March 13, 2011 First Sunday of Lent
A Time of Self Denial
Synopsis: We know that from a medical perspective a time of fasting has a role in determining what is going on in the body. That is why doctors order a time of fasting prior to certain medical tests and procedures. We may not like it, but we do it any way just to find out (hopefully) that everything is fine.
A time of fasting is often prescribed or at least practiced by believers as a preparation for a mission that is to follow. It is often defined as a forty day fast. Moses and Jesus are two fine examples.
So is fasting for a medical test the same as fasting in the Bible? The answer is yes and no. Is fasting required for believers in the contemporary world? Jesus seems to assume that believers of any age will fast. In Matthew 6:16-18 Jesus that there are times when a fast is appropriate. He also points out that there right and wrong reasons to fast as sure as there are right and wrong ways to practice it. Fasting as a part of prayer is a time of self denial. It is usually for a certain period of time for the purpose of getting to know God better. It is for the benefit of a believer’s relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. A time of fasting for believers may be just what their Heavenly Doctor ordered.
Scripture Text (NLT): Matthew 6:16-18; Psalm 35:11-16; Isaiah 58:1-9a,
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:16-18