11 October 2013 |
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE: Luke 5:33-39
New Living Translation (NLT)
*A Discussion about Fasting*
*33 *One day some people said to Jesus, “John the Baptist’s
disciples fast and pray regularly, and so do the disciples of the
Pharisees. Why are your disciples always eating and drinking?”
*34 *Jesus responded, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with
the groom? Of course not. *35 *But someday the groom will be taken
away from them, and then they will fast.”
*36 *Then Jesus gave them this illustration: “No one tears a piece
of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For
then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t
even match the old garment.
*37 *“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine
would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins.
*38 *New wine must be stored in new wineskins. *39 *But no one who
drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just
fine,’ they say.”
Effectively, what the people were asking Jesus is, “why do the
disciples of John the Baptism and the disciples of the Pharisees
always seem so serious about their spiritual lives (as seen in their
fasting) but your disciples just have fun and celebrate”.
Jesus picks up that that’s what they’re actually asking, and
answers to that by using one of the greatest celebrations as an
example – the wedding. His response says to those asking, “now is a
time to celebrate. Yes, there will be a time to fast when I leave, but
for now, we celebrate”.
Is it important that you and I fast? Yes. There are a number of
scriptures that advocate fasting. Fasting is an act of abstaining from
something, most commonly food, so that we can devote the time and
energy devoted to that thing, such as eating, focussing on Jesus.
Sometimes we fast because we are specifically seeking God’s will in
something, and so as we abstain and spend more time with God He
answers us and directs us. Other times we fast because we simply want
to draw closer to Jesus. There is a time for both.
But there is also a time for celebration, and we must always be
careful to not be so committed to the ‘serious’ (may I say, more
somber) parts of being a Christian that we forget that Jesus came to
give us an abundant life! (John 10:10)
A CALL TO ACTION
Why not consider fasting one day over the next few days. It’s up to
you if you would like to fast for a specific reason, to seek God’s
will or favour, or if you would like to fast in order to spend that
time in worship drawing closer to Jesus. Either way, if fasting is not
part of your journey, it is a great time to start.
A PRAYER TO PRAY
Jesus thank you that you are awesome. Thank you that you are the giver
of life and hope and joy. Thank you that I can celebrate who you are
and what you have done in my life. As I commit to fasting in the next
few days, I ask that you would allow me closer into your presence, to
experience the next thing that you have in store for our relationship.
In Jesus name, amen.
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