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Home -- Content: Series 7 (Laws) -- Translation: English -- Book: 2 (Gospel) -- Chapter: 15 (Worship 4) -- Text
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The Sharia of Christ in the GOSPEL
F - Commandments of Christ related to our Duties towards God (WORSHIP)

4. FASTING ACCORDING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT


Summary


Matthew 4:1-4 -- 1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." 4 But He answered and said, "It is written, ' Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. ' "
Matthew 6:16-18 -- 16 "Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Matthew 9:14-17 -- 14 Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?" 15 And Jesus said to them, "Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. 17 Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."
Matthew 17:21 -- However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.
Matthew 16:24-25 -- 24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Matthew 19:21-22 -- 21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Matthew 8:19-22 -- 19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go." 20 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." 21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead."
Luke 6:20-23 -- 20 Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
Matthew 20:25-28 -- 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave -- 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Matthew 23:12 -- And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Matthew 26:40-44 -- 40 Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, "What? Could you not watch with Me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." 42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done." 43 And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
John 19:28-29 -- 28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!" 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.

Summary

Muslims fast in Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar, as long as the sun shines. Sometimes they fast in additional different times to make amends for their transgressions of the law. However, at night they have the right to eat, drink, and enjoy themselves.

The orthodox Jews fast twenty-four successive hours on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) as a sign of sorrow for their sins and the sins of their people (this fasting being the only one enjoined by the Torah) wishing for reconciliation with the Lord of the covenant through their sacrifices.

On the other hand, the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic churches in the Middle East fast before Christmas and Easter in certain ways in preparation for these feasts, also to free themselves from the residues of the past year. It appears that fasting, in the Middle East, is an integral part of religion. In some countries, he who eats or drinks in public is confined in prison up to three months. Sometimes he is violently struck by the viewers, even to death.

Jesus did not ordain his disciples to fast, nor did he lay down a certain rule for fasting, but he wanted to avoid the hypocrisy of those who demonstrated their fasting in public. Christians do not fast in order to receive forgiveness of their sins, since the Lamb of God has already forgiven their sins, and all the sins of the world once and forever. If some of the Christians fast voluntarily, this would serve them to support their prayers and show the Lord that their petitions were made earnestly in spirit, soul, and body. It is undoubtedly true that fasting is necessary to support prayers for healing from diseases, and the deliverance from unclean spirits. However, such fasting is not intended to receive forgiveness of sins, for this atonement was effected by Jesus for all upon the cross.

Biblical fasting further aims at our self-denial and abstinence from sin. Pride, excessive sensitivity, stinginess, envy, anxiety, despair, unpreparedness for reconciliation, lying, exaggeration, doubt, unbelief, lust, pretended dignity, hypocrisy, laziness, and negligence: all these things must be overcome in the life of Christ’s followers through Jesus Christ in the forgiveness by his blood and in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Lord does not allow for a lukewarm, or self-pitying Christianity, but he expects us to deny ourselves and take up our cross in self-condemnation and follow him. This spiritual fasting implies a relief for our soul and a sanctification of our whole life by His grace and power. We are all selfish in nature, but the Lord wants to set us free for services of his everlasting love.

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