"And He who believes in Him (Jesus) will by no means be put to shame."
Text: 1 Peter 2:6b
THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE OF FASTING
There is much about the practice of fasting that commends itself. Fasting was observed on various occasions. Five may be highlighted:-
1. The Day of Atonement (10th Day of the 7th Month of the Jewish calendar- Leviticus 16)
2. In times of national calamity (Cf. Joel 1)
3. In commemoration of national disasters (Cf. The fall of Jerusalem etc. Isaiah 58)
4. To seek special grace from the Lord (Daniel fasted to seek a deeper comprehension of the Lord’s Divine future plans for Israel- Daniel 10:2)
5. Planned discipline to especially seek God in preparation for public ministry (Jesus in the wilderness- Matthew 4:1-2)
THE PRACTICE OF FASTING
Two groups of people in particular took to fasting as a personal discipline, in the days of the Lord Jesus.
1. The Pharisees
In fact, some Pharisees practised fasting on a regular basis. They actually forgo normal consumption of food, twice a week (Cf. Luke 18:12).
2. John the forerunner of Jesus and his disciples
Fasting was obviously practised by John. He had also inculcated this spiritual discipline of fasting (Cf. Mark 2:18)
3. Different reasons for fasting
The disciples of John and the Pharisees had their own different reasons to fast. The common denominator was the act of fasting in itself, rather than anything!
THE QUESTION OF FASTING
The disciples of both John and the Pharisees somehow got together. They were an unlikely mix. John the Baptist did not think much about the Pharisees at all. He called them a “brood of vipers” (Cf. Matthew 3:7). Somehow, they got together to make a veiled protest that the disciples of Jesus did not fast at all.
“The disciples of John and the Pharisees were fasting.
Then they came and said to Him,
‘Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast,
but Your disciples do not fast?'”