Summary: Fasting was a command by God to the Israelites; who needs to fast today?
The Lord Jesus Christ is to be worshiped because He is our Creator and our Only Savior for our sins; so let us listen very carefully to His story and His own words for us this morning. Open your Bibles to the Gospel of Mark Chapter 2…..
We noted from the beginning of Mark 2 the importance of God’s Word, the importance of completely believing and trusting Jesus Christ, and the importance of sharing Jesus Christ. We cannot share what we do not know; so let us diligently learn from Jesus today as we read Mark 2:18-22…..
v18a: Fasting was a common religious practice. Why? If we do a Bible study on fasting, we will note that the Day of Atonement is also the Day of Fasting. Turn with me briefly to God’s command in Leviticus 23:26-32…
Fasting was commanded by God and is like a Sabbath – rest, worship of God, and self-denial (i.e. complete dependence on God both physically and spiritually)!
v18b: Jesus was questioned about not obeying God’s command about fasting. It was a legitimate question because it was God’s command. And so, Jesus gave at least 2 answers:
How does Jesus’ answer in v19 make sense? Remember that Jesus already proclaimed that He is God from earlier texts. And so what Jesus was saying in v19: No need to deny yourself when God Himself is with you!
And in v20: Jesus states that His physical presence with His disciples would end; and so, a person is to fast when God is not present in their lives!
And what was Jesus saying in v21-22? How do we interpret Scriptures? We interpret Scriptures in context! And so, in context what were the 2 major topics in this passage??
Jesus was responding to a question regarding fasting and how He was teaching His disciple.
Jesus was responding about fasting and with His discipling:
And so, Jesus Jesus proclaimed 3 things (related to the questioning of the Old Testament Law and His teachings):
1. There was to be caution when the old ways are related to new ways!
2. Jesus is the new way, the new covenant!
3. Discipling cannot be forced!
And so, what Biblical Principles can we apply to our lives today?
1. Who should fast today and why??
a. Anyone who does not have Christ present in their lives……
b. If it honors God.
Biblical fasting is not for selfish reasons but to focus on being changed for the better for God!
And so, Although not directly commanded for Christians, fasting (denying one’s self of things) is encouraged if done properly to be closer to God. How should we do it? Matthew 6…..
2. Since there is a new covenant; Jesus Christ must be considered in everything, especially with the Old Testament Laws!
3. Discipling (becoming more like Christ) is a slow ongoing process.
Yes there is salvation, a new creation, when one accepts Jesus Christ as their only God and Savior; but, while here on earth, Believers of Christ are to be changing for holiness, being saved, being sanctified through discipleship!
Do we see ourselves becoming more and more like Christ? What must I be doing?