Good morning. It is Tuesday, November 23, 2021. Jeanette Stark here.
I like fish. Trout, Salmon, Tilapia, Tuna, Flounder, Rockfish, Halibut.
I like fish, but I do not like it to smell ‘fishy’. If it smells fishy, it is not fresh. If it smells fishy, it will stink up the house when you cook it! And that is a hard stink to get rid of.
There is a local butcher shop in town that I like to buy from on special occasions. It is more than a butcher shop. It has fresh produce and a deli, but the most impressive thing about this store is, if you stand in front of the fish counter with your eyes closed you would have no idea that just a few feet away was fish and other sea foods. It is always fresh, always good.
When I think of fish, I always think of my time living on the floating logging camp in Alaska when I was a young child. The smokehouse emitting the most wonderful aroma as people smoked their catch of the day.
I have wonderful memories of fishing for Salmon in daddy’s boat and fishing for Halibut right off the dock. Mom’s homemade battered and deep friend Halibut. Yummy!
But in all my life I have not one time wondered “What kind of fish did Jesus eat?” That is until last week.
My online search found that there are now 18 species of indigenous fish in the Sea of Galilee, and that 10 of those are important commercially. (Source what-fish.com)
But what kind of fish did Jesus eat?
Tilapia is thought to be the fish that Jesus and His disciples ate but, Sardines were also a common fish at that time. There are also three species of the Carp family and the two most common are still used today by Jews for Sabbath meals and feasts.
Do you realize how many stories of fish and fishing are in the Bible? Several.
Starting with Creation.
Genesis 1:21 “So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” NKJV
We cannot forget one of the more exciting and suspenseful stories. Jonah.
Jonah 1:17 “Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”
I love the story of Jesus talking ordinary men, fishermen, to be His disciples. But he gave them a huge haul of fish to mark the occasion. We read the story in Luke 5:1-11.
“So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.” NKJV
They forsook, or left behind, everything to follow this stranger named Jesus. Incredible.
Now, it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that I realized Jesus did that same miracle a 2nd time.
I am watching The Chosen and it was depicted in that program. I was surprised. How did I miss the fact that Jesus did this twice? And this time it was after He was resurrected from the grave!
The second great haul of fishes can be found in John 21:3-11.
“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. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.” 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. 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. 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. Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” 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.” NKJV
On top of that, Jesus had made them breakfast, verse 12. How special would it be for the savior to make you breakfast?!
The story that really intrigued me as a child was the feeding of the five thousand. That really spoke to me, not only to the power of Jesus, but also His compassion. The disciples wanted to send the crowd away, Jesus had a better plan.
“And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.” But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes.” Matthew 14:14-19 NKJV
Now keep in mind, the count of 5,000 included only the men. There were woman and children as well. There could have easily been 10,000 people there.
Verse 20 says they ate, and they were filled and then, twelve baskets of left overs were gathered after everyone was done eating. Talk about abundance!!
But this happened more than one time!
We read that story in Matthew 15:32-39 “Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” Then His disciples said to Him, “Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to fill such a great multitude?” Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven, and a few little fish.” So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets full of the fragments that were left. Now those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. And He sent away the multitude, got into the boat, and came to the region of Magdala.” NKJV
Which story came first? The feeding in Matthew 14 or 15? Either way, the fact that His disciples wondered where they could get enough bread to feed such a crowd of people, boggles my mind. They had seen Jesus perform Miracles. They more than likely had seen this very miracle and yet they had doubt. We humans can be so thick!!
Tomorrow we will look at one of the less remarkable fish miracles, but a miracle none the less. A coin in the mouth of a fish.