Audience of One: Week 4
March 14, 2021
Fasting gives us time to pray, teaches self-discipline, reminds us that we can live with a lot less, and helps us appreciate God’s gifts. Jesus was not condemning fasting in these verses, but hypocrisy—fasting in order to gain approval from people. Fasting was mandatory for the Jewish people only once a year, on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:32). The Pharisees voluntarily fasted twice a week to impress the people with their “holiness”. Jesus commended acts of self-sacrifice done quietly and sincerely. He wanted people to serve him for the right reasons, not from a selfish desire for praise.