Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yeshua's Teaching on Fasting

In response to the inquiry by some Pharisees concerning the failure of Yeshua's disciples to fast, Yeshua said: "As long as the bridegroom is among them, the sons of the wedding feast are able not to fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them. In that day they will fast. Mark 2:19-20 Yeshua was teaching that His presence brings joy,i.e. a joyous life. This is a reason Yeshua did not teach His disciples to fast as a religious ritual. There was no need to fast when the presence and joy of Yeshua fills a life. He used a clear picture to teach what His mission was.

What was that mission? Yeshua was inaugurating the Renewed Covenant. It is most regrettable that many older Bibles translate the Greek word diatheke as "testament." It gives a wrong impression that Yeshua has left us something pursuant to a Last Will and Testament. That approach underlies an "easy believe-ism" so popular today in the church. The word should be translated as "covenant." Covenant brings a different message; a message that includes responsibilities on both sides. If we are going to be in the Renewed Covenant, we must adhere to the terms. Those terms are found in the Torah as explained by Yeshua. What Yeshua was doing was like a wedding. He said, "I am launching a new marriage of people to Elohim. I am the Bridegroom (the Son of Elohim Himself) who is to wed people to Elohim, and My chosen disciples are the friends of the Bridegroom. A wedding is a joyful, not a sad occasion that requires fasting. My presence brings joy, not sadness to those who will follow me." Yeshua's presence brings joy and that is not the time to fast.

Don't misread Yeshua's teaching today to exclude the need to fast. He has been taken away in the flesh. Therefore, we are to fast. The Pharisees fasted two days a week. How do we measure up to them? The problem is not that we don't fast enough; the problem is that we rarely think about it until something goes really wrong in our lives and we try to bargain with Elohim. Today, consider fasting as an act of worship. Skip a meal and pray instead.