Where does it mention cannibalism in the Bible?

James Eating Bread
Image by Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha via Flickr

What if you walked into the movie “Tangled” and heard the line, “Frying pans, who knew?”  You might assume the movie is a kids cooking show and leave.  You would miss the story of an innocent girl successfully defending herself with a frying pan and finding deep inner courage.

That’s what happens when we read parts of scripture without knowing or connecting to the whole.

First impressions:

I knew someone who decided to pick up a Bible and read only the book of Ezekiel.  Why that section caught his attention, I’ll never know.  This prophetic book has some outrageous imagery, which I cannot yet fully understand.

He found himself stunned and decided the entire Bible was absurd.  How sad he had no one to guide him at this vital corner of his life.

Due to the depth of info found in this humble book, people spend their whole lives searching to discover its mysteries.  No matter how long we’ve studied, we need to surround ourselves with people who’ve known God and His story longer.  It doesn’t guarantee perfection (which is found in only in Christ), but it provides a guide for the road ahead.

Fellow hikers:

In the same way, those of us who’ve been on the road (that is reading scripture and living it) longer need to be brave enough to share our experience.

I went hiking with some friends in our local mountains.  Another group passed us on their return trip.  As we crossed one another, the second group shared, “Be careful, we saw a snake ahead.”

Rattle snakes often sun themselves in the morning hours on desert, mountain trails.  We decided to heed their advice, found a walking stick, and banged the ground as we walked.  In retrospect, we probably appeared stupid to anyone with binoculars aimed our direction,  but we didn’t care.

We aimed our eyes down and remained alert.  Then, we saw a head peek out from some bushes near the trail.  Because of our awareness, we easily startled the snake, waited for it to pass and continued our hike.  Without the warning of others, our morning activity could have ended differently.

But, cannibalism?

One section of scripture could be seen as Christ calling for cannibalism.  This section would make no sense to my very literal 7-year-old.  I wonder what would happen if someone picked up a Bible and flipped to this page without ever seeing the rest or seeking guidance.

Many parts of scripture say what they mean and mean what they say like, “Don’t commit murder.”  Sounds clear, right?

Other portions need more story to explain. Like one line from a movie, these verses tell part but not all.  The Bible is full of moments where it compares hunger and thirst to our desire for God.  The psalms says,

“As a deer pants for water, my soul longs for you.”

For people who lived predominantly on bread and water, these things defined their ability to live.  Israel’s history shows the need for bread.  For example, when they wandered in the desert, God provided bread from the sky (called manna).

God sustained them in a miraculous way.  Bread had great history for them.  God also provided water from them in outrageously unexplainable ways.

Jesus knew the history and used it to redefine bread.He called himself the Bread of Life.

He also knew the need for sacrifice.  The Israelite experience involved real blood sacrifice.  If we’re honest with ourselves, we do it too. How do you think we get meat?

With our eyes open and our ears ready, we can read the verses below and see more than what is written.  We see a sacrificial love and willingness to give all for those He loved.

   I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’

Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.” John 6:48-56

Can you see how someone might assume cannibalism ?

My choice today:

Devour God’s word and seek guidance  from others who have munched more than me.

Have Bible verses ever thrown you?  Share what you thought and where you read it (if possible).

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3 thoughts on “Where does it mention cannibalism in the Bible?

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