Hm. Jesus fasted when Jesus was present with him(self).
He said to his followers, Matthew 6:16 - Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. Not "Don't fast," but "when ye fast." And the Bridegroom was present with them at that moment!
St. Paul said, 1 Corinthians 9:27 - But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
We don't follow the letter of any law any more (but the law of love), so I don't think we should, or shouldn't, fast. But: why do it? Supposedly to focus the mind on God and keep the body under subjection. If it worked before, surely it can work now. We still have minds that need to focus on God and bodies that shouldn't get in the way. It's a practice, to be used when useful, I'd say.
Anyway, we get to stuff our faces all the time. Can't hurt to take a break from self-gratification now and again.
Oh, no, see; Jesus was living under the OLD law. So He had to fast. It wasn't until he was Crucified and rose again, was He in the age of grace. Being under the New Covenant, you don't need to fast. And shouldn't. Because if you do, then it means you're trying to save yourself through works. Which is why we absolutely must eat at Red Lobster.
Well played, miss.
It's one of the basic tenets of Christianity. I make no such distinction. I was attempting to use sarcasm to point out the ridiculousness of the position. But then Herb stated the same thing, as a serious comment. So, whatever.
Thanks, Will. Just a couple of thoughts: When Jesus spoke about fasting in the Sermon on the Mount we need to keep in mind he was under the Law (the only man who ever kept the Law perfectly) and was speaking to a people who were, at that time, under the Law which, among many other things, required fasting. This is the question then. Under the New Covenant (the Law having been fulfilled and set aside) should fasting be continued? I don't think so. Your point about fasting being a tool to "bring (the body) into subjection is interesting. However, punishing the body with fasting may not be what Paul had in mind. Anyway, thanks again for the input.
He was speaking to people who were under the Law when he defended his disciples for not fasting with his "Bridegroom being present" comment. So if being under the Law invalidated his comment, it wouldn't have applied to his disciples, so he wouldn't have made it, surely.
OTOH, when he spoke to the crowd w/ the Sermon on the Mount, he was ALSO speaking to people under the Law with the Bridegroom present. So it's apparent that having the Bridegroom present doesn't make fasting bad, Law or no.
Burden of proof is on banning fasting. Maybe we could deduce it from some general principle of Christian living, because just taking one verse, applying it broadly, and interpreting contrary verses to be something else, that doesn't wound right.
Yes. If your particular denomination's practices require it.
On the other hand, if one is ostentatiously fasting and abstaining, you've become the Pharisee in that parable about the Pharisee and the Publican in Temple. (Luke 18:9-14)
If you can show me where Jesus or anyone else took fasting out of the Bible, or said it is no longer a valid tool for a Christian, then I'd say: no, fasting doesn't belong in the Age of Grace. But if you can't, then I'd say: yes, it is still a valid tool in the hands of Christians, like prayer or laying on of hands, etc.
How long is the Age of Grace? When does it end? What comes next?
The Apostles did it. Good enough for me. Paul seems to have commanded it.
Acts 13, 14
I Cor. 7, II Cor. 6, 11
Without going further into this, I will simply put forth my own experience about practical fasting. When you fast today, the point doesn't really have to do with whether it is required or not.
Think about a big decision you need to make or have had to make in the past. Many times, at least for me, I need council, I need guidance, one decision may or may not be right. In these times, I need time to focus on Jesus. Fasting may or may not be food. The goal of Fasting is prayer. If that goal is not achieved, then it was pointless. You went hungry. But if you take the time that you normally would eat, watch tv, play video games, go fishing, or whatever, and spend that time praying and listening to the voice of Jesus, then I believe it has much purpose. I find my self much more confident in the decision I am making because I know that it isn't my own answers that I am dependent on.
Yes I believe it is biblical to fast, but the moment that it is obligatory in your mind, I believe it has probably lost its usefulness, because it isn't what you are giving up that is important. Its that you have the time to dedicate to prayer.