Breakfast with Jesus

Jesus told the disciples that after His resurrection He would go ahead of them to Galilee (Matthew 26:32). His third appearance to the disciples was on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias (Galilee/Gennesaret).

Tradition locates the place of His meeting with the disciples at (or near) Tabgha on the northwest shore of the Sea of Tiberias. The events are recorded in John 21. The disciples had fished during the night and caught nothing. At day break Jesus invited them to “Come and have breakfast.”

The small church, made of the local basalt stone, is called the Church of the Primacy of Peter. Roman Catholics believe Christ promised and conferred the primacy of jurisdiction over the entire church on the Apostle Peter at this time and place (John 21:14-17). Need I say that many do not agree with this interpretation?

The traditional site where Jesus prepared breakfast for the disciples. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The traditional site where Jesus prepared breakfast for the disciples. The building covers what Catholics call the Mensa Christi (the Table of Christ). Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Observe in the photo that the shoreline is far from the building. This is because the water level has been extremely low in the past few years. Remnants of a small harbor can be seen beside the building. Mendel Nun, in his well-known article about the 15 man-made harbors around the Sea of Galilee, writes about Tabgha:

In the winter, fishermen from Capernaum worked at Tabgha, where several warm mineral springs attracted musht, popularly called St. Peter’s Fish. (The name Tabgha is a corruption of the Greek for “Seven Springs.”) Today the remains of this small harbor’s breakwater can be seen when the water level is low. Christian tradition ascribes the meeting place of Jesus with his disciples to a prominent rock at the warm springs. From a fisherman’s viewpoint, this is the correct choice. This is the area where musht schools formerly concentrated in the winter and spring. Here Jesus met his disciples for the first—and also the last—time (Luke 5:1–7; John 21:1–8). On this rock, now known as the rock of the primacy of Peter, stands a small modern Franciscan chapel, the Church of the Primacy of Peter. It was built on the foundations of earlier churches, the oldest of which dates from the first half of the fourth century. The altar is built around a stone outcropping known to pilgrims as the Lord’s Table (Mensa Domini), on which Jesus served the disciples after the miraculous draught of fishes (John 21:13). (Nun, Mendel. “Ports of Galilee.” Biblical Archaeology Review. July/August 1999).

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