“Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover feast?”
And Jesus said, “No need, I’m doing a juice-cleanse to prepare for my crucifixion instead.”
Would Jesus seriously opt for a juice-cleanse to drop a few pounds before his crucifixion?
Was He worried about whether he had a six-pack of abs on show up there on the cross? Or how lean He was? Did He try to maximise His muscle definition?
And if right about now you’re feeling a bit annoyed at me, or that I’m being disrespectful to our good Lord, well then I’ve done my job right.
Because I love Jesus with all my heart. But I want you, me and everyone else to question what we’re doing today with diets, detoxes, and our body-preoccupation through the lens of the most important man who walked our earth – Jesus!
What would Jesus do? Would He diet? Would He detox with juice cleanses?
Our culture is so focused on body image, and being thinner. I could write a book on the harms of that. But I’m here to share something more important.
And that is, that you are CALLED to something more important than being thin.
God has a plan for your life. You have gifts He wants you to use, to share, to help Him build His Kingdom.
And He does not want you to waste your time, your energy, and everything He has given you, in the pursuit of thinness.
This is a distraction that takes away your life, your joy, your meaning – all in the pursuit of thinness, or getting your diet ‘just right’, or meeting some self-designated ‘food rules’.
It’s not right, and yet it’s even shared and encouraged in many churches. Why?
Feasts and shared meals are an important part of the bible. From the fall in the garden of eden, through to Jesus offering communion to his disciples by way of broken bread and a glass of wine at that Passover feast I mentioned above (because yes, spoiler alert, Jesus did NOT do a juice-cleanse before his crucifixion). Key point: there was a feast.
The prodigal son returned home to his father, and the father prepared a feast to celebrate. A parable told by Jesus to demonstrate to us how great our Father’s love is for us, even when we’ve walked away from Him. Key point: there was a feast.
Joseph had a feast prepared for his family when they showed up in Egypt – even after what his brothers had done to him, selling him into slavery. What forgiveness, shown through a shared meal. Key point: there was a feast.
Zacchaeus the despised tax collecter climbed a tree to get a glimpse of Jesus as He walked past. Jesus asked Zaccheus to come down from the tree and prepare his home (and a meal) for Jesus to visit that night. An amazing show of how ANYONE was welcome in Jesus’s world. There was no judgement. Demonstrated through the sharing of food in Zaccheaus’s home. Key point: there was a shared meal.
I could go on and on and on. But you get the point right? There was a lot of feasting and shared meals before, during and after Jesus’s time here on earth.
In fact the newly named Christians (followers of Christ), chose to gather together in their homes to worship and pray, and shared a meal together. Yes food, together.
From fasting to feasting, the bible covers it all.
Yet in today’s world we’re fixated on the the fasting part of the bible, and scriptures about “your body is a temple”, while ignoring the many, many biblical scriptures about the role that feasting and shared meals played in life.
Something special happens when we share a meal with a stranger. At the end of the meal we’re no longer strangers. Something happens that can’t be replicated just by sitting opposite one-another for one hour.
Is that why communion is so powerful? How deep and powerful is the act of eating? Of eating together?
Jesus said that heaven is like a “wedding feast”.
Think about that, think deeply. What does that say about our enjoyment of food? If he likens it to heaven? Would we avoid heaven? Would we avoid a wedding feast or just go for the low-fat mayo while there?
There are so many more important things going on in the world today, so much more important than counting macros or steps on your fitbit. So here I am, a nutritionist standing here telling you, begging you, to please stop worrying about food and your weight.
You are not called to be thinner. Please get on with your life and lay this burden down now.