Jan 262013
This entry is part 8 of 12 in the series Galilean ministry
  • Matthew 9:14-17
  • Mark 2:18-22
  • Luke 5:33-39

John the Baptist’s disciples and the Pharisees fasted on a regular basis. One day some people came to Jesus and asked Him why His disciples did not fast. His disciples were doing the opposite; they were always eating and drinking.

And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. (Matthew 9:15 ESV)

John the Baptist’s disciples fasted as a sign of mourning sin and preparation of the coming of the Messiah.  Jesus’ disciples did not need to fast because the Messiah was amongst them proclaiming life –the forgiveness of sin and everlasting life.

Jesus compared the coming of the kingdom with a wedding feast. Jesus, the Bridegroom had come. It was time for rejoicing and celebrating, not mourning and fasting.

Fasting is the outward sign of humility and the regret for sin. Fasting is also an inner disciple which clears the mind and keeps the spirit alert. Fasting empties our bodies of food; repentance empties our bodies of sin. The Pharisees fasted twice a week to show how holy they were. Their fasting was not an act of humility.

Fasting has to be done for the right reasons.

Did Jesus fast?

Jesus did not condemn fasting.

Jesus fasted. We read in Mathew 4:12 He fasted for 40 days and 40 nights while He was in the wilderness.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. (Matthew 4:1–2(ESV)



Jesus used the examples of a wineskin and the patching of an old garment to elaborate.

Luke 5:37–39 (ESV) – And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’ ”

Wine was not poured into bottles but into bags made from goatskin. It was sown around the edges which made it watertight. When new wine was poured into a wineskin, the wine fermented and expanded, stretching the wineskin. If new wine was added to aged wine, the fermenting of the new wine would stretch the already stretched bag and the bag would burst. Therefore new wine was poured into a new wineskin.

Religion is rigid like an old wineskin. There is no place to believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus did not come to patch up old religious systems and traditions. Jesus brought new life of forgiveness and reconciliation. The old legalistic system could not contain Jesus.


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Retha is passionate about the Bible, she is the author of The Four Faces, a fantasy novel, a reader, and a blogger. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Hubpages, Pinterest, LinkedIn Other blogs: Discover Bible Treasures and Author blog 

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