Then the disciples of John approached him and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast [much], but your disciples do not fast?” Matthew 9:14 NABRE
Fasting and abstinence from food and drink is a type of prayer, used to point to something more necessary than life, communion with and dependence on God. Fasting behaviors are sometimes commanded, sometimes voluntary and sometimes ritualized. The Hebrew Scriptures portray fasting as a means of repentance and restoration, used to demonstrate sincerity of desire. When God speaks through prophets about fasting He seems to call it into question, asking is it something He desires or is it being done for Him (see Isaiah 58:5, Zechariah 7:5.) John the Baptist’s disciples ask Jesus about fasting. They continue John’s mission after his death. John was a particularly austere follower of God and likely impressed upon his disciples the need to fast and live dependent on God. Some Pharisee’s fast twice a week (see Luke 18:12) but as elitist or special honor. We should realize that fasting is done for ourselves not as something God desires, or demands. But, it can be a useful form of prayer to deepen communion with God. Jesus doesn’t speak against fasting as such, but answers the question saying this isn’t the right moment for His disciples to fast. Several western Christian churches use fasting to help their fellowship deepen their journey during lent. However fasting is our choice, either because we want to be in communion with our church or to deepen communion with God.
If you fast Jesus teaches to do it with joy, not letting others know you are fasting. Always fasting should be prayer, bringing you closer to God. At times I have fasted and it turned me into a grump, this was not doing any good. It is funny the word “fast” is used to slow us down.
Do you fast? Are you able to fast joyfully?If you fast Jesus teaches to do it with joy, not letting others know you are fasting. Always fasting should be prayer, bringing you closer to God. Click To Tweet
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