Eating In The Ancient World: Did Jesus Enjoy Good Food?

People have a natural curiosity for what meals were like in the ancient world, and for what kinds of food Jesus and his disciples enjoyed. Even Anthony Bourdain tried to recreate a biblical meal on his TV show. And Don Colbert wrote What Would Jesus Eat, followed by the What Would Jesus Eat Cookbook.

Do you ever finish a good meal and think, “Too bad for Jesus and those poor disciples, living back in ancient Palestine and eating unsalted meat and stale bread”? Is that accurate?

We know from the Gospels that Jesus drank wine and he ate fish, bread and honeycomb. What else can we know about food in those days?

Colbert points out that Jesus would have kept Old Testament dietary laws, so:

  • IN: beef, lamb, goat, fish, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, olive oil
  • OUT: pork, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, clams

Based on what was most available, Jesus probably ate fish daily, and just had other meat like beef on big occasions and parties. Of course the Pharisees pointed out that he liked to eat and to party, so he probably enjoyed knocking off a good lamb steak.

They had plenty of spices back then too, so there’s no reason to believe Jesus and his disciples didn’t enjoy good food. When Jesus turned water into wine, the wedding hosts said it was great wine — better than what they’d served earlier.

Jesus doesn’t do things halfway — when he served up the miracle fish sandwiches, I’m sure it was the best fish the crowds had eaten in awhile, or ever. I’d trust Jesus to make my meal, even without modern conveniences.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9 )?


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  1. Bring On The Food! For He Has Risen | Daniel Montgomery - April 10, 2012

    […] thing you’ll notice on this blog is that I talk about good food a lot — whether the kind of food Jesus and His disciples would have eaten in the first century or the best places to eat breakfast in Louisville. And there is no time like Easter to praise God […]

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