Thursday 10 March 2022

Bible Book:

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, 'Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?' (v.14)

Matthew 9:14-17 Thursday 10 March 2022

Psalm 97


I am persuaded by writer Richard Rohr’s suggestion that fasting is the most neglected spiritual practice in our world today. People talk about 'giving up' things such as chocolate, which may trivialise the significance of fasting. I also wonder whether the negative term 'give up' is unhelpful and misses the essence of the importance of fasting. Fasting seems to be the one discipline that has been most neglected as a strong tradition in Christianity.

In the text yesterday Jesus was accused of eating in the wrong company (ie with a tax collector), now he and his disciples are being accused of not fasting. The text records that the disciples of John came to Jesus saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they?” (v. 15)

I wonder whether the Pharisees and the disciples of both John and Jesus understood why they were fasting. Perhaps the disciples viewed fasting as simply an ascetic practice that did not matter to anyone but themselves. How did they hear Jesus’ declaration later that those in Jerusalem missed their appointment with God, the day of his visitation? It is intriguing how the disciples and Pharisees miss their appointment when they were fasting in expectation of someone who was coming. Did they not heed the message of their leader John, when he announced that the one they were waiting for had already arrived?

Jesus responds to the concern raised by John's disciples by telling them that it was not appropriate for his own disciples to express a spirit of mourning through a fast, which is encouraging. Jesus reminds the Pharisees that since he was right there with them, his presence was reason to celebrate.


To Ponder:

  • What are the various forms of fasting in our contemporary times?
  • What are some of the common misconceptions about fasting that our society upholds?
  • What are some of the key lessons we can learn from Jesus’ response to the query about fasting?
Previous Page Wednesday 09 March 2022
Next Page Friday 11 March 2022