!” (Luke 5:8). Jesus comforted the men with these words, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people” (5:9). It would seem that from this point in time, they ceased fishing for their livelihood and followed Jesus wherever He went.

In John 21, we read of a very similar miraculous catch of fish. It is my opinion that it took place at virtually the same place, with the same boats, and most of the same fishermen. You will recall that before His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples that He would go ahead of them to Galilee (Matthew 28:7; Mark 14:28). Then, after His resurrection, Jesus instructed His disciples to meet Him in Galilee (Matthew 28:10; Mark 16:7). The disciples who have gone fishing with Peter may very well be in Galilee because they have done what Jesus instructed them to do—go to Galilee, where He will meet them. This took them out of Jerusalem and Judea, the source of the strongest Jewish opposition. Like most of the disciples, Peter was a Galilean. These were his old “stomping grounds.” If they had been waiting for some time, Peter might well have concluded that they may as well occupy themselves by doing something profitable. And so he announced to his colleagues that he was going fishing.

 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Joh 20:14

Likewise the breaking of this new day is perhaps symbolic of the new era that was opening up for them as Jesus' disciples, though they did not realize that yet. Jesus' instruction would change the course of their lives forever.

 5 Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?" They answered Him, "No." Lu 24:41

Much of the fishing in the Sea of Galilee was done at night in those days as it is yet today. Fishermen used torches to attract the fish to the boat and then netted them. But although they were expert fishermen, the disciples had labored throughout the night and had caught nothing. That must have been a rather unusual experience for them. Yet as this account makes clear, it was the Lord's intention that they catch nothing on this occasion.

Now the question that Jesus asked is a number of observations. First it's framed expecting a negative answer. What the expected answer? "Well of course not," And that's exactly the way Jesus has framed the question.

"Haven't you caught any fish?" "You haven't caught any fish, have you?" That would be the English equivalent. "You haven't done so well, have you?" I think their answer is sort crestfallen. "No."

Failure is a very demoralizing thing. Some of you have tried hard to accomplish something. Like these fishermen, you have expended much energy and utilized all your resources but gained nothing in return. But although failure is a painful experience, valuable lessons can be gained through it.

Here is what one writer said about this failed night of fishing:

The night of failure was not without its lessons and its benefits. We can do worse than fail. We can succeed and be proud of our success. We can succeed and burn incense to the net. We can succeed and forget the Hand whose it is to give or to withhold, to kill or to make alive.

People who think they have done it all themselves are common today. Every now and then I meet someone who claims to be a "self-made man." I have discovered, however, that most self-made men worship their creator! Yet nothing is more revealing of human ignorance than the claim to be a self-made man. That is to take for granted all that has been provided for them all throughout their lives, without giving a thought for Who provided it. Yet, were it not for God's providing hand, we would have neither the opportunities nor the resources to begin with.

Success -- yes, even spiritual success -- can be a snare and a ruin, while failure can be an unspeakable benefit. Failure is often the only test by which the real worth and quality of a man or woman can be tried. It is in failure that a man begins to think, to wonder where his failure comes from, to look around and seek for the reasons, to put into his work double watchfulness and double energy, and to look upwards to Him who can turn failure into a glorious achievement.

John goes on to show what God can do with a night of failure.

Now many of your translations, unfortunately, render the word "friends." The word is not friends. The word is children. In fact it's a diminutive term. It's “little children.” And I think when the translators gloss over it and call it "friends" it is unfortunate because you want to see Jesus Christ here as coming on the scene as a fatherly, loving, compassionate friend of theirs. And it's sort of like the Brits would say, "Lads. Or boys in our language"

Or if you're a dad with three or four sons, and they might even be grown sons, and you would say, "Sons." There is a real endearing and graciousness in the tone of the word. "Little children." Who else uses the phrase "little children" in the NT? John in First John. Little children. Little children. Little children. It's caring and compassionate and rich.

One can sense the discouragement and mild embarrassment in the disciples' "no." Jesus was in the process of teaching these men their personal inadequacy even in the type of work they knew best and had most experience with. It was important that they articulate their failure.

 6 And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they In the Luke 5:5 account, Simon tries to pull them in and the nets are breaking, remember? They almost make the boats sink, remember? So these two are two different stories. Luke 5:5 account says: "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets."

Maybe there was a little hint of that again; There's enough differences in the stories that we know these are two different incidents; one early in the disciples' life and one right prior to Christ's ascension. In verses seven to nine the disciples recognize Him: they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. Lu 5:4,6-7

Their nets had been hanging over the left-hand side of their fishing boat.

The unknown authority on the shore now promised that if they would cast their net on the right-hand side they would catch some fish. Such a suggestion must have seemed ludicrous to these seasoned fishermen. The idea that such an insignificant change would accomplish anything was laughable. Yet amazingly the disciples followed Jesus' orders.

Nevertheless it seems clear that even after they obeyed the unknown armchair fisherman on the shore this dark morning they still did not realize that He was Jesus.

The reason for the disciples' obedience is not as important as the fact of it. Had they not obeyed Jesus' command they would have failed to catch any fish. However because they obeyed, they experienced overwhelming success, success far exceeding their natural ability.
Jesus knew that these men had worked all night and had caught nothing. I am tempted to think that Jesus actually orchestrated things so that these men would not catch anything. Anyway, Jesus let the fishermen know that He knew they had caught nothing. He then instructs them to cast out their nets on the right side of the boat, assuring them that when they do so, they will find some fish. I don’t know why these weary fishermen did it, but for some reason they were willing to make one last effort. When they drew in their nets, they did not contain just a few fish, or even a lot of fish. Their nets were virtually filled with fish.

These men would reflect on this experience and realize that Jesus had been teaching them how important it was to obey His word. Obedience to Jesus was the key to supernatural success. Indeed obedience to His word even though they did not know it was His word yielded an unbelievable reward.

It was at this point that John seems to have realized what was happening

 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. Joh 13:23; 20:2

Again John realized something about Jesus before Peter did (cf.  20:8).  Probably  he  sensed  that  a  miracle  had happened,  and  he  remembered  that  a  few  years  earlier  Jesus  had performed a similar miracle (Luke 5:1-11). True to the pictures we have of them in the New Testament John exhibited quick insight and Peter quick action.

Now the identity of Christ is no longer obscure. They know who He is and they can see Him. This incredible catch quickly reveals to John that it's the Lord. Peter connects the dots and before we know it characteristically he's thrown himself in the water.

Apparently he wanted to get to Jesus faster than his boat and net now full of fish would allow. He showed no concern for the fish; he willingly let them go. His only desire was to get to Jesus.

This was not the first time that Peter had met Jesus after the Crucifixion. Jesus had appeared to Peter evidently on Easter morning (1 Cor. 15:5) and undoubtedly on Easter evening (20:19-23; cf. Mark 16:14). Peter had also seen Jesus the following Sunday when Thomas made his profession of faith (20:26-29). Therefore we should not conclude that Peter would have been reluctant to see Jesus now because of his denial in the high priest's courtyard. Peter's moment of reconciliation with Jesus had already passed.
Now there's a little bit of a question if you read the text carefully. He's stripped for work. I don't think he's naked but I think he's down to the bare minimum of what he could have on. He's going to gird himself with something and jump into the water. Now if you've come to the edge of the water you take as much off as you can before you jump in not to be encumbered by your shoes or your coat or whatever else you have, right? So why is Peter putting something on?
There are a couple of little hints in the text that are kind of fun. This is the same word only found in John thirteen where Jesus girds Himself to wash the disciples' feet. And so now we see Peter girding himself. I think Peter is sort of, if you will, working hard and sweating and so he's probably hot and smelling like fish, certainly like the lake water. And so he puts on the minimum amount of clothing when he comes out of the water to see Christ.
John wants us to see these little connections about Jesus and girding up to serve and Peter girding himself as he goes to see his Lord, his friend and starting to put this thing together. When the disciples had followed Peter to go fishing, they don't follow him to jump in the water. It's about one hundred yards to the shore according to the text. It's a pretty good measurement.

Fishermen usually worked in their light undergarments (Gr. chiton, not underwear). Peter evidently put his outer garment (Gr. ependytes) on so when he reached land he would be properly clothed albeit soaking wet. Normally people take unnecessary clothing off before going swimming. Peter's somewhat irrational behavior seems to be another indication of his strong desire to get to Jesus quickly. He was again demonstrating his characteristic extravagant loyalty to his Lord (cf. 20:6).

So we have the boat, some think there are two boats, a larger fishing boat and a smaller like dingy type boat. We can't know for sure.
Instinctively, he knew that the man on the beach was Jesus. And now that he knew, he told Peter as well. That was all it took for Peter. He tucked in his outer garment and plunged into the sea, swimming to shore to see Jesus.

Someone has remarked that what we find here is typical of both Peter and John. John was the first to understand; Peter was the first to act.  We cannot be sure that Peter actually arrived on shore first. One thing does seem certain: Jesus must have personally forgiven and restored Peter on His previous, private meeting with him (see Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5). Peter certainly shows no reluctance to see Jesus face to face here!

8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish.

If I were one of the other disciples, I would have been perturbed with Peter for leaving me behind with a full net and an unsecured boat, still several hundred feet from shore. They seem to have learned from the miracle in Luke chapter 5 that it was unwise to try to empty the net full of fish into the boat—since their two boats nearly sank on that occasion. And so they simply drug their bulging nets behind the boat and made their way to shore, with their nets still in the water, teaming with fish.

Jesus supplied the original fish and all we have originally comes from the hand of the Lord.  James 1.17

 9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread.

John's narrative sort of creates a setting here of a number of things. He mentions a charcoal fire. If you've been with us in the study only one other time in the New Testament do we have the phrase charcoal fire. Do you remember where it is? It was with Peter's denial. Why does John, with an eyewitness touch, mark this little detail of charcoal fire at the denial and now he marks it again. What's about to happen?
Peter's restoration.
We can almost smell the smoke of the fish and a charcoal fire. First there's a charcoal fire as they're warming themselves and he bitterly denies Christ and breaks down and cries and now there's a charcoal fire with fish on it that Jesus prepares for him. Now they're about to be restored with a threefold question, "Do you love Me, Peter?" There are interesting eyewitness touches that John gives us

Jesus was setting the stage for a lesson He was about to teach the disciples and especially Peter.

Bread and fish were common staples, but again they recall earlier miracles that Jesus had performed. He had miraculously provided meals for 5,000 and later 4,000 males plus women and children with bread and fish.

Notice that He had already provided some fish for them before the disciples got out of their boat and pulled the fish that they had caught to shore.

Several things here have parallels in the work of fishing for men. Notice that Jesus supplied the original fish and bread for this breakfast. When the disciples landed, the charcoal fire was already lit, and fish and bread were lying there. This is indicative that all that we have come from the hand of God. We did not provide this world or the food that is in it. We do not provide the opportunities that come our way. Many of them come to us right out of the blue. Behind all of this the hand of God has already been at work. He has already put us in the right place, leading us into situations we could never have designed ourselves. We operate by his grace and according to his efforts.

Before His crucifixion, Jesus had served His disciples by washing their feet (13:1-17). Now He continued to serve them as their risen Lord by providing them with a warm fire and breakfast (cf. v. 13).

Jesus invites us to labor with them,  Little boy brought his fish and bread, they caught it and hauled it in.

The “fire of coals” would certainly remind him of the fire at which he denied the Lord (John 18:18). It is good for us to remember the past; we may have something to confess.

10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught."

Even though there was already one fish (Gr. opsarion, singular) on the fire Jesus instructed the disciples to bring some of the fish (plural) that they had caught. He would not provide for their physical needs by multiplying the food miraculously as He had done in the past. Now He would use the product of their labor to satisfy their need. Nevertheless it was clear that their fish had been the result of His miraculous provision. Perhaps this was all symbolic of how Jesus would carry out His mission through His disciples in the future compared with how He had done it during His pre- cross ministry.

But notice that Jesus then invites the disciples to bring the fish they have caught. This beautifully suggests the way God works with man. As I read through the Scriptures I am continually astonished at the privilege given us by God of being co-laborers with him. Human labor was involved in almost all of the miracles of Jesus. For instance, our Lord multiplied the bread and fish which the boy had to feed the multitude, but he first sent the disciples searching through the crowd to see what they could supply. The wonder of this is that God, who could easily do it all himself, nevertheless gave them the great privilege of being co-workers with him.

What he invites you to do may be a very simple thing. You may have opportunity to share your faith with your neighbors. While that may seem an insignificant thing now, when history has come to an end and we are all gathered on the shore with Jesus this may well become the greatest thing you have ever done. We will see ourselves as tremendously privileged to have worked with God in what he was doing in this world.

 11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken.

A spiritual lesson here is that great blessing comes to one’s efforts when he follows the Lord’s will.

Peter either organizes the landing of the fish or he's the one who hauls it in. Now, if you've ever been in the water playing with your children when they're small, you can have two or three of your small children kind of hanging on you and you can still get around the water, right? Because the buoyancy displacement makes them not as heavy as if you were on land. On land you might be able to move a step or two but you sure can't haul them around the water, right?
So you envision Peter. They can't get over the gunnel of the ship because it's so heavy, but he can sort of man handle it in the water up to the side and then the disciples would organize the getting of all the fish out before they could slip back into the Sea of Galilee.
Why 153 fish? Well it's almost comical, commentators write pages of what the number 153 means. They have spiritualized allegorizations into all kinds of things in the Bible and it's almost comical to read, but unfortunately they happen to believe the stuff they write.
I am one hundred percent convinced that it means there were 153 fish. And if you know anything about fishing, what does any good fisherman do? You count your fish. Notice the text says large fish? No one ever says, "I caught 153 little fish.  John tells us it was 153 large fish. Much has been made of the number 153, but it may be enough to note that the author knew the exact number of fish caught, and that it was a great quantity. Such details give credibility to one’s testimony, and John certainly provides us with details.

There have been many symbolic explanations of the meaning of the 153 fish. One of the more credible of these is as follows. Jesus formerly told His disciples that they would become fishers of men, an obvious metaphor (Mark 1:17). If the fish here represent the converts that Jesus would miraculously provide for His disciples to "catch," perhaps their large number represents many converts and the fact that Jesus is the one who is responsible to bring the converts in to us.

Mt 13:47 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind,

48 "which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. 49 "So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just,

Mt 25:32 50 "and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

The fact that the net did not break may symbolize the capability of the gospel to "catch" many people without failing.

We are blessed by Laboring with the Lord

They have much patience and persistence, and they will not quit. They know how to cooperate with one another, and they are skilled in using the equipment and the boat. What examples for us to follow as we seek to “catch fish” for Jesus Christ!

We are indeed “fishers of men,” and there are “fish” all around us. If we obey His directions, we will catch the fish.

But the main emphasis in this account is: success cannot occur without the recognition that the power of God is needed. This is not new truth. In Psalm 127 the psalmist said, "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it. Except the Lord guard the city, the watchman watches in vain," (Psalms 127:1 KJV). But it is very common in the church today to see people rely on strictly human methods, with no recognition of the fact that God must supply.

Eph 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us

Mark 8:36 "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

 John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Have you trusted Him as your Savior? He can Save you if You ask Him based on His death, burial, and resurrection for your sins. Believe in Him for forgiveness of your sins today. #HLMSocial*F

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  -John 8:32

The world is trying to solve earthly problems that can only be solved with heavenly solutions.