Sunday School: Fasting
Memory Verse: Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Isaiah 58:6.
Bible Passage: Isaiah 58:1-14
FASTING has been observed since the Old Testament days. For instance, to express deep mourning like the men of Jabesh Gilead – 1 Sam.31:11-13. To avert divine wrath like in the case of David – 2 Sam.12:16-17. It was also a means of expressing penitence and sorrow for sin like the day of Nineveh – Jonah 3:5-7.
What Is Fasting?
Fasting can be described as abstinence from food, drinks and/or other legitimate practices that gives pleasure to the body –Lk.5:33, 1 Cor.7:5. It is a means of humbling one’s soul – Ps.35:13, 69:10. Fasting is also a means of gaining spiritual attention – Jer.14:12, Joel 1:14. It also strengthens the spirit man to fight spiritual battles – Matt.17:21. Fasting, however, will demonstrate itself in a life of practical daily holiness – Isa.58:5-9.
Jesus and Fasting In The New Testament
Like Moses and Elijah, Jesus Christ fasted for forty days and nights – Exo.34:28, 1Kg.19:8, Matt.4:2. He also affirmed that His disciples would fast after his departure – Mk.2:20. Christ instructed that fasting should be done properly in a manner acceptable to God – Matt.6:16-18. He wants believers to know that though fasting is meant to draw us closer to God, it is useless without prayers – Mk.9:29.
There are several records of fasting in the New Testament: Paul – 2 Cor.6:5, the early church – Acts 13:1-3, Cornelius – Acts 10:30, etc.
Fasting is good. It is a spiritual exercise highly recommended with prayers, meditation on the word of God and watchfulness in all things.