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Fasting: What did Jesus say about Fasting

What did Jesus say about Fasting

Jesus’ teachings on fasting are encapsulated in several Bible verses, illustrating both the purpose and approach to fasting in a Christian’s life. Below are relevant verses and takeaways:

Relevant Bible Verses

  1. Matthew 6:16-18:
  • “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
  1. Matthew 9:14-15:
  • “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.'”
  1. Mark 2:19-20:
  • Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.”

Three Main Takeaways

  1. Fasting is a Matter of the Heart:
  • Jesus emphasizes that fasting should not be performed as an outward show to gain approval from others. Instead, it is a deeply personal act of devotion between the individual and God, meant to be done with sincerity and humility.
  1. Fasting is Tied to the Presence of Jesus:
  • Jesus explains that His presence with His disciples is a reason for celebration, not fasting. However, He acknowledges that there will be a time for fasting when He is no longer physically present with them, indicating that fasting can be a way to draw near to God in times of longing or spiritual seeking.
  1. Fasting is Rewarded by God:
  • In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus assures that fasting, when done in secret and with a pure motive, will be rewarded by God. This highlights the principle that spiritual disciplines, including fasting, are valued and rewarded by God, not for their outward appearance but for the inward transformation they foster.

Fasting, as taught by Jesus, is not about the physical act itself but about the heart’s posture towards God. It’s a spiritual discipline meant to enhance one’s relationship with God, marked by humility, sincerity, and a desire for God’s presence.


  • Greg Gaines

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