Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Konrad Witz: Miraculous catch of fish, the second miracle of Jesus

PD Image: Miraculous catch of fish - Draft of Petrur (Peter's altar table), a 1444 tempera on wood painting by the medieval German painter Konrad Witz (or Conrad Witz, 1400-1445/ 47), dimensions 132 cm x 154 cm, located at Musée d'Art et d'Histoire (Art and History Museum) in the historical city of Saint-Denis, in the northern suburbs of Paris, France.

According to the Gospel of John, after the Resurrection of Jesus, seven of the disciples of Jesus (Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, John, and two others) went for fishing one evening, but caught no fish that night. Early the next morning, Jesus, whom they had not recognized, called out to them from the shore, "Friends, haven't you any fish?"

When said, "No", Jesus said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did so, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Realizing the true identity of their advisor, the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!," at which Peter jumped into the water to meet him, while the remaining disciples followed in the boat, towing the net, which had 153 large fish, which Jesus then cooked and ate some of the fish with the disciples.

The precise number of fish as 153 has long been debated by scholars, some of them arguing that the number 153 has some deeper, hidden significance or symbolism, and many conflicting theories having been put forward. Theologian D. A. Carson suggests, "If the Evangelist has some symbolism in mind connected with the number 153, he has hidden it well," while other scholars note, "No symbolic significance for the number of 153 fish in John 21:11 has received widespread support."

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