Was Jesus a Vegetarian?

Text: Genesis 9:1-7


I.         Back in 1999, the Omaha World-Herald had a hilarious article on a then new advertising campaign by PETA. [Bill Broadway, “Jesus Used in Latest PETA Ads,” Omaha World-Herald, 17 March 1999]

            A.        They claimed that Jesus was a vegetarian.

            B.        Their “evidence”?

                        1.         A belief that Jesus was an Essene and some of that sect were believed to be against the killing and eating of animals.

                        2.         There is no mention in the Bible of Jesus eating meat.

                                    a.         This is qualified to beef, pork, or poultry. They admitted that Jesus ate fish.

                                    b.         What the difference between a land animal and a sea animal is beyond me.

                        3.         Jesus’ throwing out of the money changers is supposedly his protest over the selling and sacrifices of animals

                        4.         A claim that the world started as vegetarian and remains that way.

II.        Examining the Claims

            A.        Jesus was Jew who perfectly kept the Law of Moses

                        1.         Jesus lived a sinless life - II Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15

                        2.         Therefore, Jesus, as a Jew, must have kept the Law perfectly

                        3.         All Jews were required to keep the Passover celebration - Exodus 12:47

                                    a.         The Gospels specifically mention Jesus keeping three Passover feasts in Jerusalem.

                                    b.         Everyone was required to eat a lamb - Exodus 12:3-4

                                    c.         The entire lamb had to be eaten or burned - Exodus 12:10

                                    d.         If Jesus did not eat the lamb, then he would have been violating the Law - Numbers 9:12

                        4.         The Bible records that Jesus ate the Passover feast, which would have included the roasted lamb - Luke 22:14-15

                                    a.         He instructed the disciples to prepare the lamb for the purpose of eating it - Luke 22:7-8

                        5.         There is no mention of Essenes in the New Testament, though other sects are mentioned.

                                    a.         Therefore, to claim Jesus was an Essene is simple wishful thinking on PETA’s part

            B.        Jesus did eat fish as well as lamb - Matthew 15:34

                        1.         Jesus promoted the catching of fish for food - John 21:5-6, 9-14

                                    a.         Notice that he ate with them

                        2.         Jesus ate broiled fish after his resurrection - Luke 24:41-43

            C.        The history of killing animals

                        1.         Sacrifices of animals started after the departure from the Garden - Genesis 4:4

                        2.         By the way, did you realize God killed the first animals to make fur skin clothing for Adam and Eve? - Genesis 3:21

                        3.         The eating of meat was allowed starting from the departure from the ark. -Genesis 9:3

                        4.         The Old Law allowed for the eating of various kinds of meat - Leviticus 11:3,9,46-47; Deuteronomy 14:4-6,9,11

                                    a.         The eating of beef, lamb, various poultry and fish were allowed under the Law.

                                    b.         Jesus’ eating of these things would not violate the Law.

            D.        The Law require numerous animal sacrifices

                        1.         If Jesus protested against animal sacrifices, then he would have been protesting against the teachings of the Law of Moses – a sin.

                        2.         Mark 11:17 - Jesus protested the profiteering being made off of an ordinance of God - also John 2:14-16

III.       Christ’s new law allows any meat to be eaten except for blood and strangled animals (because the blood remains in the meat) - Acts 15:28-29

            A.        Peter was commanded by God to kill and eat meat - Acts 10:9-16

            B.        I Corinthians 10:25-26 - Eat anything sold in the meat market without question

            C.        The forbidding of certain foods is an indication of departing from the faith - I Timothy 4:1-5

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