Friday, March 15, 2013

ATIT Reheated (From 2010): What would Jesus eat?

By Jack Brummet, Theology Ed. 

What Would Jesus Eat?   We don't really know what Jesus ate, but there is, naturally, a panel of wildly divergent experts on the Internet who will tell you they know.  In fact, someone wrote a book, and put out a "What Would Jesus Eat? diet." 

What do we know about what Jesus ate?  Not much at all.  The Bible does not specifically detail whether he ate on the day of the Sermon On The Mount or not; we know he fed a large crowd that day with a few loaves of barley bread and two fish. 

"...he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people."  
The Feeding of the 5,000 (the story of the loaves and fishes) is the only miracle (besides his  resurrection) that happens in all four Gospels (Matthew 14:13–21, Mark 6:31-44, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:5-15).  But we still don't know if he ate, held out for a steak, or maybe lentils, back in town.

We know He changed water into wine.  We just don't know whether he drank it or not. 

The Gospel of Luke says Jesus ate broiled fish and honeycomb (Luke 24:42).  As far as I can tell, this is the only mention in the Bible of him actually eating.  This knocks out some of the most vociferous claims of Christ's vegetarianism.   But there seem to be many people who believe that Christ was a vegan or vegetarian, and many others that believe he probably ate fish, and maybe some lamb once in a while.  We know he served bread and wine at the Last Supper, but we do not know whether he ate or drank any of it himself.

Both crackpots and scholars believe that Jesus ate a Mediterranean Diet version of strictly kosher Jewish food, which would include olives, olive oil, lamb and fin fish, and possibly beef (we know the kosher diet could include "fatted calf"), grains, vegetables, and fruit.  But other crackpots and scholars claim he ate no meat or fish at all.   People don't seem to have eaten chicken in the bible, which would rule out matzoh ball soup. 

Many people claim Jesus Christ as a vegetarian.  In 1999, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) launched a campaign to claim that Jesus was a vegetarian. Billboards stating "Jesus was a vegetarian. Show respect for God's creatures - follow Him" were put up around the country.

The Gospels specifically mention Jesus keeping three Passover feasts in Jerusalem. In order to keep the feast, the participants were given roasted lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread to eat (Exodus 12:3-4). The entire lamb had to be eaten during the feast. If there were any leftovers, they had to be burned (Exodus 12:10). If Jesus did not eat the lamb, he may have been violating the Law and could have been accused of sin.  But we just don't one mentions whether he sat at the table and ate, or not.

"... observe the Passover to the LORD. 'In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight, they shall observe it; they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 'They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break a bone of it; according to all the statute of the Passover they shall observe it. 'But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and yet neglects to observe the Passover, that person shall then be cut off from his people, for he did not present the offering of the LORD at its appointed time. That man will bear his sin." (Numbers 9:10-13)
Jesus possibly ate lamb, and definitely ate fish:
"But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, 'Have you any food here?' So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence" (Luke 24:41-43).

Whether Jesus ate fish or lamb, or was a strict vegetarian, we know he believed in fishing, and helped his disciples and other fish.  Vegetarian, or not, he was at the least, an enabler:

"So Jesus said to them, "Children, you do not have any fish, do you?" They answered Him, "No." And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch." So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. ... So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have now caught." Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples ventured to question Him, "Who are You?" knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise." (John 21:5-6, 9-14).

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