Bible Study Lesson; Matthew
thought about what it means to fast? Many religions
throughout the world practice it.
During the time
of Jesus, fasting was
a common ritual done in order to bring people
closer to God to find His will in their lives.
Many of the religious leaders
abused the procedure and used it to gain
recognition and power. This is where the story
No One Is Looking ..
"Whenever you fast,
do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites
do, for they neglect their appearance so that
they will be noticed by men when they are
Truly I say to you, they
have their reward in full.
But you, when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face so that your
fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your
Father who is in secret; and your Father who
sees what is done in secret will reward you." -
What Jesus Says
What is fasting?
describes the word fast as ..
"1. to abstain
from all food.
2. to eat only
sparingly or of certain kinds of food, esp. as a
religious observance. "
Fasting -- going without food
in order to spend time in prayer -- is noble and
difficult. It gives us time to pray, teaches
self-discipline, reminds us that we can live with a
lot less, and helps us appreciate God's
Jesus was not condemning the
act of fasting, but hypocrisy -- doing things in
order to gain public approval.
Fasting was mandatory for the
Jewish people once a year, on the Day of Atonement
The Pharisees voluntarily
fasted twice a week to impress the people with
their 'holiness.' But, they were not doing it for
the right reasons - only to be seen as religious
These people, Jesus says;
"have received their reward in full." Christ
knew their reasons and taught about it.
Jesus commended acts of
self-sacrifice done quietly and sincerely. He
wanted people to adopt spiritual disciplines for
the right reasons, not from a selfish desire for
Christ says to go about your
normal daily routine when you fast. Don't make a
show of it.
As we have seen through the
few passages of Matthew
Jesus is showing how pride can get in our way of
We met one morning at my
church and discussed what people want most out of
their work (career).
Surveys show that the
majority of workers, when asked, cited recognition
for good service and effort as one of the top wants
from their superiors.
So, in order to please God,
we must sometimes do things that feel "unnatural"
to us like abandoning the need for recognition when
we do something for God.
- Lord, help us to be more
Love in Christ
If you want to find out more
about how to receive the love and life-changing
experience of Jesus Christ, please go
Continue studying with these
other lessons ...
to Deal with Anger
Truth about Love and Hate
Should We Give Back?
The Lord's Prayer
Read Today's Verses
American Standard Bible
King James Version
Verses about how to fast according to Christ
are from New American Standard Bible &
New King James Version - Lessons from
Life Application Study Bible: NIV - Passage
above credited to Lockman