These days, when it comes to the appearance of Jesus at breakfast, you have to have more faith than ever. Specifically, you need faith that some crafty eBay profiteer hasn’t deliberately anointed the Anointed One on toast or a pancake just to make money.

In early February 2006, Mike Thompson of Beachwood, Ohio, claimed that the face of Jesus appeared on a pancake he had made while making breakfast for his family. Thompson was paraphrased by News Channel 5 of Cleveland, Ohio, as saying that the image of the Lord’s face was a sign from above.

He posted the alleged Holy Pancake on eBay with a starting bid of $500. Bidding reached $14,999.00 before the listing was removed for violating eBay listing rules.

There is no evidence to suggest that eBay removed the listing because it was fraudulent. Still, Internet message boards were abuzz with accusations that it was Thompson, and not God, who created the image on the pancake.

“This is a scam and this guy is a fraud,” one post read.

“He looks more like Osama Bin Laden to me,” read another.

One poster quipped: “Maybe he’s got a Jesus pan that has an image embedded into the metal so everything cooked has Jesus on it.”

But that joke can be on us. The Jesus Pan is real.

“The Jesus Pan is made of durable steel and covered in a non-stick coating.”

Marketing copy on JesusPan.com advertises a pan with a raised print of Jesus that “puts the image of Jesus on the food.”

Is it possible that Thompson’s Jesus pancake was a marketing ploy for the Jesus Bread? It is obvious that the folks at JesusPan.com are aware of the reach of eBay. The site says: “Sacred images have been popping up everywhere… A grilled cheese sandwich depicting the Virgin Mary sold for over $1,700 on eBay.”

The most impressive evidence that the Thompson pancake may have been created by the Jesus Pan comes from MrBreakfast.com. The site created a computer overlay of the Thompson pancake and compared it to the impression of the Jesus Pan. While not definitive proof, the dimensions of Jesus on the pancake are strikingly similar to the imprint on the pan. However, a cross stamped on the bottom right of the pan below Jesus does not appear on the pancake.

When Thompson’s listing reappeared on eBay after the rule violation, the description sounded strangely commercial. “Sorry, the official “Jesus Pancake” was removed for listing violation… I had 150,000 views and the bid was up to $15,000. Thank you SO MUCH for your support! I’ve been encouraged to put the pancake back up, so please It will start at $15,000.”

Soon after the Thompson Jesus pancake hit the headlines, imitators sprang up. On February 14, a 33-year-old blogger from Newcastle, UK, called “ILuvNUFC”, announced that he had discovered the Jesus kisser in a pancake he had made. Unlike Thompson, “ILuvNUFC” admitted that his face might not be Jesus’. He pointed out that he also resembled porn star Ron Jeremy’s mug. Whether it was Jesus or Ron Jeremy, he pointed out on his blog that he was ready to make money on eBay. The Thompson pancake itself may be something of an imitation. A week before the Holy Pancake appeared to him, it was announced that Juan Patrano of Prairie Lea, Texas, found the face of Jesus in a frying pan he was washing. Curiously, Patrano was washing the pan with the intention of preparing breakfast for his mother. Describing himself as a religious man, Patrano said he, too, is considering selling his discovery on eBay.

In December 2005, cooks at the Stadium Club restaurant in Jacksonville, FL found Jesus at the bottom of a large pot used to heat water. They said the pan had recently been used to heat containers of nacho cheese and it is presumed that burnt nacho cheese and mineral deposits from the restaurant’s water combined to form the face of the Messiah. Plans to sell the pan on eBay have yet to be announced.

Perhaps the most famous sighting of food-related religious symbolism in recent times is an image of the Virgin Mary appearing on a grilled cheese sandwich. Diana Duyser, a Florida resident, discovered the image after taking a bite of the sandwich. For 10 years, Duyser kept the partially eaten Holy Sandwich in a clear plastic box on his nightstand. In 2004, she sold the sandwich on eBay to GoldenPalace.com, an Internet casino, for $28,000. GoldenPalace.com is the same company that made another highly publicized purchase. They bought Kidney Stone from William Shatner.

When religious icons start appearing on breakfast foods, there are a number of ways to make money. Threadless.com offers t-shirt designs featuring Jesus on toast and the Virgin Mary on pancakes. A clever eBay seller is selling a toast emblazoned with a picture of Jesus on a pancake.

Would you like to make your own Jesus breakfast item without having to buy a special frying pan? Just take a look at the article “Your Own Personal Toast to Jesus” by Eric Gillin. Available at blacktable.com, Gillin offers step-by-step instructions for painting Jesus on toast by strategically buttering the bread and grilling it. Unfortunately, Mr. Gillin’s looks more like Kenny from Comedy Central’s South Park than the Lamb of God. But these days, even a short Jesus in a parka should get some “bread” from an online auction at the right time.

Does God put images of His relatives and friends on toast and pancakes? We may never know until we have a chance to ask him. If there is a God who has his hands in the workings of the universe, we know it: events have conspired to lead us to talk about religion and breakfast. Beyond all the speculation and sacrilege, there may be one very important message: Pay attention to your breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day.

UPDATE: THE THOMPSON JESUS ​​PANCAKE IS FRAUDULENT

On March 2, 2006, this article was initially published on MrBreakfast.com. The next day, MrBreakfast received a response to a query sent to JesusPan.com. The email read: “Sorry for the late response. I HAVE BEEN FLOODED! Yes, this is the product JesusPancake created!” The note was signed by Mike Thompson.