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Q: #476. How many times did Jesus eat with others in the Bible? What did Jesus talk about and do while sharing a meal?

     A: This study came out of a blog post I made a few weeks ago. The blog was named “What Did Jesus Do In His Free Time?“. I was wondering if Jesus ever took a break from ministry. Did He go fishing, go for a hike, read a book, or go for a horseback ride? Did He ever just hang out and socialize and make small talk? In particular, I wondered what did He did when He ate with others. I find myself constantly wanting to talk about the things of God, including when I am eating with others. I wondered if Jesus did that too. Did He still minister when He ate with others? I was happy to find that He did. (I am not going overboard, nor am I totally crazy!) In fact, Jesus did some amazing and memorable things in conjunction with eating with others. We are going to look at these.

     To answer this question, I went through all 4 Gospels to find each place where Jesus ate with others. The biggest problem is that there are a number of places where it is not “clear” that He ate, although it it inferred, or it seems logical that He did. For example, when Jesus fed the 5000 or 4000, it doesn’t say that He ate. Did He eat? I think so. Or, with #3 below, it says that while walking through the grainfields on the Sabbath, Jesus’ disciples “began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.” Did Jesus eat too? I think so. Therefore, I am counting these in this list. This list will consist of 3 parts: Where did He eat? – Where is it in the Bible? – What did He say / do?

1. Where: Wedding feast at Cana
Verses: (Jn 2:1-10)
What Did He Say / Do? – Turned water into wine

2. Where: At Levi / Matthew’s house: eating with tax collectors and sinners
Verses: (Mt 9:9-17)(Mk 2:13-22)(Lk 5:27-39)
What Did He Say / Do? –
(A) Confronted the Pharisees, telling them He came to call sinners to repentance.
(B) A discussion on fasting

3. Where: Eating grain from the grainfields with the disciples on the Sabbath
Verses: (Mt 12:1-8)(Mk 2:23-28)(Lk 6:1-5)
What Did He Say / Do? – Confronted the Pharisees, telling them He was Lord of the Sabbath.

4. Where: The house of Simon the Pharisee
Verses: (Lk 7:36-50)
What Did He Say / Do? –
(A) Allowed a woman, who was a “sinner” to anoint His feet. Forgave her sins.
(B) Parable of the Two Debtors

5. Where: A deserted place
Verses: (Mt 14:13-21)(Mk 6:32-44)(Lk 9:12-17)(Jn 6:1-14)
What Did He Say / Do? – Blessed 5 loaves of bread and two fish, then fed 5000 men.

6. Where: The wilderness
Verses: (Mt 15:32-38)(Mk 8:1-9)
What Did He Say / Do? – Gave thanks for and blessed 7 loaves of bread, and a few fish, then fed 4000 men.

7. Where: The house of Martha and Mary
Verses: (Lk 10:38-42)
What Did He Say / Do? – Told Martha she was worried about things that weren’t important.

8. Where: The house of a “certain Pharisee”
Verses: (Lk 11:37-54)
What Did He Say / Do? –
(A) Rebuked the Pharisees.
(B) Rebuked the lawyers.

9. Where: The house of one of the chief Pharisees
Verses: (Lk 14:1-24)
What Did He Say / Do? –
(A) Healed a man with dropsy.
(B) Parable of the Ambitious Guest
(C) Parable of the Great Supper

10. Where: The house of Simon the Leper
Verses: (Jn 12:1-11)(Mt 26:6-13)(Mk 14:3-9)
What Did He Say / Do? –
(A) Allowed Mary to anoint His feet with oil.
(B) Rebuked the disciples (specifically Judas Iscariot) for criticizing what Mary did.

11. Where: The Last Supper (celebrating Passover)
Verses: (Mt 26:20-30)(Mk 14:17-26)(Lk 22:14-38)(Jn 13:1-38)
What Did He Say / Do? –
(A) Announced He would be betrayed
(B) Instituted The Last Supper
(C) Predicted Peter’s denial
(D) Taught on servanthood
(E) Washed the disciple’s feet

12. Where: The house of the two men he met on road to Emmaus
Verses: (Lk 24:28-32)
What Did He Say / Do? – Took bread, blessed it, broke it, gave it to them, and then vanished.

13. Where: In Jerusalem, with the disciples and others
Verses: (Lk 24:41-48)
What Did He Say / Do? –
(A) Explained His death and resurrection
(B) Told them to wait in Jerusalem for the promised Holy Spirit

14. Where: With 7 disciples at the Sea of Tiberias (Galilee)
Verses: (Jn 21:1-23)
What Did He Say / Do? –
(A) Miraculously provided fish
(B) Restored Peter
(C) Revealed how Peter would die

     In addition to these, Jesus’ ministry covered 3 (possibly 4) Passovers (Jn 2:13,23)(Jn 5:1)(Jn 6:4)(Jn 11:55, 12:1, 13:1, 18:28,39, 19:14), as well as several Jewish feasts. As required by God (i.e. Ex Ch. 12), Jesus, as a Jew, would have eaten at these as well.


***Update: For those of you who have asked why I did not include Jesus being a “guest” in the house of Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1-9), which “implies” eating, the key word is “implies.” I only selected examples where eating is actually mentioned, or taking place (except for #7, where I believe “food” is being “served”). The Gr. word for “guest” is “kataluo,” which actually means to “lodge” (“throw down” luggage). (Also see: Lk 9:12)

Copyright: © Steve Shirley

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