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Eating Meat: What Did Jesus say about Eating Meat

Jesus Himself does not directly address the consumption of meat in a way that prescribes or forbids it for His followers in the Gospels. The teachings of Jesus recorded in the New Testament focus more on spiritual and moral principles rather than dietary laws, which are more extensively covered in the Old Testament and by the apostolic teachings in the New Testament.

However, we can infer from the context of His time and some indirect references that Jesus likely partook of meat and did not oppose its consumption:

  1. Passover Meal: Jesus participated in the Passover meal (Luke 22:15), which traditionally includes the eating of lamb. This indicates that Jesus Himself ate meat as part of observing Jewish customs and religious practices.
  2. Feeding of the 5,000: In the miracle of feeding the 5,000, Jesus multiplied loaves and fishes to feed the crowd (Matthew 14:17-21). The inclusion of fish in this miracle shows that Jesus saw it as an acceptable food to eat and share.
  3. Jesus’ Appearance to the Disciples: After His resurrection, Jesus ate broiled fish in the presence of His disciples to show that He was physically alive and not a ghost (Luke 24:42-43). This act also indicates His acceptance of eating meat.

Three Main Takeaways:

  1. Spiritual Over Dietary Laws: Jesus’ teachings focused on the spiritual condition of one’s heart rather than strictly adhering to dietary laws. For example, in Mark 7:18-19, He declares all foods clean, emphasizing that it’s not what enters someone from outside that defiles them, but what comes from their heart that defiles a person.
  2. Love and Understanding: In the broader context of New Testament teachings, the emphasis is on love, understanding, and not causing others to stumble over dietary practices. Paul addresses this in Romans 14:2-3, indicating that believers should not judge each other over matters of eating and should be willing to abstain if it causes a brother or sister to stumble.
  3. Freedom with Responsibility: Christians are given freedom regarding dietary choices, but this freedom comes with the responsibility to make choices that honor God and consider the well-being of others. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

In summary, while Jesus did not directly address the issue of eating meat, His life and the teachings of the New Testament provide guidance on approaching dietary choices with love, freedom, and responsibility.


  • Greg Gaines

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