One of the things I perennially love about the Resurrection narratives is the emphasis on food. And it doesn’t usually come from the disciples: it comes from Yeshua himself. First, there’s Cleophas and his friend, trudging to Emmaus. (In fact, they may be going further, but Emmaus is a useful day’s walk from Jerusalem, so they’re going to overnight there in a pub.) On the way they meet this fascinating stranger who at first appears clueless as to what’s been happening but who then, when they remind him, fills them in on the Why of it all, citing Scripture as is only proper between good Jews. They like him so much that they persuade him to stay at the pub with them, at least for the evening meal. And at the moment he takes the bread and intones the blessing – Baruch atta Adonai Elohenu etc. – they look at him and say OMG, it’s Him! And he disappears, whoosh.
Then, they race back to Jerusalem and we next see them with the other disciples, somewhere undefined – indoors? outdoors? a rooftop? a courtyard? – nattering away in a state of high excitement about the Blessing Man, when suddenly, there he is again, in the midst of them. Shalom, he says. Yes, it’s me. Really. See? Hands with holes in them. Feet with holes in them. Not a ghost, not even a Holy Ghost. And when they still look astonished: Got something to eat? He eats a chunk of fried fish. Ghosts eat fish? Nah, course not.
Next scene: the shore of the Sea of Kinneret, alias Lake Tiberias. Dawn. (The scene is of extraordinary beauty, still. I’ve been there.) Two or three fishing-boats full of tired, irritated, frustrated young men – a whole night’s fishing, no fish. To Hertford, Hereford, and Hampshire with it, says Peter, let’s go home. So they head for shore, and there is this bloke. Got anything? he shouts. Nowt, says Peter, crossly. Drop your net one more time, over starboard. Grouchily, Peter does. OY! Hey guys, help me lug this bugger up, it’s full! They manhandle it to shore and there are 153 bloody great big musht (St Peter’s Fish) in it, or possibly mixed with few enormous carp. Pant. Sweat. So come and have breakfast! says the bloke. And sure enough, he’s got a little fire going and is frying fish – a tantalising smell in the crisp air of dawn. And once again, they take a second look – or maybe he’s blessing the fish, Baruch atta Adonai Elohenu Melech ha’Olam – and once again, OMG, it’s him!
As my mother used to say, the reason the Gospels are so convincing is that nobody, but nobody, would have made this kind of Resurrection up. Gods often do things on earth: they seduce nymphs, they help warriors, they mark special children, so forth. But never, never do they stand on a beach eating fried fish. The Power and the Glory. And fried musht for breakfast.