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Roast fish and wild honey

The Lord ate some roast fish and honey with them out of love for his disciples, with the aim of showing them the supernatural wonder of the resurrection.

ZOE AUTOR 102/Antonio_Cruz 09 DE JUNIO DE 2024 11:00 h
Photo: [link]Kurt Liebhaeuser[/link], Unsplash, CC0.

According to Luke, Jesus’ disciples frightened, sad and confused because their dear Master had been ignominiously crucified.

All their hopes and plans for the4 future had been dashed with the Lord’s death. However, disquieting reports were reaching their ears.

Some women were saying that they had seen him alive, afte4r which Simon confirmed that, indeed, Jesus’ body was no longer in the grave and finally a couple of others, including Cleopas, reported that they had actually spoken to Jesus on the Emmaus road.

In fact it was while they were reflecting on these accounts that, suddenly, the Lord Jesus Christ himself appeared in the room and said to them Shalom alehem (Peace be with you) (Luke 24:36). 

How could they experience peace and tranquillity in the presence of such a phenomenon, which seemed to defy all the laws of reason?

What they all experienced at that moment was rather panic, as they were convinced that it was a ghost. They thought that the Master would rise again in the final resurrection, but not on the third day after his death.

In view of the logical incredulity that this miracle aroused among them, Jesus began to do apologetics with his own risen body. He showed them his hands and his feet, which presumably bore witness to his martyrdom.

According to the Hebrew conception of spirits and ghosts, they did not have flesh or bones and, therefore, they couldn’t consume solid food.

However, the Lord ate some roast fish and honey with them. We should bear in mind that it is Luke, a doctor with a scientific mind, who is telling us this. 

Of course, the Master did not need to eat, but he did so out of love for his disciples, with the aim of showing them the supernatural wonder of the resurrection.

It is also curious that when Jesus raised Jairo’s daughter, the first thing he told her parents to do was to give her something to eat. Maybe this was to show everyone that she was no spirit or ghost but a full-bodied human being.

Nevertheless, the resurrection of Christ meant the final and complete victory over death. The disciples gradually came to understand that the Lord would not always be present and living with them in the church, that his followers could continue to communicate with him in prayer through the presence of the Holy Spirit within them.  

Although there are more than 40 references to fish or fishes in the Bible, no specific species is every named.

Solomon was known to be an expert natural scientist who would talk for hours about the life of animals and fish (1 Kings 4:33), however, it is curious that no specific information is given, and there seems to be little interest in aquatic fauna, especially when we bear in mind that the villages on the shores of the Sea of Galilee or on the Mediterranean coast and Red Sea, depended mainly on fishing for their livelihood, and that fish also abounded in the river Nile in Egypt, and were habitually consumed by the Hebrews while they were living there and later while they were travelling through the desert (Numbers 11:5).

This apparent disinterest might have been due to the Hebrew belief that the sea was dangerous, inhabited by evil monsters.

Their contact with other peoples, such as the Philistines, who worshipped the mythological half-fish half-human god Dagon, might have influenced the Hebrews’ aversion to the oceans, the ocean depths and the creatures that inhabited them. (Psalm 104:25-26; 107: 23-27; etc.) 

The fresh-water lake of Gennesaret or the sea of Galilee has been famous since ancient times for its multitude of fish. It is 21 km long, north to south, and 12 km wide, east to west, with a maximum depth of 48 metres and a surface area of 166 square km.

It is situated 212 m below the level of the Mediterranean, which makes it the lowest fresh-water lake in the world. Among its numerous extant species it contains at least 18 that are autochthonous and are only found in this lake.

Others, however, are from other locations and were introduced by humans. There are damsel fish (Pomacentridae), blennies (Blennioidei), up to one-metre-long catfish (Clarias macranthus), barb fish, freshwater sardines, etc.

So these kinds of fish werew not difficult to find as they could be caught both in the Sea of Galilee and in the Mediterranean. There were even salting factories from which it was distributed throughout the country. 

The Christians of the first centuries used the symbol of the fish as an acrostic for the Lord Jesus. Using the letters that make up the name of the fish in Greek IKHTHYS, ΙΧΘΥΣ they formed the phrase Ἰησοῦς Χριστός Θεοῦ Υἱός Σωτήρ, Iesûs Khristós Theû Huiós Soter”, which means “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour”. 

This phrase is said to have probably originated in Alexandria, as a type of rebel protest against persecution and tyranny of the emperors who persecuted Christians and sought to get the people to consider them divine.

Believers identified themselves in the 2nd century to each other by drawing the simple figure of a fish (piscis in Latin) on the ground or on the walls of the catacombs in Rome,

They were conscious of being similar to fish in the sense that, like them they were (re)born in the water of baptism. That is why the first baptismal fonts began to be called piscinas. Finally, this Christian symbolism of the fish ceased to be used after the death of Constantine 

We do not know exactly what kind of fish they offered Jesus, or whether it was from the sea or from a freshwater lake, but this reminds of the scene when Jesus offered roast fish to his disciples. (John 21:19).

On that occasion it was the Son of God who prepared breakfast for his disciples. Many years later, as recorded in the Acts of the disciples, Luke will say that the risen Jesus ate with his disciples after the resurrection (Acts 10:41).

Now Christians can still eat with the Lord every time we participate in the Lord’s Supper and distribute the bread among our fellow believers. 




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