Smelly dried fish with a side order of sandy grit is not my idea of a pleasurable snack. You can almost taste the stench and sense the flies in this Mark Boulton image. Yet in the bible passage set for Sunday it’s fish that Jesus requests to eat.
In one of the more unusual resurrection appearances in the gospels Luke 24:36-48 features food, which in itself isn’t unusual. It follows directly on from the Emmaus Road appearance with the two disciples who run to Jerusalem to inform the others of what had taken place. While they were retelling the account of breaking bread with Jesus he appears with them in the room. The assumption of the gathered group was that a ghost was before them and they were frightened. Yet Jesus assures them that he is no ghost, he is physical. He invites them to “touch me and see”, and then proceeded to eat the broiled fish.
One commentary I’ve read on this passage said, “The preaching of the gospel does not rest on fiction or fantasy but on the experience of the apostles”. Following on from here the disciples were commissioned by Jesus before he left them. The period that followed saw them focusing their preaching on the death and resurrection of Jesus, and less on his teaching ministry. The few days around the first Easter had a profound and pivotal effect on the group, that sustained them throughout their life.
All because of the broiled fish!