Thomas Nelson publishes The What Would Jesus Eat Cookbook, with
“healthy, hearty recipes featuring foods that Jesus Himself would have
Not everyone is applauding.
According to an acerbic report in the
“Religion Line” email newsletter of
Publishers Weekly, the book is “short on recipes for locusts and honey,
but long on Mediterranean-influenced cuisine…. So in addition to more
traditional dishes like hummus and Egyptian rice with lentils, [the author]
includes recipes with a modern verve, like broiled salmon fillets with
fennel sauce, cilantro salsa and melon shakes (leaving the reader to wonder
- did Jesus have access to a blender?).”
It is of course popular – fashionable
even – to debate what Jesus would or would not do were He back on earth.
I live in an upmarket suburb. One day at
a Bible study gathering a friend commented: “If Jesus were back on earth He
certainly wouldn’t come to our church. He’d be over in the poor parts of
town, mixing with the people in their churches there.” (In fact, at least
one commentator has suggested that if Jesus were back on earth He would shun
the church altogether and head straight for the nearest synagogue.)
But I think Jesus would visit our church.
He might not be too impressed with the odd BMW among the Toyotas, Fords and
Hondas. But surely He would rejoice to find a congregation of ordinary
people struggling to maintain the faith in a deeply secular environment.
Of course, He would also be found at the
poorer quarters. Jesus went wherever people needed reconciliation with God.
That meant everywhere in His day, and I feel it would be the same today.
Similarly with food. He fasted and He
probably participated in Jewish feasts. Palestinian society in those days
was not rich. People ate what they could get. As far as we know, Jesus ate
in accordance with the norms of His time.
Diet and a trim figure are modern-day
obsessions. I do not find evidence that they were concerns of Jesus. He
preached the Kingdom of God and repentance, not weight loss.
Yes, it is surely good to eat healthy
food. And current research suggests a “Mediterranean diet” is about as
healthy as you can get. But far better to put the stress on leading lives of
service, moderation and self-restraint. “Make me more like Jesus,” should be
part of the prayers of every Christian. But that involves a transformed
heart, not a flatter tummy.
Here is what I
wrote nearly three months ago when I started my website:
Jesus preached a
message that was revolutionary in its day: love, forgiveness, service,
integrity, trust, humility, prayer, compassion, justice, and more. Yet too
often in our world today we see self-interest placed ahead of love and
compassion, rule by the powerful in place of justice and service, spin
instead of honesty and integrity. The message of Jesus has become
revolutionary again. Christianity is the new counter-culture.
If Jesus were here again His fiery
radicalism would show up our fads and obsessions as trivial pursuits driven
by ego and self-absorption. I doubt that He would spend a lot of time
worrying about diet. He’d probably eat what everyone else was having.
Sure, He would presumably dine on broiled
salmon with fennel sauce if it were served to Him.
I suspect that He would be just as
comfortable snacking at the local McDonald’s.