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Author Topic: Parables of Jesus bit by bit  (Read 2583 times)

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Lori Bolinger

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Re: Parables of Jesus bit by bit
« Reply #52 on: June 09, 2021, 09:54:17 am »
Fasting...
Matthew 6:16 ďWhenever you fast, donít be sad-faced like the hypocrites. For they make their faces unattractive[l] so their fasting is obvious to people. I assure you: Theyíve got their reward! 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head, and wash your face, 18 so that you donít show your fasting to people but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.[m]

This teaching seems straight forward, donít fast for the sake of others seeing what you are doing.  A very similar teaching to that of prayer, do so in humility not for show but for the Lord.  The first thing I want to point out here is about anointing the head with oil.  This is like a perfumed custom of the time, kind of like saying today, get up, wash your face, put on deodorant and get dressed.  If we look throughout scripture, fasting is often associated with sackcloth and ashes or even mourning which makes this significant to the teaching.  (Nehemiah 1:4; Nehemiah 9:1; Esther 9:31; Psalms 35:13; Psalms 109:24) Where we may be mourning the sin, repenting in sackcloth and ashes, we are not to make a show of it. 
The fast is for seeking the Lord, turning all the attention to Him. (Jeremiah 36:6; Daniel 9:3; Joel 2:12)  If up to this point you have not been reading the passages that go along with the text, I urge you to do so with this one.  Isaiah 58 is all about fasting, the wrong way and the right way.  Letís start by reviewing verses 3 and 4.  We are told that the people were fasting but complaining because God wasnít doing what they wanted.  Their fasts were about self denial all the while they were doing what they wanted.  In other words, they were denying themselves food but nothing else.  When we crucify self, (Galatians 5:24; Romans 8:13-14) we are to deny ourselves of the sinful desires, the passions of the flesh, we are to crucify the sin nature that we were born with.  The people however were only denying themselves of food and were in fact, doing anything else they wanted to do, including but not limited to oppressing their slaves, with contention and strife in their hearts, and with vicious fighting.  As we move on through the passage we come to verses 6-8 where we are told what fasting should be.  The fasting that God wants from us is about breaking the chains of wickedness, to lighten the yoke that we wear.  (Matthew 11:30; I John 5:3) It is to set the oppressed free, to share your food with the hungry, to clothe those that are naked.  It is about doing Godís business, Loving the least of these.  (Matthew 25:40-45)  So once again, the teaching Jesus is referring to is to serve Him in humility, not for self glory but to the glory of the Living God.
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