Should a Christian be a vegetarian? Was Jesus vegetarian?
Genesis 1:29 says, "And God said, 'Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.'" At creation man was vegetarian. However, Genesis 9:3 records God telling Noah, "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything." Following the Flood, man was no longer vegetarian. Later, God instituted dietary restrictions, now known as kosher dietary laws.
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Jesus was born in a Jewish society that would have followed a kosher diet. Such a diet includes the eating of meat. Though the Bible does not specifically state that Jesus ate lamb, we know that Jesus ate the Passover meal, which traditionally includes lamb (Exodus 12:8-14; Mark 14:12-25). The Bible tells us that Jesus provided fish to others to eat (Luke 9:10-17; Mark 8:1-8). If eating fish was wrong, Jesus likely would not have given it to the people. And, perhaps most specifically, Luke records Jesus eating fish after He was resurrected (Luke 24:41-43).
In the New Testament, God removed the kosher dietary restrictions (see Acts 11:1-11; Romans 14:2-6). For Christians, this means that there is no biblical mandate regarding what food can or cannot be eaten. That being said, there is also no mandate requiring Christians to eat all kinds of food. What a Christian eats is a matter of freedom. Paul writes in Romans, "One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him" (Romans 14:2-3). It is evident from this that vegetarianism is neither glorified nor looked down upon.
In short, Jesus was not vegetarian. A Christian is free to be vegetarian; the choice is individual and should be considered through research and prayer.
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