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Is Fasting a Commandment? (Part 2)

  • Broadcast in Christianity
Daniel Whyte III

Daniel Whyte III


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Our fasting devotional today is part 2 of a new series titled "IS FASTING A COMMANDMENT?" from Richard J. Foster in his book "Celebration of Discipline".

We must realize that the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:16 that says "When you fast..." do not constitute a command. Jesus was giving instruction on the proper exercise of a common practice of his day. He did not speak a word about whether it was a right practice or if it should be continued. So, although Jesus does not say "If you fast," neither does he say "You must fast." His word is, very simply, "When you fast."

The second crucial statement of Jesus about fasting comes in response to a question by the disciples of John the Baptist. Perplexed over the fact that both they and the Pharisees fasted but Jesus' disciples did not, they asked "Why?" Jesus replied in Matthew 9:15, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast." That is perhaps the most important statement in the New Testament on whether or not Christians should fast today.

In the coming of Jesus, a new day had dawned. The kingdom of God had come among them in present power. The Bridegroom was in their midst; it was a time for feasting, not fasting. There would, however, come a time for his disciples to fast although not in the legalism of the old order.