Reflection on the Lectionary: John 10:11-18
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Reflection on the Lectionary: John 10:11-18
(May 3, 2009)

This passage includes the story that describes Jesus eating fish after the Resurrection. Initially, Jesus made clear that he was raised in the flesh. He invited his disciples to touch him, and he said, ďa ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.Ē For further proof, Jesus asked the disciples for some food. They offered a piece of broiled fish, and he ate it.
Does this prove that Jesus had little or no concern for animals? Some have noted that certain ancient biblical texts are ambiguous about whether or not Jesus actually ate fish. (See Comments, Luke 24:41-43.) Others have raised doubts about the historical validity of this account. (See, for example, Keith Akers, The Lost Religion of Jesus, pp. 127-9.)
If one takes this account as historically true, it indicates that Jesus was not a strict vegetarian. However, this story does not prove that Jesus had disregard for animals. Jesus did not request fish, and his eating the fish did not represented a triumph of his taste preferences over the needs of Godís creatures. To refuse the fish would have undermined his teaching that he was raised in the flesh, and evidently he regarded this teaching as sufficiently important to warrant eating flesh. 

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