Feasting and Fasting

January 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

In Matthew 9:14-17, Jesus wants to make sure John’s disciples don’t fast like the Pharisees and that they understand the proper context of fasting.  Jesus does not reject fasting as such.  In fact, he points to a time in the future (during His crucifixion) when it would be appropriate for His disciples to fast.  However, Jesus as the Bridegroom brings a radical change to the practice of fasting (9:15).  Fasting, with its association with grief and mourning, cannot be the starting point for those who live in the presence of the Bridegroom.  If that was the case, then the presence of the Bridegroom makes no difference to the old practices of the law.  Then it would be like pouring new wine into old wineskins (9:17).  Instead, when we live in the presence of Jesus, the joy of the wedding feast that he has already prepared for us takes precedence over everything else.  Fasting takes place within the context of feasting rather than preparing the feast.  Therefore, we don’t fast as a people who try to accomplish our own righteousness by doing so.  We don’t fast to get to the feast within ourselves, but we rather fast because we are already part of the Bridegroom’s feast.  When we fast, we discipline our bodies for the sake of shifting our focus from the fake feasts of life to the real feast that we have in Jesus.  What do you have to fast from in your life today so that you can experience anew the feast that you have in Jesus?

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