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Fasting is about nearness. Stop for a minute and consider Jesus’ words in Matthew 9.
Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast” (Matthew 9:15, NLT).
Jesus’ analogy was all about nearness. He referred to Himself as the groom in a wedding party. At the moment Jesus spoke these words, His disciples were experiencing in-person communion with the Son of God, but Jesus knew there was coming a day when that nearness would be interrupted. And that day started the moment Jesus ascended to Heaven after His resurrection and continues right into the present. Though Jesus is present with us through the person of the Holy Spirit, Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We [would] prefer to be absent from the body and at home with the Lord.” In other words, every Christian experiences a kind of homesickness for the Savior.
John Piper writes, “In this age there is an ache and a longing… inside every Christian that Jesus is not here as fully and intimately and as powerfully and as gloriously as we want him to be. And that is why we fast.” When we long to draw closer to God and experience His empowering presence more fully than we are, fasting is the right response.
During these 21 days as we fast and pray, we are acknowledging with our hunger that we want to be closer, and that is a cry that God will honor!
Matthew 9:14-15 ESV
Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.
James 4:8a ESV
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.