Did Jesus Eat Fish? Answered!

By Charalampos •  Updated: 03/24/23 •  6 min read

Many people wonder what food Jesus ate. We know that he fasted much, and during modern fasting, everyone mostly eats fish.

Because of this appears a question of Jesus ate fish too, just like we do nowadays. In this article, we will find out the answer.

The Two Perspectives of Jesus Eating Fish

Did Jesus Eat Fish

Some people think that since Jesus was a Jew, he would have followed Jewish dietary laws, which include restrictions on certain types of seafood. However, there are biblical accounts of Jesus eating fish and feeding fish to his followers as evidence that He ate this type of food.

Jesus Followed Jewish Dietary Laws

Firstly we should look at the argument that Jesus would have followed Jewish dietary laws and wouldn’t have eaten fish. Leviticus 11:9-12 lets the Jewish people eat fish but clearly prohibits the consumption of certain types of seafood, including shellfish, squid, and octopus.

Jesus was known to be a devout Jew who followed Jewish customs and traditions. In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus says that He hasn’t come to break the law, but to fulfill it. 

This passage shows that Jesus believed in the importance of following Jewish law for Him and that he wouldn’t violate it. 

We can know that back then fish wasn’t considered not kosher food and there are many examples in the Bible when Jews ate fish, even some disciples of Jesus were fishermen.

There are indeed many examples in the Bible where Jesus is described as eating fish or feeding fish to his followers. It can support the opinion that Jesus ate fish and back then there were no kosher rules for kinds of fish except seafood such as octopus and so on.

Showing His Disciples He is Alive

In Luke 24:41-43 is described a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to his disciples, during which He eats a piece of broiled fish and honeycomb. He made it to show his disciples that he is alive, and not a ghost.

In another passage, John 21:9-13, Jesus appears to his disciples after his resurrection and tells them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat.

When they do so, they catch a large number of fish, which they then cook and eat with Jesus.

These verses show that Jesus ate fish and helped His disciples catch it.

It becomes obvious that Jesus followed Jewish dietary laws, but all types of fish were kosher back then. We shouldn’t also forget how He fed thousands of people with fish.

In Matthew 14:19-20, Jesus feeds a large crowd with just five loaves of bread and two fish. It shows that it was fine for the Jews to eat fish. In Mark 7:18-19, Jesus says that physical things such as diet or being clean can’t hurt a soul of a person.  

These verses show that Jesus believed that strict adherence to Jewish dietary laws wasn’t necessary for spiritual purity. Fasting was important for Him, but He didn’t consider some type of food unacceptable for the whole life, although He adhered to that tradition.

The Opinion of The Church Fathers

 Church Fathers on Jesus Eating Fish

Saint John Chrysostom wrote in Homily 24 on the Gospel of Matthew that Jesus’ feeding of the multitude with fish and bread was a miracle meant to show His divine power and love for humanity. It shows that Jesus didn’t consider fish unacceptable food and therefore consumed it as well.

St. Basil the Great wrote in Homily 19 on the Hexaemeron that God created all things, including fish, for the benefit of humanity. St. Basil shows that the consumption of fish is not inherently sinful, but rather depends on the intentions of the individual. 

If one eats fish with gratitude and moderation, it can be a source of nourishment and enjoyment. However, if a person eats fish in excess or with a lack of gratitude, it can lead to gluttony and spiritual harm. 

This is what Christian fasting is about. It should be individual for everyone, if a person likes to eat fish, he should stop making it for some time, and if someone prefers meat, then it should be excluded from the diet during fasting. 

Cultural and Historical Factors 

boat fishing in Israel

We should remember that fishing was a common occupation in ancient Israel, and fish were a staple food source for many people.

1. Jesus Grew Up Eating Fish

It’s likely that Jesus, who grew up in a fishing village and ministered to fishermen, would have been familiar with and possibly even enjoyed eating fish.

Jesus was born and lived in Israel, near the Mediterranean Sea, the Jordan River, and the Dead Sea.

During his ministry, Jesus traveled throughout the region, preaching and teaching people. He often visited the Sea of Galilee, which is also known as Lake Tiberias or Lake Kinneret. 

Exactly there Jesus performed several miracles, for example calming a storm and feeding many people with just a few loaves of bread and fish

2. Jesus Visited The Coastal Regions

Jesus also visited the coastal regions, such as the city of Tyre in modern-day Lebanon and the port city of Joppa near modern Tel Aviv. These cities are situated along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea.

Based on the region where Jesus lived we can also clearly understand that he consumed fish since it was often a main food.

Interpretation of Jewish Dietary Laws

It’s also worth noting that the interpretation of Jewish dietary laws has evolved over time, and what was considered kosher in Jesus’ time may not be the same as what is considered kosher today. In modern times Jews don’t eat specific kinds of fish. 

Some scholars argue that the restrictions on seafood in Leviticus were meant to prevent the consumption of dangerous or unclean organisms, rather than to exclude all seafood. Therefore, if a person is sure that food isn’t dangerous, he can eat it. 

Final Thoughts

It can be concluded that Jesus Christ ate fish since he grew up near the sea, his disciples were fishermen, and the Bible has many verses which show that Jesus ate fish or fed people with fish.

Also, in ancient Israel kosher laws were different and people could eat all kinds of fish. Anyway, Jesus didn’t believe in such restrictions and told people that such things aren’t important.

St. Basil the Great Homily 19, Hexaemeron (1)
Saint John Chrysostom Homily 24 on the Gospel of Matthew (2)


Charalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.

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