Hear your stomach growling? Jesus had hunger too! So, what did he eat?
In this clip of The Faith Explained, Cale embarks on an exploration of the dietary practices in the time of Jesus. This discussion was prompted by a question from a listener named “David Crockett” from Houston, Texas, who brings an intriguing perspective to the table.
David, curious about the Roman practice of eating only one meal a day, wonders if this was also true for Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. His question stems from a personal interest in intermittent fasting and the historical origins of our current meal patterns.
Cale Clarke addresses this fascinating topic by referencing research from Jim Campbell. The first-century Jewish world, which Jesus inhabited, offered a rich variety of foods. The Gospels, particularly in Jesus’ parables, mention crops like wheat, barley, olives, grapes, lentils, and fava beans. Vegetables like onions, leeks, and garlic, along with fruits such as olives, grapes, date palms, apples, watermelons, pomegranates, and figs, were part of the diet.
Are you hungry yet??
Interestingly, sycamores, a type of low-quality fig consumed mainly by the poor, also played a role in their diet. The diet was predominantly pescatarian, with fishing being a significant industry, as evidenced by figures like Zebedee and his sons, including Peter and Andrew.
Bread was a staple, baked daily and often used as a utensil for eating stews or thick porridges. While meat was rare, it was served during important feasts or to honor special guests. This cultural practice is vividly illustrated in the parable of the prodigal son, where a fattened calf is prepared to celebrate the son’s return.
Cale emphasizes the spiritual and communal significance of meals during this time. Meals were a sacred time for fellowship and gratitude, not only for the food but also for God’s blessings. Hospitality was paramount, and the Jewish tradition of welcoming strangers and sojourners for meals was deeply rooted in their history as former slaves in Egypt.
Cale wraps up with a reflection on the biblical account of the Road to Emmaus, where the importance of meal-sharing is highlighted in the recognition of Jesus through the breaking of bread.