I’ve never really fasted before or understood why people do it but now I do.
They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”
34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”
Before this passage, Jesus had just had a great celebration with Levi, a tax collector. Levi had just left everything behind to follow Jesus and there was great celebration because of it. In this passage Jesus is questioned about his feasting and celebration from the Pharisees. Jesus explains to them that it would be stupid for he and his disciples to fast while the Bridegroom (Jesus) is with them. Why waste a good party? However – there will be a time for fasting to happen when Jesus leaves them. This time is now.
What does this fasting look like exactly? And why do we fast? It has taken me a while to try and understand what Jesus is talking about exactly in this passage. I believe that fasting is not just abstaining from food or drink but rather abstaining from anything in such a way that helps you create a deeper reliance and longing for Jesus. In this way, we can fast from technology, fast from social media, fast from ‘netflixing’ and fast from shopping (these are the ones that pop up in my mind but certainly aren’t the end of the list). Fasting deepens our dependence on Jesus, our yearning for him to return, it fills our waiting and longing for him.
This fasting will not last forever though. We read in Revelation 19 of the great feast that we as the faithful followers of Jesus will take part in – a celebration, for we will be reunited with the bridegroom (Jesus) forever. So today, let us deepen our absolute dependence on Jesus, our risen saviour by ridding ourselves from earthly distractions in the knowledge that a time will come where we will indeed join in the huge celebrations of our great God.
Head: What is fasting and why should you fast?
Heart: What is something in your life that you could ‘fast’ from and use that to grow in your faith of Jesus?
Hands: Fast from your answer to the previous question and get someone to hold you accountable in your fast and may that time be a time of growth in Jesus.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, We need you, every second we need you. Thank you that you hold all things together in your hands, and that you always work for the good of those who love you. Help us in our failings of trusting you to know that you are the only thing we need in life. Help us to order our earthly belongings in a way that puts you first above all things. Lord Jesus, we pray that you would help us keep our eyes fixed on you always. In your mighty name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Mercy Mercy