For whatever reason, fish is a protein humans seem to need time to truly appreciate.
As a kid, fish is gross. If it’s not a fish stick (which is maybe 10% fish?), it’s unacceptable.
As a teen/college student, fried fish is recognized as delicious, though at that point, it’s still mostly the batter that’s providing the flavor.
I think it’s only when you reach adulthood that you can truly appreciate seafood for the exquisite flavor fish provides. The flaky, fatty flesh of salmon. The texture and caramelized flavor of a perfectly-seared halibut. The bouncy chew of grilled octopus, or the steak-like quality of swordfish.
Fish can be brilliant. But we must develop an appreciation for it before we can truly recognize how delicious it can be.
The disciples needed a similar revelation in Luke 24. Huddled in a closed room, the disciples were discussing Jesus’ rumored resurrection when He suddenly appeared to them! They thought He was a ghost, but Jesus allowed them to touch Him and examine the scars in His hands and feet. He was no aberration.
But the disciples still didn’t believe “because of joy and amazement.” So Jesus resorted to one of His most powerful teachers: food.
“’Do you have anything here to eat?’ They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.’ Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:41-45)
Obviously, the fish itself didn’t confirm Jesus’ identity to the disciples. But I find it so curious that this was the manner in which He revealed His divinity to them.
I think this was Jesus’ way of confirming His human body and spiritual power to the disciples. So many times He’d done this over a meal, many of which we’ve studied in this blog over the course of the last several months. To name but a few:
- His calling of Matthew (9:9-13)
- The feeding of the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-12)
- The Last Supper (Luke 22:7-23)
In fact, most of Jesus’ appearances to the disciples after His resurrection involved a meal of some sort.
I think this was a reminder blessing Jesus was giving to the disciples: this was the guy I was before, and the guy I’ll remain throughout eternity. I once gathered around a table with you to break bread, and I’ll do the same forever. I may not be physically present, but my spirit will be with you.
What an incredible blessing for the disciples.
So while the fish itself wasn’t the ultimate factor in their belief, it was the presence of a meal that reminded them of all the great times they’d shared with Jesus: the thrills, the times they’d questioned Him, all He’d taught them.
Jesus can use simple things to reveal Himself to you. It may not be the best seared scallop or a honey-glazed salmon filet, but maybe it’s a song on the radio that comes on at just the right time. Or an unexpected call from a friend or family member. Or a sudden sense of hope when all seems lost.
These moments may seem insignificant, just as Jesus snacking on a broiled fish. But they have the power to remind you of all your God has done.