Mark, is the Creative Arts Pastor at Woodland Church in Brownstown, Michigan. He a talented and creative man with a passion for worship. He is the husband of Kyra, dad to Phillip and Melody. Mark enjoys board games, playing music with Kyra, superhero movies, and walking his dog, Shadow.
“In the New Testament, fasting (Greek nesteia) was a widely practiced discipline, especially among the Pharisees and the disciples of John the Baptist. Jesus began His public ministry with an extended fast of 40 days. When the apostles were criticized by both the Pharisees and the disciples of John the Baptist for not fasting, Jesus defended their actions by implying they would fast later, but not during His ministry among them.” – Elmer Towns, Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough
In Matthew 9:14-15 (NLT), we read, “One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why don’t your disciples fast like we do and the Pharisees do?” Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
This passage anticipates the messianic banquet foretold in Revelation 19:9. What we see here is that it is impossible for wedding guests to be feasting and fasting at the same time because they are with the bridegroom (who is Jesus). Jesus prophesied that His disciples would fast, knowing His betrayal and death were imminent; and we read in scripture that they certainly did.
What does this mean for us? Fasting was often linked with mourning, something appropriate at a funeral, but not at a wedding celebration. And though we can celebrate the resurrection of Jesus because we live in this day and age, we set aside this time of 40 days leading up to Easter as a time to remember the sufferings and sacrifice of Jesus. As we focus upon Him, we too sacrifice something such as a particular food. The idea is that when we are reminded of what we’ve given up, we are immediately reminded of what Christ gave up – His life for us – so that our sins may be forgiven.
There is no coincidence that fasting and focus both begin with the same letter. Fasting helps us focus upon Christ and upon the prayer requests we are believing God to answer for ourselves and for our Woodland Family.