Appropriate Fasting

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Two-minute read.

“How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.”

Matthew 9:15

Appropriate fasting.

Jesus, the Bridegroom, celebrates with the disciples, His guests, at the dawning of a new era. In Matthew 9:3, we see the first opposition to Jesus’s healing works. After forgiving a paralytic man, Christ tells him to “Rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” (Matthew 9:6). The religious leaders question Jesus’s actions, calling them blasphemous. Jesus turned the scribes’ world upside down, going against their traditions and introducing a new way of thinking.

“But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” Matthew 9:4-6

Forgiveness marks Jesus’s healing works. Like the paralytic man, He forgives our sins, ushering in a rebirth that offers a new way to live. As Christ gathers His disciples and they begin to follow Him, they discover a different life filled with grace and mercy. The forgiveness we receive from Jesus comes freely, something we can’t earn. However, the Pharisees couldn’t understand this way of thinking because Jewish law required payment for sins, bringing up fasting.

“Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Matthew 9:14

Jesus responds with the metaphor of a wedding, an occasion to celebrate the joining together of man and wife, or in this case, the Savior and His disciples. Fasting and mourning have no place during a time of celebration. Christ proclaims the dawning of the Messianic Age with His announcement. The old law no longer applies because Jesus fulfilled it, living a sinless life, something the religious leaders can’t understand. When Christ dies on the cross, His sacrifice covers our sins. Jesus’s disciples will fast and pray at the appropriate time, but not now.

Hardened hearts, like the Pharisees, can’t understand Jesus’s teachings. Living by the Old Testament law, they worship it instead of the Savior. Legalism discounts grace sets impossible standards for us to meet, and separates people from God. But Christ unites us with the Lord, giving us new life and reason to celebrate. Appropriate fasting and prayer lead to a deeper connection with Jesus, drawing us ever closer to our heavenly Father, not from a desire to fulfill the law but to strengthen our unbreakable connection with the Lord through Jesus.

Journal Questions:

  • How can I apply today’s devotion to my life?
  • When have you questioned Jesus’s teachings?
  • How can fasting and prayer draw you closer to God?


Lord, once again, we thank You for the example Jesus sets for us. Pursuing Him gives us eyes to see and ears to hear His teachings. Soften our hearts, aligning them with Yours as we become more like Christ. Let us honor and serve You well, using fasting and prayer appropriately to draw closer to You. In all things, we glorify You.  IJNIP. Amen

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