Friday, January 22, 2016
Jesus was criticized often and for many reasons by the religious leaders of His day. They accused Him, among other things, of mingling with sinners, healing on the Sabbath, and finally about His Disciples not fasting. Jesus answered this last charge by saying that the Disciples indeed would fast when He was no longer with them, intimating that, like many other things, there is a time and place for it. Perhaps my theology is out of whack but I doubt we will be doing any fasting once we’re living with Jesus in Heaven.
There are things we can learn about fasting if we take a more careful analysis of Luke 5:33-39. Here are some of them: The Pharisees and scribes thought they were better than Christ’s Disciples because they did not make it a practice to fast twice a week like they did. Jesus told His accusers: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.” (Luke 5:36) Like so many Christians still do today, the Pharisees and scribes wanted to join the “old” with the “new.” Jesus ushered in the age of grace; His people do things today because they want to, not because they have to. Fasting should be like that. Secondly, fasting does not make us better than others and God does not love the “fasters” more than the “non-fasters.” Thirdly, those who fast and criticize others who don’t, apparently have gotten no benefit from their fasting. Fourthly, if you view fasting as mandatory, you’re missing the point completely.
As Christ alluded, there is a time to fast and there is a time to desist. We should do it when we feel led of God to do so, and that includes when we choose to join others who are doing it. If you fasted this week or recently, I pray you receive the full benefit of it. If you have, now its time to break yourfast , even if it won’t be “breakfast.” On the other hand, there are many good places around which serve breakfast all day. And as we hear waiters and waitresses tell us often, “Enjoy!”
Memory verse for the week: (Joel 2:12 KJV) “Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.”