Many believers fast during the period of Lent prior to the Easter holiday in a sense of repentance and mourning over the death of Jesus.
But did Jesus require such fasting from believers?
In fact, in the time of Jesus, it was the Pharisees and the disciples of John who were fasting because those people did not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Mark 2 “18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?” 19 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. 21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.””
Fasting belonged to the old covenant.
But Jesus said that believers do not need to fast anymore under the new covenant.
When Jesus came He brought forgiveness to the sinners and He ate and drank with them, rejoicing in His love.
(Luke 5 “29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”)
But the disciples fasted when Jesus died because of their great sadness when they thought that He would never return. Therefore they mourned thinking that their sins were not forgiven.
But praise God that Jesus rose from the dead and now lives in our hearts by faith, so therefore there is no need for the Christian to fast because we are one with Jesus and our sins are forgiven!
1 Corinthians 6 ” 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.”
Fasting began only under the old covenant because the people mourned over their sins under the guilt and condemnation of the law that demanded perfection.
Nehemiah 9 “On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. 2 Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors.”
But when Jesus Christ came, He died for our sins and rose from the dead to make us perfect and sinless by faith.
Hebrews 10 “10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all….14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are made holy.”
There is great joy when a person believes in Jesus to be forgiven all sins!
Luke 15 “10 …there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.””
Heaven is a place of great joy because the blood of Jesus has forgiven us and made us righteous!
Hebrews 12 “22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
Believers are seated in heaven with Jesus and therefore we should be rejoicing in the Lord !
Ephesians 2 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins….4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,”
Philippians 4 “4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
There is feasting because God is our Father thanks to the death and resurrection of Jesus!
Luke 15 “22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.“
Believers rejoice with God, Jesus and the angels because we were dead but now we are born-again (made ALIVE), we are children of God by faith in Jesus, we are forgiven all sins, we are righteous and holy by the blood of Jesus. It is because Jesus removed the law on the cross.
Colossians 2 “13 When you were dead in your sins God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. “
Fasting was only for those under the law. But Jesus took away the law to bring salvation and feasting for all who believe!
For a believer to be fasting is like mixing the old and new covenants, mixing sadness and joy!
Therefore the believer should not be fasting but feasting with the joy of salvation!
Rejoice in the Lord, I say, Rejoice!
The disciples fasted and mourned when Jesus died because they lost hope but rejoiced when He rose from the dead.
John 16:20 “20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy….Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”
Luke 24 “36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”…….. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things…. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.”
Jesus died and rose from the dead, and there is no need to mourn and fast but rejoice that our sins are forgiven!