Friday, October 29

Was Jesus a Vegetarian?

Did Jesus eat meat? For many people, you are probably wondering what any of this has to do with us. A good and dear friend of mine had questions about this sort of thing, and once I did a bit of research, I noticed that there was an interest in this subject. Therefore, it is a valid topic, and ought to be covered, given the context we are going to look at it in. The question goes a bit like this, and a valid question it is indeed: "In Genesis, God tells us that man and creature alike did not eat meat, in God's perfect world, but plants and vegetation. To be a good Christian, ought we follow this? Also, since Jesus is God, did he eat meat when he was on the earth?"

I think it best to look at this first, in its narrative. In the first chapter of Genesis we read, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move on the ground - everything that has the breath of life in it - I give every green plant for food." (Genesis 1:29-30) Later, following the flood narrative, "God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything." (Genesis 9:1-3)
That being said, is it wrong for us to want to eat meat, should we, as Christians, be vegetarian? You can be, but God provided us with more food sources, and all depending on personal preference, there is nothing biblically wrong with eating meat.The question was also asked, "Did Jesus Eat Meat?" If the Son of God did not eat meat, it would mean we ought not to also. However, that is not the case. Take John 21, for example. After his resurrection, Jesus had his disciples cast out, and when they caught fish, and returned to shore, there he was, ready with a fire for cooking. We are told that they ate the fish - which is meat. Another instance would be Passover.

Passover has not changed its traditions since the Exodus. Traditionally, Jews took a lamb or goat and ate them during Passover dinner. We are told that Jesus kept the Passover laws, and as such, he ate lamb, or goat - which is also meat. Passover is a Holy day which celebrates the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. It was a commanded assembly. You can find the full regulations are detailed are given in Exodus 12. In basic terms, on Passover, a lamb was killed and roasted. Exodus 12:3,5 says, "Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth of this month they shall take to them each man a lamb for a father's house, a lamb for a house... Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You shall take from the sheep or from the goats."

While yes, it is true that what Jesus and his disciples ate could have been a goat or even a sheep, it was most likely a lamb. The celebration of Passover for Jews is still in effect - unlike much of the Ceremonial Law found the first five books of the Bible, when Jesus died, Passover was still in effect. His death and resurrection did not negate the importance of the Passover. In fact, Exodus 12:14 says, "And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and you shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever. You must celebrate this day as a religious festival to remind you of what I, the LORD, have done. Celebrate it for all time to come."

The long and short of it is, yes, Jesus did eat meat - even if he did not have lamb, goat, or sheep, he ate fish. However, if he did not eat at Passover, he would be breaking the Passover laws, and we are told that these he kept. We can come to the logical conclusion that Jesus was not a vegetarian. It is from this that we can understand that Christ is our Passover lamb. 1st Corinthians 5:7 says, "You must remove the old yeast of sin so that you will be entirely pure. Then you will be like a new batch of dough without any yeast, as indeed I know you actually are. For our Passover Festival is ready, now that Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed."

Jesus ate Passover lamb, he was our lamb, and he is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. He can take away our sins if we only confess with our mouth, "Jesus Is Lord," and if we believe in our heart that he is risen from the dead, we will be saved. Pray for forgiveness of sins daily, as we sin daily, and try to spread truth wherever possible, just as Jesus commissioned us. (Matthew 28:16-20Another dear friend had pointed out Romans 14. Here is the text, take from it what you will, dear reader. "Accept those whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person's faith allows them to eat everything, but another person, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted that person." (Romans 14:1-3)

"Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To their own master they stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. Some consider one day more sacred than another; others consider every day alike. Everyone should be fully convinced in their own mind. Those who regard one day more sacred as special do so to the Lord. Those who eat meat do so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and those who abstain do so to the Lord and give thanks to God. For we do not live to ourselves alone and we do not die to ourselves alone." (Romans 14:4-7"If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat your brother or sister with contempt? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written: ' As surely as I live,' says the Lord, every knee will bow before me, every tongue will confess to God.' So then, we will all give an account of ourselves to God." (Romans 14:8-12)

"Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then that person is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by eating destroy your brother or sister for whom Christ died." (Romans 14:13-15"Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall." (Romans 14:16-21); "So, whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed are those who do not condemn themselves by what they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is a sin." (Romans 14:22-23) This chapter is a good passage to refer to when issues food-related arise.

Troy Hillman


  1. I think a good way to sum it all up would be Romans 14:1-22 :)

  2. Do you understand the 4th Cup?

    After the beginning of Jesus' Last Passover Supper (Seder) Judas Iscariot left to do what he had to do. The twelve left in the room were at the point where the second of four traditional cups was about to be drunk.

    (The first is at the beginning of the Seder meal.) Jesus took the cup and gave thanks and gave it to them and said, "Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes."

    More of the lamb meal was consumed. During that He took a loaf of unleavened bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to His disciples saying, "This IS my body given for you; do this to recall me." ("Recall" is a better translation of the Greek "anamnesis" than "remember".)

    After the supper He took the third cup saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This IS my blood of the NEW and everlasting covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

    A hymn was sung, which is a combination of several psalms called The Great Hillel, and they went out to the Mount of Olives.

    What happened? The Passover ceremony and ritual was not complete. There was no fourth cup. There was no announcement that it was finished. Could it be that Jesus was so upset with what He knew was about to happen that He forgot? Doubtful!

    Not only Jesus, but also the 11 others had participated in the Passover Seder every year of their lives. No, this was done on purpose. The last supper of Jesus was not over.

    On the Mount of Olives, in the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples slept while Jesus prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done."

    He prayed that three times. Then Jesus was arrested, illegally put on trial by the Sanhedrin, then by Pontius Pilate, sentenced and crucified.

    While on the cross He wept. Jesus, who was in excruciating agony, was so merciful that He prayed for the forgiveness of His executioners. He was offered some wine with a pain killer, myrrh, in it. He refused it.

    "Later, knowing that all was now complete, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled and the kingdom established, Jesus said, 'I am thirsty.'" A man dipped a sponge into sour wine; he placed it on a hyssop branch and lifted it up to Jesus lips.

    He drank. (We recall that it was the hyssop branch which was used to paint lambs blood around the Hebrew's door for the Passover of the angel of death.)

    It was then that Jesus said, "It is finished." He then bowed His head and gave up the spirit to His Father.

    The fourth cup now represented the lamb’s blood of the first Passover, a saving signal to the angel of death.

    The Lamb of God was now sacrificed. The last Passover supper of Jesus Christ was now complete with the fourth cup. It was finished.

    The tie in with the Passover is unmistakable.

    The Lamb of God was sacrifice and death was about to be passed over come Easter day.

    The promise of eternal life for many was about to be fulfilled.

    Christ’s Passover was finished, but His mission was not until he rose from the dead.

  3. I thank you, Mr. Gormley, more than I can express. It is not often that I receive comments on the blog, though stats show that it is read worldwide. So when I receive a comment in which insight is given, it is very much appreciated. I had never heard of it that way, to be honest. I know Christ fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 69:21, but I had not thought of it as the 4th Cup. Very interesting, much appreciated.