The Study of Fasting

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 12/24/2021 8:00am

Friday, December 24, 2021

Kingdom Come

14 A little later, John’s followers approached, asking, “Why is it that we and the Pharisees rigorously discipline body and spirit by fasting, but your followers don’t?”

15 Jesus told them, “When you’re celebrating a wedding, you don’t skimp on the cake and wine. You feast. Later you may need to exercise moderation, but not now. No one throws cold water on a friendly bonfire. This is Kingdom Come!”

16-17 He went on, “No one cuts up a fine silk scarf to patch old work clothes; you want fabrics that match. And you don’t put your wine in cracked bottles.”

-Matthew 8:14-17 The Message

The Question about Fasting

Verse 14: Then the disciples of John *came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?”

Verse 14 study: John’s disciples did go without food. In other words, they fasted. They fasted because it was a sign of mourning for sin. and to prepare for the Messiah’s coming. Now, Jesus’ disciples didn’t fast because they were with the Messiah, and he was with them! But, if you remember, Jesus fasted and is recorded in 4:2. So, he didn’t condemn fasting; he wanted people to know to fast for the right reason.

John’s message was harsh, and it was focused on law. Think about this; when you look at God’s law and compare it to yourself, do you realize how far short you are and need to repent? I admit, I’m always short of the law and need to do some serious repenting. Jesus’ message focused on life, resulting from turning sin and turning to him. Now, John’s disciples had the right start, but they had to take the next step and trust Jesus. Where do you see your focus? On the law or on Christ?

Verse 15: And Jesus said to them, “The attendants of the groom cannot mourn as long as the groom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the groom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

Verse 15 study: With the bridegroom present, it wasn’t suitable to fast for the disciples because the arrival of the kingdom of heaven was like a wedding feast with Jesus as a bridegroom. The disciples were filled with joy, so it didn’t feel suitable to fast.

Verse 16: But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results.

Verse 17: Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wineskins burst and the wine pours out, and the wineskins are ruined, but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Verse 17 study: Wine was not kept in glass bottles. It was held in goatskins sewn around the edges to form watertight bags. New wine did expand, which stretched its wineskin. The stretched skin burst if more wine was poured into it after it aged. Therefore, the new wine was always put into fresh wineskin.

Jesus’ purpose in coming was not to clean up the religious system of Judaism with its rules and traditions. If he did that, it would have damaged it. His purpose is to bring something new, even though it was prophesied for centuries. The new message, the gospel, said that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, came to earth to offer all people forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God. The system they had, the old rigid, legalistic system of religion, did not fit with the gospel. So, it needed a new start. The message will always remain “new’ because it is and must be accepted and applied to every generation. When we follow Christ, we have to be prepared to live in new ways, look at people in new ways, and serve in new ways.

Cross References

9:14

Luke 18:12

There is more to life when you are in our lives. Fasting helps me focus on you and focus on what I shouldn’t be focused on. So, father, I pray today that fasting is part of everyone’s lives. That not only focuses on you but also on the new ways to do things. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Study of Fasting

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 12/5/2021 8:00am

16-18 “When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don’t make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity, but it won’t make you a saint. If you ‘go into training’ inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. God doesn’t require attention-getting devices. He won’t overlook what you are doing; he’ll reward you well.

-Matthew 6:16-18 The Message

Fasting; The True Treasure; Wealth

Verse 16: “Now whenever you fast, do not make a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they distort their faces so that they will be noticed by people when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

Verse 16 study: Fasting is challenging when you are going without food. But you are fasting to spend time in prayer. It gives you time to pray, shows your self-discipline, and it reminds us that we can live off less and appreciate God’s gifts. Jesus condemns hypocrisy when fasting and not fasting itself, like gaining public approval. For the Jews, the Jewish people must fast once a year on the day of atonement (Leviticus 23:22). The Pharisees voluntarily fasted twice a week to impress the people with their “holiness.” Jesus praises those who acted on self-sacrifice done quietly and sincerely. He wanted people to adopt spiritual disciplines for the right reasons, not a selfish desire for praise.

Verse 17: But as for you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,

Verse 18: so that your fasting will not be noticed by people but by your Father who is in secret; your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Verse 17 study: A person would anoint their head with olive oil, using a common cosmetic like a lotion. Jesus said, “Go about your day when you fast. Don’t make a show of it.”

Father, there is a lot of us that may have fasted before. Therefore, your lesson about fasting is head-on. Fasting kept me focused on your word, away from food, and praying more than I have when I am not fasting. Fasting is healthy, and thanks to you for allowing us to experience fasting. I pray for those who haven’t fasted yet to try it. Let this lesson be a start in encouragement. In Jesus’ name. Amen.