Was Jesus a vegetarian?

by Matt Slick

No, Jesus was not a vegetarian.  While the Bible spends very little time discussing exactly what Jesus did and didn't eat, we know he partook of the Passover Meal which was lamb.

  • Exodus 12:3,6-7,11, “Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household”…” ‘And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.  ‘Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it…‘Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the LORD’S Passover.”
  • Mark 14:13-14, And He sent two of His disciples, and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him; and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is My guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’

Jesus also demonstrated his physical resurrection to his disciples by eating fish:

  • Luke 41:43, While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them.

Additionally, unlike John the Baptist who ate a very ascetic diet, Jesus seems to have eaten freely like an ordinary Jew of the time, so much so that his enemies accused him of being a glutton.

  • Matthew 11:18-19, For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

Taken together, these passages show us clearly that Jesus was not a vegetarian but ate a common Jewish diet with great freedom. It is not wrong, however, for a Christian to be a vegetarian today.  Each person is free to make that choice for himself, (Rom. 14:1-12).


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.