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Tablet to Table: Fisher of Men

As I prepared this dish for my family, I couldn’t help but think of how often Jesus must have enjoyed a meal just like it.  Do similar thoughts ever occur to you?!  Mixing the practice of our faith and the preparation of our food together can work wonders for the stomach and the soul, which is why today we’re going to cook some fish!

How many times was Jesus traveling and fish was his main food source?  Within how many homes did he eat where fish was the expected and often consumed meal?  Jesus was not wealthy nor a farmer with livestock.  While I’m sure he ate meat during his time on earth, fish would have been the chicken or even the hamburger of his day!

In John 21:1-12 we read about Jesus appearing to Simon Peter and some of the other disciples who had been out fishing, unsuccessfully, all night. As they returned, they came across a man on the shore but didn’t recognize him as Christ.  He encouraged them to throw out their net on the right side and when they did, they caught plenty!  John 21:9 reads, “When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread.”  This wasn’t dinner though, verse 12 shows us that fish was their breakfast cooked by Jesus himself!

While even those with a devout background may not  immediately recall that biblical story, a far more familiar story is Jesus feeding the five thousand or calling us to be fishers of men.  If you’re new to exploring faith, each of these references may sound a bit odd right now, but bear with me!

In John 6, Jesus is being followed by a large crowd because of the miracles he was performing.  A young boy offers him five loaves of bread and two fish and the Lord uses it to feed thousands!  Offering all that he had, knowing how small it was compared to the hungry crowd, Jesus was able to show us what God can do when we offer our all as well.  Not only that, there were also leftovers!  

Has anyone told you to go be a fisher of men?  That’s exactly what he tells Simon Peter after performing another miracle with fish!  Once again, he had an unsuccessful fishing trip until Jesus showed up.  Luke 5:7 tells us, “…and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking!’  As a result of the miracle, Simon feels inadequate and unworthy, but God reassures him, and you and me, that we are all welcome with Him! Jesus tells Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!”  How confused he must have been, and yet he left his things and followed Christ.  The work of God isn’t always calculated like we may think.  Fishing all night didn’t produce a thing for Simon without Christ.  Whatever’s on your table, do you take the credit for it or give credit to another provider?    

Go back to the verses I just shared and read them for yourselves! 

Tonight, make fish your main course! Prepare the fish simply — with some herbs thrown in the cavity and maybe some lemon and salt. You may be used to consuming fish that’s previously been skinned and boned, but the preparation process is a big part of the experience and is intentional.

Pat the skin dry, then sprinkle the fish with salt and drizzle it with oil so that it won’t stick to your grill.  A fish like snapper or branzini is best grilled about 10-12 minutes a side. Afterward, let it cool slightly, then carefully eat the flaky meat, being careful of the bones!

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