What Would Jesus Eat?
It may sound like an unusual question, but it is in fact an intriguing one too many people all over the world, not just Christians. The interest in the life of Jesus, “the Son of Man” (Mark 2:10), continues to grow, and as part of this renewed interest people are also asking about the more earthly aspects of the life He lead. If you Google “What would Jesus eat?” you will find over 30 million results, ranging from historical information to the advertising of diet books. In a country as diet-obsessed as the US, with a large number of believers, perhaps it should not be seen as a strange question, but rather as a sign of the times.
What would Jesus eat? what we do know is that Jesus Christ lived his life under the Roman occupation of Galilee, Samaria and Judea. He lived among his fellow Jews whom he ministered to. He shared their food and drank their wine. Being raised as the son of a carpenter and later on a minister to the poor, we can assume that Jesus ate a typical country fare, based on the basic produce of the land. We have many instances in the Bible where Jesus performs miracles relating to food, such as the multiplication of bread and fish, or the turning of water into wine at the wedding in Cana.
Common Foods in the Time of Jesus
The foods commonly eaten during the Biblical times, from the Old Testament to the New, were simple, but varied.
They included among the following:
- Olives (and Olive Oil)
- Grapes (and Wine)
- Herbal teas
- Spices, such as Hyssop
In general, the foods consumed were wholesome and nutritious, but it’s hard to say with any great degree of confidence to what extent all these foods were available and in what amounts. Certainly king Herod during the feast where John the Baptist was beheaded (see Mark 6:14-29) had access to the highest quality produce, plenty of meat, wine and sweet fruits. Speaking of John the Baptist, it’s interesting to note that he reportedly ate “wild honey and locusts” (Mark 1:6) where locusts were seen as the food of the poor. It is therefore not impossible that Jesus himself partook of meals that included locusts when he wandered around the countryside, spread the gospel and healed the sick.
Were There Foods that Jesus Would Not Eat?
As Jesus was raised in the Galilee in what we can assume to be a quite traditional Jewish community, there are good reasons to believe that Jesus did not really eat foods that were banned in the Old Testament, such as pork and shellfish. If he did, surely the Pharisees, for whom dietary and other religious observances were very important, would have found a way to criticize him for it, just as they questioned him on the subject of his disciples plucking “the ears of corn” (Matthew 12:1) which was deemed forbidden on the Sabbath.
While it’s true that there is no clear reference of Jesus eating something the Pharisees considered unclean, we can also see that Jesus’ attitude towards food was vastly different to that of the Pharisees:
There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him. (Mark 7:15)
This is one of the reasons that Christians do not adhere to the dietary restrictions of the Old Testament, as the New Covenant doesn’t require adherence to the letter of the Law.
We can’t say with any absolute degree of certainty exactly what would Jesus eat, besides what has been related to us in the Gospels, but we do have reliable information as to what was commonly eaten during the times of Jesus and we see little reason to believe that Jesus didn’t partake of all these foods. For those of you who may be looking for dietary advice, this “diet” has a variety of wholesome foods that is in many ways similar to the famous Mediterranean Diet, that many nutritionists and doctors recommend. We also know that Jesus did not state that it is necessary to adhere to certain dietary requirements and perhaps the main take-home message in the discussion of Jesus’ dietary practices, is that we should all strive to be less judgmental of others for the types of foods that they choose to eat.
With that said, many Christians find it meaningful to try to connect to the Lord in all kinds of ways, what would Jesus eat and emulating his style of eating should not be frowned upon if done for the right reasons. At Galilee 33 we have created unique gift baskets that can be used to experience some of the healthy and wholesome foods that Jesus ate. Our flagship, the Nazareth luxury gift basket contains all of our products, which are organically produced in the land where Jesus lived and walked among us, in the land of Israel.
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